Palmetto High School Senior Katharine Hsiao is the business manager of the school newspaper, handling money and ordering supplies. She moved into the job this year after two years as design editor.
Although she’s on the business end of the paper now, she still has the opportunity to write for either the print edition or the online paper.
Her true love is design. She won two design awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association that were announced at the beginning of this school year.
“I won a Certificate of Merit for a cultural feature,” she says. “And I won third place in Alternative Story Presentation.”
She started in newspapers when she took journalism her freshman year. That class also taught her how to design.
“We started doing this project where we had to produce the newspaper,” she says. “That’s how I learned to use Illustrator and In Design.”
Hsiao is also on the student council. This is her fourth year as the Class of ’18 treasurer.
“As treasurer you handle money for shirt sales, for homecoming and other events,” she says. “We just finished our Homecoming and Panther Prowl. It’s like a pep rally for the football team. All the clubs and the classes do skits and perform them in the auditorium.”
She says Panther Prowl was even more fun this year than in the past because there seems to be more school spirit. She’s not sure if the school spirit is stronger because the football team is winning, but thinks that might be contributing to the increased spirit.
Hsiao is president of the Biology club. At meetings, they have Power Point presentations on an animal. At the last meeting, they featured the Red Panda.
At the end of the year, they have a meeting where an organization called Possum Posse brings in rescued exotic animals including ferrets, hedgehogs, foxes and armadillos.
The club also tries to go on a field trip at the end of the year. They are considering going to a research facility in South Miami-Dade. A couple of years ago they went to ZooMiami.
Hsiao is also in Interact, a service club sponsored by Rotary.
“Any student who wants to start a community service project, you can bring it to Interact,” she says. “I was the director of foreign affairs last year. This year I’m vice president of membership.”
Interact sponsors a talent show, Panthers Got Talent, that raises money that is donated to charity. Last year the charity was St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
She’s a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society, and the Literary Society.
“We choose a book every month and at the next meeting, we talk about the book,” she says.
Once a month Hsiao goes to the Hillcrest Nursing Home to take part in a show for the elderly residents.
“I sing two songs,” she says. “Some people play the piano and some play the violin.”
The shows are put on through TZU CHI, a non-profit organization that has a Chinese school.
“It’s like a Buddhist charity foundation,” she says. “It’s an international humanitarian organization.”
She attended TC as a student to learn Chinese because her family is originally from Taiwan. She tries to make sure she continues to do events like this without letting homework or the need to complete her college applications get in the way.
So far, Hsiao’s undecided on a college major. She’s considering majoring in something in the STEM field or in business. She hopes to attend a college in the Northeast.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld