Miami Palmetto High School senior Brooke Jackson lost her grandfather to pancreatic cancer in 2016. That prompted her and her sister to reach out to the American Cancer society. They put together a Relay for Life team that her sister ran until she graduated and then Jackson took over.
As team leader, Jackson gathers people for the team and finds sponsorships.
“Every team has their own sponsorship,” she says. “One year we had a jeweler donate jewelry.”
The teams also decide on a theme based on the overall theme chosen for that year.
Last spring’s Relay for Life was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. She’s hoping they will be able to have the event next spring.
Despite the cancellation, her team still raised about $4,000.
“This past year was the most money I raised,” she says.
They work on the event throughout the year, emailing family and friends or hosting a bake sale.
“We sell a lot of different things to raise money,” she says.
Jackson is very involved in school. She’s a member of the student council.
“I’ve been on it since freshman year,” she says.
Freshman and sophomore years, she was the cabinet. Junior year she became recruitment chair, encouraging middle school students to join the Palmetto student body.
“Toward the middle of August, I put together a video for the freshmen, explaining where everything is and what to do if they need anything,” she says. “Answering any questions we had going into freshman year.”
The video replaced Panther for a Day, where the incoming students toured Palmetto and learned about the school.
“This year was the first year doing that kind of video,” she says.
She helped the freshmen get acclimated and feel welcome.
“That’s where the majority of work goes in,” she says. “Throughout the rest of the year we take field trips and go to middle schools. We recruit them to go there for high school.”
They take the field trips around the time students are applying for magnet schools and making decisions as to which high school to attend.
They usually visit all the local K-12 and middle schools, but the main two are Southwood and Palmetto Middle. Last spring, they were able to visit those two schools before the COVID-19 school closures.
She’s a member of the National Honor Society, which she says is dedicated to community service. Jackson is also on the dance team, Variations.
“I’ve been on it since freshman year,” she says. “We do have after school practice twice a week.”
Usually Variations dances at pep rallies and other school events. The dancers participate in a fall and spring show. This year, the Fall Show was cancelled because of COVID restrictions.
Next year, Jackson hopes to head to college to major in film production. She’s applied to the majority of Florida’s state universities, including Florida State, Florida and the University of Central Florida.
“Where ever I go to school, I hope I can do internship,” she says.
Her interest in film production was sparked by watching movies.
“I started appreciating different kinds of film, including Little Women and La La Land,” she says. “I would love being behind the scenes and telling what to do. As a director or maybe as a producer. I’m also a big fan of Sherlock Holmes.”
She can envision favorite book series that she’d love to see as movie series.
“As a child I would read and re-read the Dork Diaries,” she says. “It would be a cool short series.”
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld