Palmetto High School rising senior Melody Rizo has a habit of winning awards. She won an award for Outstanding Leadership as a freshman, the Outstanding Sophomore Social Science Student Award and in April, she won the Wellesley Book Award.
“I personally, would categorize myself as a nerd. I find education to be so important,” she says.
“I recognize the importance of school. I’m building a foundation I need to prosper in college.”
Rizo works hard at her academics and she appreciates the need for everyone to get a good education. She’s donated to many of the collection drives at Palmetto for good causes but this
upcoming school year she hopes to start her own. She plans to collect school supplies to give to underprivileged kids.
“I know we live in a good community. If anybody has extras (pens, pencils) I hope to have my fellow Panthers donate them,” she says. “I wanted to send it to Africa but that got complicated.”
The collection will probably be done through the Spanish National Honor Society. Although she was elected vice president, because of circumstances, she’s likely to become president of the
Rizo will be on the Student Council Senate working on public relations and she’s the incoming secretary of the National Honor Society.
She’s a member of the Health Information Project so after receiving training, she goes into freshman classrooms to teach about health-related topics such as mental health, nutrition,
exercise, and sex education.
“We do PowerPoints, interactive activities or we show videos that are emotional and impactive,” she says.
She’s a member of the service club, Interact. The club does a variety of community service activities and sponsors the school talent show, Panthers Got Talent. The proceeds from the event are donated to charity.
Her role in the show is strictly behind the scenes. She helps keep things moving behind the stage.
“I may not play instruments, but I enjoy listening to them,” she says. “I like to see the hidden talents in my school. The quiet girl who can play an instrument or can sing.”
This summer she’s volunteering at Bet Shira for summer camp working as an aide in the class for two-year olds.
“They are so fun and affectionate,” she says. “It’s so cute when we help them dress them up like princesses and they sit on our laps. It does take patience. If you explain something to them, they’ll get it.”
She’s half Iranian so she volunteers with the Iranian Cultural Society. She’s worked at events such as the New Year’s Eve Gala, which is attended by Iranians from all over South Florida.
“I either hand out tickets or I’m an usher,” she says.
She also goes to the Old Cutler Presbyterian church with SNHS friends to pack food for the homeless.
“The organizers from the church take them downtown and pass them out to homeless residents there,” she says.
As an alumnus of Palmetto Elementary, she goes back to her old school every year to volunteer at the school carnival.
“I loved my elementary school,” she says. “My brother also went there. He just graduated fifth grade.”
When school begins, so does college application season. Rizo’s considering the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Purdue. She expects to go on a college tour this summer to check them out.
She’s interested in business and law.
“My dad has his own business,” she says. “I understand the importance of one day owning my
own business and being my own boss.”
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld