Incoming Palmetto High senior Emily Russell volunteers for the American Cancer Society. It’s important to her because she lost three of her grandparents to cancer.
“I have been volunteering starting my sophomore year,” she says.
She convinced her lacrosse team to become involved and they took at booth at Relay for Life.
“This past March I was a booth captain for Relay for Life,” she says.
For this year’s event, she made beaded bracelets with charms on them to sell at the booth – she paid for all the materials out of her own pocket. The bracelets sold for $5 to $10 and earned $250. The booth raised approximately $800.
Relay for Life always has fun themes. This March, the theme was Battle of the Band and their team was Nirvana.
She won’t be captain here for the next one. Instead, she will choose one or two rising juniors to take over. She will be helping out with fundraising for the American Cancer Society in general.
“It’s a good cause,” she says. “Cancer touches everybody. The American Cancer Society is the biggest fundraiser for cancer. I thought it was a good way to give back to the community.”
At school, Russell is a member of the Science Honor Society.
“This past year I was in four competitions where I submitted artwork, one research paper and filmed a documentary,” she says.
Russell submitted a sketch of a sapodilla plant and a comic strip about deforestation and habitat loss. The research paper was on brown fields that become superfund areas. The documentary was on agriculture development outside of earth.
“The theme this year was sustaining life on Mars or the Moon,” she says. “In order to do that, we have to grow plants on Mars or the Moon.”
The documentary focused on which plants would be the best. She says her research showed those plants are radishes, Bok Choy and Chinese lettuce.
The competition was the Fairchild Challenge, sponsored by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Her submissions all received high scores.
“Basically, if you get a high score from your school, Fairchild gives money to the science department of your school,” she says. “I love science.”
She’s also a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, and Tutoring for Tomorrow. Tutoring for Tomorrow pays students to tutor fellow students, but half of fees given to the program go to the math department. Wirth has been on the varsity lacrosse team since she was a freshman. She believes the 2016-2017 team will be good.
“Hopefully this year we claim districts,” she says. “I love my team.”
She says playing lacrosse not only helps her stay in shape, but her teammates are her best friends. Being on the team helps her be involved in the school. Last season she won the Most Improved Player award.
Her senior year, Russell is not taking things easy. She is scheduled for six Advanced Placement classes. Even with all those tough classes, she plans to continue to be active in the clubs she’s in now. She also hopes to participate in some other science competitions.
Her career may include the fashion industry. She’s worked a couple of Fashion Weeks for a Bali based swimsuit company.
“I’ve always been so into fashion,” she says. “Even when I was younger, my grandma bought me a sewing machine.”
She hasn’t chosen a major yet but she hopes to go to the University of Florida. She’s also planning to apply to Florida State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USC and Penn State.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld