For the past four years, Palmetto High School senior Keaton Zargham has worked with the Patriots Outreach program to collect lightly used sports equipment from classmates. The equipment is sorted, boxed, and then sent to children in impoverished regions of the Dominican Republic.
“We put up boxes at Palmetto and we made announcements and on morning announcements,” he says.
Patriots Outreach includes boys from all over south Miami-Dade.
“We have kids from Gulliver, Palmetto, Westminster,” he says. “We all do that at our schools and then we come together.”
The program accepts all kinds of sports equipment, from cleats to hockey sticks to lacrosse sticks. Baseball equipment is a mainstay. Zargham said they’ve done three collections since he’s been involved.
“We did one during spring, one during fall, and one during summer but in summer it was at Sunniland park,” he says.
Palmetto students have been generous in the collections.
“We’ve collected over a thousand pieces at our school,” he says.
Zargham has also collected at Terra, the environmental high school he attended the first two years of high school. He estimates between the two schools, they’ve collected approximately 10,000 items.
At both schools, Zargham has played baseball. At Terra he also ran varsity cross country. That changed when he switched schools.
“When I went to Palmetto I started getting more serious at baseball,” he says.
By concentrating on baseball, Zargham has opened the possibility of playing baseball in college.
“I’ve been talking to a couple of scouts and been going to showcases and tournaments,” he says.
Occasionally, coaches will go to practices to watch him – he’s a left-handed pitcher, centerfielder and power hitter. When he’s not pitching he’s starting in centerfield. He believes the team could have a good year.
“We’re a little young,” he says. “But we have a lot of potential to do good things.”
When he goes to college, Zargham wants to major in physics.
“Right now, I want to become an engineer – electrical,” he says.
He also wants to study computers, coding computers and creating software. At Palmetto, he participates in science competitions and is a member of the Science Honor Society.
“This is my first year doing it,” he says. “We are building a bridge a truss bridge out of balsa wood. It’s a really lightweight bridge that efficiently holds more than twice its own weight.”
He’s building the bridge with two other students that are in his physics class.
He’s been in the television production club but couldn’t take the class this year because of scheduling issues.
Math is a favorite subject. Last year he devoted one of his class periods to tutoring as a Math Mentor. He was assigned to a teacher and he’d go into the class to answer questions and help students who had been absent catch up with the work.
His volunteer work has included being a baseball camp counselor at the Five Star Baseball Camp for two summers. He found he enjoyed working with the children. He taught fundamentals: how to catch, throw, and hit. They mixed the instructions with drill work and scrimmages.
This past summer, he devoted his time to playing baseball, participating on a travel team and going to a showcase.
“I even went to Ohio to a major tournament,” he says.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld