Alexandra Gugliuzza is the Palmetto High School Silver Knight nominee in the Math category. One of the reasons she was chosen as a Silver Knight candidate is because of her charitable work.
“In 2010, my best friend (Martina Sandoval) and I created a charity called Sanuza,” Gugliuzza says. “We try to raise money for other charity organizations.”
The need for the charity came from experiences both girls had while growing up. Sandoval grew up in Guatemala where she saw first hand how bad life was for the poor.
“When I was 12, I went to China on a family trip and we toured rural parts of the country,” Gugliuzza says. “I remember seeing at every stop lines of (people who were) skeletons wearing rags and shaking their hands begging for money. Since I was so young, I was discouraged that I couldn’t help these people more. I vowed that when I was older, I would do what I could to help those less fortunate.”
To date, her charity has raised about $5,000. Most of the money has been dispersed to organizations here in Miami and in Guatemala City. But recently, she and Sandoval suffered a setback. While preparing for a yard sale, they were robbed of $1,200. Undaunted, the girls plan to continue to raise money despite that setback. They have organized and hosted many fundraisers such as yard sales and bakes sales.
“I ask my friends to donate,” Gugliuzza says.
“We email requests and people come and drop things off. We go to the beach and sell popsicles and water during the summer. We have had four bake sales and we go to the park with baskets of baked goods. During the summer I intern and I donate 50 percent of my paycheck.”
Gugliuzza says their organization hosts a fundraiser twice a month during the school year and every weekend during the summer.
“As soon as we turn 18, we want to
make it an official charity,” she says. “We want to make it grow and become a worldwide influence by lending a helping hand to the homeless and to those in need. We were given an opportunity that they weren’t and we want to give back.”
Gugliuzza also volunteers twice a week at Miami Children’s Hospital. She has worked in the cardiology department, the education department, child care in the Michael Fuchs Center and Bedside Buddies.
At Palmetto, Gugliuzza is a senior and is taking multi-variable calculus because she has already taken most of the high-level math courses offered at the school.
“I love math because it challenges my brain,” she says. “It helps develop you problem- solving skills.”
Gugliuzza is in Mu Alpha Theta and she has participated in most of the math competitions.
“It’s really hard to win them, but I did win fifth place in Algebra II a long time ago,” she says. “I do it for the fun.”
This year, she is serving her second term as president of Amnesty International, an organization that fights for human rights.
“At every meeting there’s a special issue,” she says.
Gugliuzza is also vice president of Key Club, a community service club, and vice president of the Asian Culture Club. She is of Chinese- Italian heritage, so every Saturday she goes to Miami Chinese Language School where she is learning how to read and write Mandarin. She is also on the school dance team.
“We perform traditional Chinese dances and have raised about $1,500 for the school,” she says.
Gugliuzza has been accepted to the University of Central Florida and offered a generous scholarship. However, she is waiting for responses from other schools she has applied to — Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia and the University of Miami — before deciding where she will attend college.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld