Joseph Shomar is a senior at Palmetto High School and is the school’s Silver Knight nominee in Science.
“I’ve always been a man of science,” says Shomar. “Science and math have always been my passion.”
Shomar is a member of the Science National Honor Society and is the representative of the club for the Science Bowl team.
“I tell the Science National Honor Society officers what the team is and who is going to compete,” he says. “For Science Bowl, I am on the first team.”
Shomar also participates in Chemathon, held at Barry University.
“Last year my team placed second overall and first in the lab component,” he says.
In his sophomore year, he placed seventh overall. Chemathon rules allow for students to participate when they take honors chemistry and Advanced Placement Chemistry. Shomar used to compete in the History Bowl, but this year he switched to the Quiz Bowl.
“Basically, it’s a combination of all the subjects — science, math, pop culture, art,” he says.
The team did well. If they had won their last game, they would have qualified for nationals. And considering that this was Palmetto High’s initial foray into the Quiz Bowl without a sponsor, so the team had to work independently and it was a great start.
Although Shomar is immersed in competing in a variety of events for the school, he has also carved out time to start a business called Tutoring for Tomorrow.
“Anyone who needs a tutor gets one,” he says. “We hire student tutors who were originally recommended by their teachers.” If the student can’t afford a tutor, they don’t charge.
If they can afford to pay, they are charged a fee that is used to pay the tutor and money is donated to either Palmetto High or the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation. Through mid- December they had paid out approximately $9,000 to tutors and earned about $7,000 in profits, of which he donated about $4,000. He used about $1,500 to pay for tee shirts for the tutors and students.
He also spent a couple of hundred dollars on advertisements.
“The way we mainly do it, when we hire the tutor, they keep half that we collect and the other half goes to the company,” Shomar says, adding that any tips are kept by the tutor. “I have to record how much they made for tax purposes.”
He started doing the service in his sophomore year and officially incorporated in his junior year. His father helped him incorporate.
Shomar says he started the business after many of his friends asked him for tutoring help during his freshman year. He started tutoring in 10th grade and it got to be too much, so he began referring them to others. There was a referral fee involved and one thing led to another. Things went so well he was advised to start a company.
Now he says he spends three to four hours a week tutoring and 20-30 minutes a day organizing all the tutors. Things got so busy he ended up having to hire three people to take the calls.
He’s organized enough that he says he still has time to do everything he wants to do. That includes being president of the Creative Writing Club and a member of the National Honor Society, the Social Science Honor Society and Amnesty International.
He has applied to MIT, Stanford, Harvard and the University of Miami. H thinks he’s going to end up in medicine, but in college he’s interested in studying pharmaceutical chemistry.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld