With great determination and willpower, Palmetto Senior High School student Grant Albert lost 80 pounds during the summer following his sophomore year. There was no fad diet involved, just healthy lifestyle changes that literally changed his life.
“I’ll never forget those first days of school during my junior year,” Albert said. “Most people didn’t recognize me at all. It was a great feeling.”
To lose weight, Albert cut out soda, chips and other junk food and ate proper portions of healthier foods. He also exercised every day for an hour, focusing on cardiovascular activities such as the elliptical to burn calories. His success inspired friends and a teacher to also adopt healthier lifestyles and lose weight.
Now a senior, Albert still focuses on staying healthy through diet and exercise. He joined the cross-country team this year and plays beach volleyball at Coral Reef Park every weekend with friends. He also enjoys the challenging sport of rock climbing.
“When you do something you like, it doesn’t feel like a workout. You’re just active, and you don’t even realize you’re burning calories,” he said.
Albert has kept busy during his high school career, earning more than 850 community service hours. One of his favorite tasks was working as a summer intern for Organizing for America, a grassroots campaign for President Obama. He says one of the highlights of the summer was getting “up close and personal” with Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama. The internship gave Albert a first-hand look at the political process and helped lay the groundwork for his future career.
Albert plans to study political science and journalism in college. His long-term goal is to work for the United Nations. He has applied to five schools and has received acceptance letters from all of them. It will be tough choosing between his three favorites: Massachusetts, Illinois and Pace University.
“The schools I’m considering are all in the north,” he said. “My brother lives in the northeast. I like it up there and I’m looking forward to living outside of Florida.”
Albert’s other volunteer efforts help to prepare him for the future. He is a writer for Youth Leader Magazine, a dynamic online media network focusing on youth-leadership and positive change initiatives through portraits, articles and tools.
“I research and write articles about the world’s indigenous tribes,” said Albert. “I also serve as a photo editor for an online ecology magazine.”
Albert has received additional accolades for his writing talents. His college application essay entitled “Where’s Waldo, Really?” won an award in the Scholastic Art and Writing Contest. His winning essay is on display at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition.
Albert is a member of Palmetto’s Amnesty Club. He is also an officer in the Ecology Club, serving as a champion for the environment. He and fellow club members volunteer to clean up area beaches. He also helps organize and plant shrubs and trees at Palmetto’s Plant the Pride – the school’s annual beatification event.
“It’s so important to take action to protect and preserve our environment,” Albert said.
— By Nancy Eagleton