Palmetto High senior Charles Noguera is a member of the inaugural Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board. Appointed by Mayor Eugene Flinn, Noguera served as chairman of the board, which has 11 members.
Most board members are high school students, although two or three are still in middle school.
The board’s biggest project thus far is the booth that helps fundraising at the Pinecrest Relay for Life.
“We’re in the midst of organizing a second one,” he says. “We do a youth community booth on behalf of the Village of Palmetto Bay.”
The theme for the last Relay for Life was music.
‘We had a western sort of theme featuring Luke Brian,” Noguera says. “He does a lot of work for brain cancer.”
At the booth, they sold popcorn, ice tea and had games such as ring toss and pin the cowboy hat on the cowboy.
“Our goal was $1,000 because it was our first year,” he says. “We surpassed it by $1,500. We raised about $2,500.”
Now that board members have some experience, they have decided to tackle new types of community based projects.
“We decided, if it’s a cause we can tackle, some of our members can do that,” he says. “One of our members wants a turning lane on 152nd and Old Cutler. A right turn lane.”
At school, Noguera is a senator in the student council and a member of the drama program. He sings as wells as acts.
At this fall’s district competition, his small group musical piece and the large musical piece both received superiors and are eligible to go to the state competition.
He’s also president of Improv, the improvisation group, which is a branch of Thespians.
“We have monthly meetings and we involve members of the club,” he says. “We play games to have the ability to think on the spot and break down the barriers.”
Last February, the Improv Club participated in DramaPalooza by hosting an improv workshop. DramaPalooza was a mini festival held at the Palmetto Bay Library. Palmetto’s Thespian troupe, which had several Critic’s Choice honors, decided to host the festival to make up for the Critic’s Choice ceremony, which was cancelled because bad weather flooded the auditorium at Felix Varlea High School on the second day of the district festival.
“We decided to invite all the winners from around the district,” he says.
Noguera started high school attending the drama program at the New World School of the Arts. He discovered that for him, there was too much dedication to one field at New World and he wanted to broaden his interests. So, he returned to Palmetto in his sophomore year.
Since then, he’s been cast in numerous plays. He was the father in Charley’s Aunt, the lead character in the spring musical Curtains, and the Baron in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
He works with a friend in a performance community service project called Golden Oldies.
“We sing covers for old jazz music,” he says. “We have performed at the Palace in Coral Gables, a retirement home. And we do covers of old classics, of jazz and easy listening music for the residents there and they loved it.”
In college, Noguera wants to major in political science. He’s applied to the University of Florida, FSU, the University of Miami, American University, George Washington University in D.C. and Fordham.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld