Palmetto High School senior Kailey Nunez is the school’s Silver Knight nominee for Art.
Silver Knight nominees are known for their amazing community service projects and Nunez has a terrific one geared for this pandemic era called Together with Distant Hugs.
“What I decided to do during quarantine, because a lot of elders in nursing homes weren’t allowed visitors, or other elders who don’t have families, I decided to help them during this difficult time,” she says. “I created cards where kids in the community could write and draw. So each elder would have something to brighten their day.”
Nunez created each card, keeping the inside blank so the kids would have room to create.
For Thanksgiving, she worked with children at Somerset and Coral Reef Elementary to create cards to be given to the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at the Palace in Coral Gables to distribute.
The plan called for her to create 1,000 cards to be given to seniors for the holiday season and another 1,000 for the new year. Before that, she handmade and gave out more than 750 cards.
“I print each card out and I cut them by hand. It’s really just me,” she says.
She is also paying for the card stock used to make the thousands of cards. She took a seasonal job that helps pay for the card stock.
“I came up with the idea in March,” she says. “In June and July, I reached out to the YMCA and Art Thyme – across from the Falls.”
During the summer months there weren’t a lot of places open for her to take the cards for kids to write and draw messages.
“They let me bring the cards and the kids filled them out,” she says.
She gave that batch to the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at the Palace in Kendall. The 1,000 holiday cards went to East Ridge in Cutler Bay and Laura’s Elderly Home. Children from Pinecrest Elementary and Dr. Henry E. Perrine Academy created the messages.
At Palmetto, she is vice president of the Palmetto Woman’s Union, a member of Psi Alpha Club, a member of the Debate Club and the National Art Honor Society.
Nunez is secretary of the Photography Club. She takes pictures using both digital and film in black and white and in color.
“I’ve done portfolios on nature, and one on COVID-19 and its impact on local businesses,” she says.
She took pictures while she traveled, getting pictures from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
“Each state was dealing with it differently,” she says. “Most of them were closed businesses. Some places if they were open, had huge bottles of hand sanitizer and social distance signs. One of the statues in GA, someone had covered the face with a mask.”
This fall she was working on a portfolio with a nightmare theme and she has done one on New Orleans.
“It’s mostly the architecture there,” she says. “They have a different type of architecture in New Orleans, they have the New Orleans colors which are greens and gold.”
She has earned second place for the 2018 Student Photography contest in Palmetto Bay and she was named the Outstanding Sophomore Art Student and the Outstanding Junior Art Student at Palmetto.
She wants to continue taking photography in college but as a minor. She’s undecided as to her major. Nunez has already been accepted to Loyola and has been asked to apply for their full ride scholarship. She’s also applying to the University of Florida, Florida State and Florida International University.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld