Palmer Trinity junior Leo Rocchiccioli helps younger children succeed in school as a volunteer for Breakthrough Miami.
“I started last year in the first semester of school and I’m doing it again this year,” he says. “I did not teach over the summer. I tutored a couple of times on Wednesdays.”
He teaches the children English and Debate. He has discovered that he enjoys teaching children. “They are wonderful kids,” Rocchiccioli says.
“They are very nice and it’s a fun time in the classroom. They have fun and I have fun teaching them.”
Rocchiccioli has fun even when the kids get a little hyped up after lunch.
“You work with them,” he says. “They are ready and they get you ready if you’re not.”
When he is not volunteering, Rocchiccioli is involved in extracurricular activities at Palmer Trinity.
“I founded the debate club here this year with help from two other students,” he says.
Club members have been participating in school debates on water and water laws in preparation for the Fairchild Tropical Garden Challenge debate on ecological subjects.
Over the summer, Rocchiccioli spent a month at Stanford taking a course on mock trials.
“It was a cool experience and I got to meet new friends,” he says. “We had a mock trial at the Superior Court of San Francisco. I got to meet a real professor and he taught us like it was a real college class.”
Rochiccioli’s goal is to study law and eventually become a lawyer.
“I like law and sometimes I think about politics,” he says. “If I go into politics, I’ll go to Brazil (his home country) and try to help patch things up over there.”
He says Brazil has a growing economy that could grow a lot more, but the country is lacking a good educational system. While he continues at Palmer Trinity, Rocchiccioli is the literary magazine editor in charge of poetry.
“All the work is sent to the teacher and she sends it to me, I send it to two other students and then they send it back to me with a yes or no,” he says. “It’s an area I like to concentrate on.”
He discovered how much he likes poetry only a year ago in his English class. He even began to write his own.
Rocchiccioli also plays on the Palmer Trinity golf team. He is proud of their season, which this year had more wins than losses. And he sings. He is in the choir and plays piano.
“Music is the purest form of expression,” he says.
He is also in the Investment Club, which has $50,000 for the students to invest. Profits from the investments are given to the school.
“We’re doing pretty well,” he says. “I have been involved for five years. We try to play some stocks that are a little safer and some that are a little more volatile.”
The club doesn’t have rigid bylaws about how much they are allowed to spend in a week or a month, but the kids are careful and they tend not to lose.
“In 2008-09 we did well compared to the market,” he says. “A few members do have their own portfolios. They tend to make suggestions as they make their own investments. I think everyone has the sense that this is real money. If we grow it, we have more. If we lose a lot, then this might be the end of the group.”
Now that he is in his junior year, Rochhiccioli is researching colleges that he will apply to next year. He’s considering going north to attend college, possibly in Washington D.C or Philadelphia.
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld