Paulo Parente is the Gulliver Prep nominee for the Silver Knight Award in Science.
“I’ve always taken the hardest science classes,” Parente says. “I take classes about learning about the world rather than literature. I like learning about how the body works and the world functions.”
Parente is working on his goal to become doctor and plans to attend Columbia University where he will study biomed engineering and pre-medicine. He was also accepted by the University of Miami and the University of Florida. He withdrew his applications to Harvard, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins. He says he is excited about going to college in the Big Apple.
“I’ve always been passionate about New York,” he says. “I love the culture with Broadway and all. I’ve always wanted to live in an area that could provide that. I’m Brazilian and I want to go to New York and meet people from everywhere — from Asia, from everywhere in the world.”
Parente moved to the U.S. when he was three years old. He now lives nine months of the year in this country and returns to Brazil for the summer. He did live in Brazil during his seventh grade year when his father, a professor at Florida International University, was on sabbatical. His father previously worked at Rutgers University.
Parente has been deeply involved in extracurricular activities almost from the day of his arrival at Gulliver. He is an officer in Health Interested Students of America (HISA), the club that organizes the blood drives at the school. He was also in Operation Smile, a club that raises money to send doctors to Third World countries to help children with cleft palates. He started a chapter of DECA, a club that trains entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, financing and hospital management.
“I organized a DECA chapter in my old school in New Jersey,” he says. “I thought it would be really good for business. Since they didn’t have it here, I thought it would be good for Gulliver.”
Last summer, Parente interned at the University of Miami and worked at the Howard Hughes Institute with Dr. Alejandro Caicedo.
“They’re trying to cure Type 2 diabetes,” he says. “It was very interesting and I really enjoyed the work. It showed me a new area of medicine, one that I had not explored before. I want to live in a world with healthy people.”
Another of Parente’s passions is tennis. He plays for the Gulliver Prep tennis team and hopes to continue playing in college. He says he has been training hard and plans try out for the Columbia team as a walk-on. He has been playing tennis since he was three years old when his dad gave him his first racket. He has been playing the sport seriously for five years, but suffered a setback when he trained too hard and suffered a stress fracture in his lower spine.
“I was playing close to eight hours a day and it was excessive,” he says. “It was too much for my body to handle.”
Parente had hoped to turn professional and it was difficult hard for him to give up his dream.
“At first it hurt more than I thought,” he says. “But when I started focusing on school, it was more fun. I said, okay, this is something I can pursue. It all turned out for the better.”
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld