Palmetto High School senior Adrienne Orriols spends a lot of time on the water. She crews at the Miami Rowing Club on Key Biscayne.
Orriols says she prefers to participate in the races with nine girls, including the coxswain because the races are more competitive and faster.
“I get to feed off their energy; they are fast, so you get to see real speed,” she says. “Most of the time this past year we did row an eight because we had nine capable girls.”
The team travels throughout Florida and as far away as Boston to race. They race on courses in Orlando and Sarasota. She likes the Sarasota course.
“In the past year, the progress that has been made in that area is incredible,” she says. “It’s gone from a man-made lake to an amazing course.”
They also race in Fellsmere, just south of Melbourne.
The Miami Rowing Club team is quite good, but Orriols says there is one crew in Sarasota that is outstanding.
“We’re usually second to them,” she says. “Ninety-nine percent of the time we are in the top three in competition.”
Being a rower is time consuming and requires practice six days a week from four to seven p.m. – with only Sunday off.
Last summer, Orriols volunteered as a coach’s aide to teach children how to row at the club’s summer camp.
“That’s probably the best thing I’ve done,” she says. “It was the most fun and rewarding project that I’ve been a part of.”
At Palmetto, Orriols is a member of the Amnesty Club.
“It’s like a human rights club where we write a lot of letters to people like President Obama,” she says. “I wrote to him about his position to Iraq. He responded to me, assuring me that he’s doing his best.”
Because of her busy rowing schedule, she is not in any other school clubs, but she does volunteer on a regular basis, helping one of the teachers with paperwork. “I help her organize her room and file papers,” she says.
“I help keep things under control. Toward the end of the year, because things get so hectic, it was every day or every other day. Hopefully this year it will be once a week.”
Orriols says a friend of hers had been volunteering with the teacher and asked her to help. After a while, Orriols took over the job and did it alone. She doesn’t mind because the teacher is one of her favorite.
While English is a favorite subject, she also likes environmental science. Orriols has participated in the Fairchild Tropical Garden Challenge twice.
“We put together a video that was based on a garden that we have at school,” she says. “It’s a pineland. It was covering the kind of trees that we have. Why it is environmentally friendly.”
Orriols did half the voice-over narration for the video, which received second place honors in the challenge.
She is hoping to continue to crew when she goes to college. “I’m in contact with a lot of coaches and I’m trying to get my foot in the door,” she says.
“I am applying to a bunch of different level colleges.”
She’s considering a career in medicine so she interned with a neurosurgeon for a week.
“That helped confirm that I would really like to go into the medical field as an adult,” she says. “Before I go off to college, I’d like to do it again. Who knows, maybe I’ll be one of his residents.”
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld