Gulliver Prep senior Julio Baigorri is the Prep’s Silver Knight nominee in the area of science. Silver Knight nominee make community service a priority and Baigorri is no different.
“Every Saturday I go to Shake-A-Leg. I go help mentor kids with disabilities,” he says.
Children at Shake-A-Leg participate in activities, such as boating, kayaking, arts and craft. But, Baigorri and his friends thought a sport that was lacking.
“A group of rowers and I thought it might be a good idea to incorporate an activity to Shake-A-Leg and we thought rowing would be a good experience for the kids,” he says.
Baigorri rows for the Miami Rowing Club. Since his sophomore year, after rowing practice, he and his friends have gone to Shake-A-Leg and row with the special needs kids.
“We have four rowers and four special needs kids,” he says. “Sometimes it’s a two-person boat so it’ll be me and a special needs kid behind me. Sometimes they get to row and sometimes there are there for the ride.”
Baigorri enjoys working with the children and he says the children enjoy rowing as well. Some days, he goes boating or kayaking instead of rowing, depending on how many children want to go out and how many rowers are there that day.
“It’s a great experience going on the water with the kids,” he says. “Giving them a new experience like I experience every day. It’s good.”
He started volunteering at Shake-A-Leg on the advice of one of his teammates.
“I went one day and then kept on going because I loved it,” he says.
He goes on Saturdays during the school year and plans to continue through the end of the school year.
This past summer, Baigorri participated in breast cancer research at the University of Miami through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute program.
“I did research in cell biology,” he says. “I in the lab doing the research, performing experiments and working with the cell cultures.”
The internship called for him to be there Monday through Friday for seven weeks. The experience made him realize research is something he wants to do in college.
At the end of the program, he wrote up a research paper and presented it at a symposium.
Baigorri hasn’t made a final decision on where he’ll attend college. He’s waiting to hear from several colleges. His list included the University of Florida, Washington University, Wake Forest, Boston College, Emory, Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Tufts. His goal is to become a doctor so he’s likely to take biochemistry as a major.
At Gulliver, Baigorri is a member of the biomedical science club, Heal.
“We do all sorts of things in relation to biomedical science,” he says.
They also compete in HOSA competitions.
“I competed for two years in the health education category,” he says. “One year I got first place in districts and one year I got second place.”
He’s also a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society.
He rows six days a week with the Miami Rowing Club. He participates in approximately seven competitions each year. Those competitions take place toward the end of the school year. This past summer he didn’t compete because of his internship.
Whether he rows in college, depends on which college he attends. He’s not trying to be recruited but he might try out as a walk on.
Some Saturdays, Baigorri works with the Stem Outreach Club to develop science related curriculum to be taught to kids who attend Breakthrough Miami at Gulliver.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld