Palmetto High School senior Sajni Persad has accumulated more than 500 hours of community service. Many of those hours were earned when she volunteered for eight weeks last summer at the Palmetto Bay Summer Camp as an assistant to the art teacher.
“Every week we had a different theme,” she says. “For one week it was based off a mad scientist. The last week, we ended up showing the kids how a volcano worked and we erupted it.”
Persad says she has always loved working with children. In fact, she hopes to eventually work with children who have been in abusive homes or unsafe environments.
“I just want to help them,” she says. As an attorney.”
Persad is a member of the Pinecrest Police Explorers program. The explorers volunteer at a variety of events, including the Pinecrest Arts Festival and those sponsored by MADD.
“We engage with the community,” she says.
“We direct traffic and help the police officers.
We show our presence in the community and if anyone needs help, we help them.”
Persad has long been interested in careers connected to the legal profession.
“I just wanted to be able to learn about what police officers do on a regular basis and see what they contribute to the community and how they keep the community safe,” she says.
At Palmetto High, Persad has been an officer in the English Honor Society. Last year she was vice president.
“With English, it’s mostly a passion. When I was younger, I always liked to read. From the eighth grade on, we analyzed books that we read. Books are more than what appears on the surface.”
Persad says she has been lucky throughout her education to have excellent English teachers who continue her passion for the English language.
Persad says she wanted to be an officer in the English club so she could organize a book drive.
“I wanted to donate the books to a children’s center or foster center,” she says.
Persad has been on the student council and was a co-chair of the Teacher and Staff Appreciation committee.
“For Christmas I wrapped about 200 small candies and we made them into snowmen,” she says. “We pasted them onto cards and gave them to teachers and staff to tell them how much they have done for us.”
They also gave the teachers and staff chocolates.
“I wrapped the candy boxes with white paper and one of the other members drew snowmen on the boxes,” she says. “We pasted them on a small postcard.”
The postcards told the teachers to have a happy holidays and how much the students appreciated all they had done.
“Throughout the year we have been making small crafts for them to show them how much we appreciate them,” she says.
As a senior, Persad soon will start applying to colleges for admission. She says she will keep her options open because she is still unsure about where she wants to go.
“My sister goes to the University of Miami and I want to stay close to home,” she says.
“I’m not one of those kids that wants to get away from their parents. The fact that my sister had the opportunity to go to UM makes me think that I can too.”
She is also considering the University of Florida.
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld