Being class president has helped Palmetto High School senior Daniel Castan to earn more than 500 hours in community service.
“I was the class president in my junior and senior years,” Castan said. “I also helped with homecoming preparation.”
In his junior year, Castan organized the magazine drive, which helped fund grad night and the money needed for the deposit for the prom.
“We had an ice cream party for people who sold a certain number of magazines,” Castan says.
As senior class president, Castan wants to add some new activities to the mix. Last year, he worked to form a Habitat for Humanity charter for Palmetto. He wasn’t successful at that time, but that project is one of his top goals for the 2010-11 school year, aside from homecoming and prom and all the senior activities. He says Habitat for Humanity is an organization that he wants the school to become more involved in.
“I’ve only done it once because you have to be a certain age, but I think it’s a great way to get kids involved in the community,” he says. “It’s a really good organization and they have it all over the U.S.”
Castan also wants to organize a campaign to stop teens from texting while driving.
“The no-phone zone,” he says.
Last year, they did it on the day set aside to remember people who died while texting and driving.
“We did a banner and a video,” he says. “This year we’re planning on having presentations in the auditorium to get the majority of the school to sign the contracts. Testing while driving raises your risk of a crash by about 23 times.”
Another school-related program Castan is involved with is the Health Information project, where upperclassmen are trained to talk to freshmen about sex education, mental health and nutrition. It was a pilot program last year and he plans to continue with it.
“It’s one of my favorite organizations,” he says.
He’s also the sectary of the English Honor Society and a member of the National Honor Society, the Italian Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, the Social Science Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. He’s involved in Interact and the Invisible Children club.
Outside of school, Castan earned community service hours by volunteering at Miami’s major tennis tournament.
“I worked as a ball person at the Sony Erickson,” he says. “I did center court my first year.”
Castan has volunteered at the Erickson for four years. He also volunteered at Palmetto High School in the front office.
“I worked because they were short on employees because of budget cuts,” he says.
He answered the phone, filed papers and worked on the front desk.
“One summer I worked 80 hours and another summer I did 50 hours,” he said.
During the school year, Castan plays tennis and badminton on the school teams. This year, he is captain of the badminton team.
He’s been on the tennis team since sophomore year, playing both singles and doubles. He says he’s not a star player, but he’s solid.
“I’ve been playing tennis since I was about nine,” he says.
Castan has been playing badminton for less than three years. He plays mixed doubles.
“I heard about the team from a couple of friends and got involved,” he says. “I was pretty decent in a few months.”
Castan says last season the team did well because the coaching was top notch. In fact, he ended up an All-Dade Honorable mention for badminton in his junior year.