Palmetto High School junior Livia Hochman was presented with the Mt. Holyoke Book Award at the recent Palmetto Award ceremony.
This is not the first time Hochman has won an award at school – she was the Most Outstanding Freshman two years ago and the Most Outstanding Sophomore last year.
Hochman is an outstanding student and an outstanding member of the community. She has more than a thousand community service hours – she’s not sure how many because the system only counts up to 999.
Her big project is Jeans for Teens. It was her Girl Scout Silver Award project, which she began in seventh grade. She collected more than 1,000 jeans and received more than $500 in donations to buy more jeans.
“I made a jeans boutique at the foster home, color coded the sizes and put them in matching cubbies,” she says. “I created a fitting room.
It was a true shopping experience.”
For her Gold Award, she took the project to the next level.
“I paired five Key Clubs with five different foster homes,” she says. “I taught each Key Club how to collect jeans for the foster home. I supplied them with the information, address, contact information and drop off areas.”
The Key Clubs are from Coral Reef High School, Riviera, Gulliver Prep, Lourdes, and Palmetto.
She chose Key Clubs because she’s treasurer of the Palmetto Key Club this year and the incoming president.
The Gold Project was such a success that it was featured on a local new station. Hochman says they collected approximately 3,000 jeans.
“The teens, they come in if they are ever in need of new apparel, or it’s the start of school,” she says. “They can go to the jean boutique.”
The program will live on even after she goes to college. The Key Clubs signed a contract that they will continue to collect jeans for the program.
At school, Hochman will also be president of the Spanish Honor Society next year and a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the English Honor Society and the Jewish Student Union.
She’s also the student council treasurer. She’s been the freshman class treasurer, the sophomore class treasurer and then switched to student council treasurer which is a position she will also have next year.
Outside of the school, she’s a member of BBYO and she works at Bet Shira every Wednesday helping at the pre-school.
She and her sister are known at Bet Shira as the Sitter Sisters, owners of a babysitting service.
“It all started when I wanted to babysit,” she says. “I asked around the neighborhood.”
She developed a clientele and then New Year’s Eve when she was asked by 10 families if she would babysit she decided it was more than one person could do. So now she finds sitters for families at Bet Shira.
“They give me $5 and that goes to my community services project,” she says. “I always make sure it’s okay with the parents. I babysat for all the families that I bring the sitters to. I ask if one of my close friends can do it. Usually the families agree to that.”
She’s starting to scout colleges. She has some in mind, including the University of Florida, Emory, Vanderbilt, the University of Miami, Tulane, Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins.
“I’m very interested in medicine,” she says. “I want to go into pre-med.”
Last summer she volunteered at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. This summer she’s volunteering at the Sylvester Cancer Research Center doing research and shadowing a doctor.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld