Palmetto High School senior Kayla Buttafuoco earned her Girl Scout Gold Award this year. “I created a project called Laptops for Learning,” Buttafuoco says.
“I contacted different businesses that had laptops laying around. Then I contacted the IT person that His House uses and he refurbished them.”
After collecting the laptops and having them refurbished, she donated nine computers to the International School at His House. “His House is an organization that takes in kids that are abused, neglected or drug exposed,” Buttafuoco says. “It also takes in students from Central America.”
Although she has donated nine laptops, she says she plans to continue the project.
“I hope to collect more laptops and donate them before the summer is over,” she says.
Buttafuoco decided to work on the project because she has a passion for kids and education. She recognizes that technology is critical for the upcoming generation. Her membership in Key Club is one of the reasons she chose His House for her project. She is familiar with His House because Key Club has ongoing community service projects with the foster home.
The Girl Scout Gold Award project took about a year to complete.
“It took a while to get the laptops,” Buttafuoco says. “It took a while to find the contacts.”
She says it was frustrating that she had to discard many of the donated laptops because they could not be refurbished.
As a junior, Buttafuoco was the class director of Key Club. She was also treasurer of the Social Science Honor Society and community outreach chair for student council. In that role she raised money for United Way. The good news is that Palmetto High School met their fundraising goal. One of the best fundraising events was the Pie-in-the-Face contest.
“Whoever gets the money donated to them, they get a pie in the face,” Buttafuoco says. Students donated in the name of a teacher that they wanted to throw a pie at. Mr. Hunter won both years.”
Buttafuoco plays varsity volleyball for Palmetto. She says the team did well last year, but lost to Coral Reef in the first round of district playoffs. The coming year is expected to be challenging because several seniors graduated and will be replaced by girls moving up from the JV team. But the biggest challenge is a change in coaches.
Buttafuoco’s interests extend to musical theater. She is in the drama club, but she is not enrolled in a drama class because she doesn’t have room in her academic schedule. Outside of school, she volunteers once a week to work at the Carrie Brazer Center for Autism.
“My friend volunteers there; I have family with autism,” she says. “I wanted a way to get away from everything, just play with the kids and take care of them. Sometimes we’ll go on the playground or sometimes we will be in the classroom and watch a movie.” Last summer, Buttafuoco volunteered to work at the VA hospital. In her freshman year, she volunteered at Baptist Hospital. She volunteered at the hospital because of her interest in becoming a doctor. She has also taken part in the National Student Leadership Conference at Northwestern University. There a heart surgeon talked to the students and they were able to go to a hospital where they showed them how ultrasound works. This summer she hopes to volunteer in a lab.
“I want more research opportunities,” she says.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld