Palmetto High School senior Elizabeth Castano is a dancer. She is a member of the Variations dance team at school and she also dances at the Artistic Soul dance studio. Dance inspired her community service project.
“Since my sophomore year I’ve collected new and used dance items,” Castano says. “Through my church I’ve donated them to the Agape Women’s Center and they’ve gone to kids. It’s a good opportunity to give back.”
Castano set up collection boxes and talked to people about the project to collect the new or used dance clothes. She decided to collect the dance clothes because she wanted to work on an original dance-related community service project. She has already collect 100-150 items.
Castano says the folks at Agape were happy to receive the good because they don’t usually receive donated dance clothes.
At school, Castano is a senior officer of the Variations dance team. She hopes to incorporate the dance team into her project by teaching a couple of classes at the center.
“The senior officers lead the team,” she says. “The junior team organizes. I would plan all the community service for the team. I organize all the costumes, make all the schedules and lead the classes. We’re doing it for both (junior and senior). I helped with it last year, but this year I’m in charge of it.”
The dance team participates in pep rallies and they stage a fall and spring show. They also attend a couple of showcases.
Along with being a dancer, Castano is also an athlete.
She is on the track team and runs the shorter distance races such as the 200 and 400. She has been a staff writer on the Panther, the school newspaper.
“It was fun. I enjoyed it a lot, but being a staff writer it is so much work,” she says.
This summer, Castano went to Peru on a mission trip with the Old Cutler Presbyterian Church. The group went to Arequipa, Peru to help finish building a church and teach vacation bible school. “It was such a humbling experience. It made me realize how fortunate we are to have the privileges that we live with each day and take for granted,” she says.
“This trip opened my eyes to what is truly important and how we each have the responsibility to give back to those less prosperous.”
Previously, Castano has participated in small mission trips around Miami and taught vacation bible school in Texas, but she says those missions were nothing like the trip to Peru.
Now that she’s a senior, Castano is looking at potential colleges. Being originally from Texas, her top choice is the University of Texas, but she is also considering the University of Florida, Florida State or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She wants to major in political science with the goal of becoming an attorney and maybe going into politics. However, at UT she may go for a business degree.
She feels she is prepared for the rigors of college because she has gone through the Capstone program, which required a lot of research and analyzing. She is considering a career in politics and becoming an attorney.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld