Helping children in need is important to Palmer Trinity senior Victoria Friedlander. She is the co-founder of the club Blessings in a Backpack, which started last school year.
“It is a national organization that we brought to Palmer,” Friedlander says.
Every other week club members pack bags full of food that can be easily opened and cooked for children. The kids who receive the bags are children who are on free or reduced lunch for kids at a local elementary school.
“So when they go home on the weekends they still have food to eat,” she says. “They get the food at school, but when they go home on the weekend, we don’t know if they have the means to get any.”
The national organization gives the local groups lists of acceptable foods to pack in the bags. Friedlander started the club with Samantha Waldman.
“I think her mom had heard about it because Ransom does it,” she says. “She brought the idea to both of us and we developed it from there.”
Friedlander’s involvement in extracurricular activities includes being secretary of the International Thespian Society.
“We have our own ongoing community service project — helping Broadway Cares Equity Fight Aids,” she says. “At the international festival,
we have a booth for raising money. I help with the publicity and posters, as well as sitting at the booth.”
As a member of drama, she says she mostly helps out with the technical production of the shows.
“I came to the school in ninth grade and everyone was already friends and drama was a way to find a niche,” she says. “I didn’t get into the behind-the-scenes stuff until the 10th grade. It’s something that I tried and found I really enjoyed. It’s become a great part of my high school life.”
Her high school life includes cheerleading. This is Friedlander’s second year as captain of the cheerleading team.
“Since I came in the ninth grade, the program has really evolved,” she says. “In ninth grade, we had nine people and this year we have 27. We had to make cuts for the first time.”
She says the squad has gone through a series of coaches, but the team has progressively gotten better.
“More kids are attracted to it as it has improved,” she says. “My freshman year it was looked down upon to be a cheerleader. Now it’s way more impressive.”
She says cheerleading has been one of the biggest influences in her life.
“It’s helped me be a leader. It’s helped me appreciate everyone on the team and the school even more,” she says. “It’s helped me learn how to communicate; it’s helped me meet girls and be friends with girls who are in different grades, and build bonds with girls who are freshman and sophomores.” While she does love cheerleading, she has had her share of injuries from the sport.
“I’ve had a concussion every year that I’ve done it,” she says.
She plans on cheering in college. Friedlander has been accepted into her top choice of schools, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
“I’ve always been interested in studying abroad,” she says. “I took a course there this summer for a month. I fell completely in love with the way of life, the atmosphere, the landscape.”
Although she took courses in Scottish literature and Scottish history, she plans to be a double major in philosophy and psychology. Her hope is to get a PhD and ultimately be a professor.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld