In April Palmetto High School junior Drew Latta was named the Outstanding Junior Capstone Student at Palmetto. He received the award at the Junior Class Awards ceremony.
Latta is an outstanding student and an athlete. He’s a surfer, certified freediver and member of Palmetto’s swim team. He’s also on the badminton team playing boys singles. Last year he also played mixed doubles.
He competes at Model United Nations conferences. Next year, he’ll be vice president of Model UN. This year he’s head of Students Working Against Tobacco, which is a sub-committee of Model UN.
Last year he chaired the Model UN event for middle school students at Palmetto. Another event is planned before the end of the year. They brought 70-80 middle schoolers to Palmetto so they could learn about Model UN and participate in a conference.
Latta is a member of the Palmetto Debate team.
“We do public forum, British Parliamentary, and Lincoln Douglas debates,” he says. “I do all of them but I prefer British Parliamentary.”
Latta enjoys debate. He says it’s challenging and fun.
“Different conferences have different topics,” he says. “For the Fairchild Challenge, we went over a lot of environmental things.”
He’s worked on topics such as “should the federal government immediately ban fracking?” and “should the embargo on Cuba be lifted?”
“This year we only did about three debates,” he says. “Next year I’m running for president. I’m going to try to increase the number of debates.”
Latta is not only involved in school, he’s also involved in the community. He’s been a three year volunteer at Baptist Hospital. He’s worked in the cardiac/vascular unit, Errand Services and the Pathology Lab.
“I did it over the summers,” he says. “I’d usually go on weekdays over the summer. Usually for the mornings. Sometimes throughout the day.”
Last summer, he went four days a week.
“I like to help people,” he says. “I wanted to make a difference.”
His jobs included running errands for doctors, taking things to the lab and filing specimen slides. Although filing can be tedious, he says he enjoyed the work.
“Occasionally, afterward I would talk to talk to the pathologists,” he says.
He volunteered at Baptist because medicine interests him.
“I’m unsure between medicine and engineering, but I like the sciences,” he says.
Potential careers might be pathologist or biomedical engineer. He’s also interested in neurological and cardiovascular health as well as molecular biology.
Latta also volunteered last summer at Shake-A-Leg as a mentor.
“I participated in a program that was addressed to special needs children,” he says. “I was taught water safety and CPR.”
His job was to get the special needs children into the water and get them exposed to maritime activities. That included paddle boarding and kayaking.
“There were three different camps, he says. “I was in academy.”
The volunteers in the academy work with the youngest group of children. He says 70 percent of them had disabilities.
“We generally stayed on land,” Latta says. “We occasionally did paddle boarding or kayaking.”
He liked working with the kids.
“It was nice getting to know the kids and spending time with them,” he says. “I enjoyed being out on the water.”
Latta says while a lot of the children had been to the Shake-A-Leg camp before, some were new. The volunteers worked with those children to make them comfortable with the water.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld