Senior Kayla Dumas is Westminster Christian School’s Silver Knight nominee in the area of General Scholarship. She’s attended Westminster since Pre-K 3.
“I wanted to revive the Hispanic culture in our high school campus. Throughout the summer going into my freshmen year, I began brainstorming how I could achieve this,” she says.
She created the student led organization, Cafecito, as a way for second and third generation Hispanic students to embrace their culture. She noticed that students struggled with Spanish and didn’t know as much about the culture and she wanted them to embrace it.
One of Cafecito’s main projects is a mission trip to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic that helps improve the lives of children.
“We collect donations to help enhance the lives of the children,” she says. “I’m grateful to my peers because they provide all of the donations we take to the orphanage.”
While there, they establish relationships with the children, doing arts and crafts with them and even painting murals.
They went for the first time when she was in ninth grade and went back again the next year, surprising the children who told her that they were the first group to keep their promise to come back.
They took snacks for the children, as well as socks and underwear needed by the orphanage. Last year they asked for bibs, pacifiers and diapers to be donated. The orphanage is home to children from preemies to 18-year-olds.
“Sophomore year we brought hundreds of packages of toothpaste and toothbrushes,” she says.
“It is hard to take clothes to donate due to shipping costs, but the Cafecito missionaries take what we can in our own luggage,” she says. “Some of the students have donated their shoes so that the kids can keep them.”
The advent of COVID-19 across the world changed how Cafecito helped the orphans. It kept the Cafecito members from going to the Dominican Republic this past year, even after Westminster students had donated more than 400 bags of snacks that were supposed to go to the kids. But she came up with a Plan B.
“I was able to distribute all the snacks we collected, and instead of letting them going to waste, I took them to different Covid-19 testing sites as snacks,” she says. “It was an honor to be able to give back to our frontline workers as a symbol of gratitude.”
Cafecito members hope to go to the Dominican Republic this year.
One of the things she does through Cafecito is send out the Spanish phrase of the month, including the pronunciation.
At Westminster, she’s president of the Science National Honor Society, which implemented a sustainability recycling project for the school. There are now recycle bins in the cafeteria for water bottles and other small plastic containers.
She’s a peer counselor so she’s available to meet with anyone in the high school who needs another teen to talk to about issues going on in their lives.
“It’s very rewarding when you get to help students in your high school with things going on in their lives,” she says.
She is on the Warrior Week Committee and Community Service Committee of the Leadership Council.
Dumas volunteers at her church, teaching Sunday school to children ages 3-12 and she also volunteers to help in youth group activities and projects. She volunteers and teaches Vacation Bible School to children during the summer.
Dumas has been accepted and offered scholarships to the University of Miami, Wheaton College, Florida International University Honors Program, Hofstra University and Loyola Chicago.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld