Miranda Benjamin, incoming senior at The New World School of the Arts, recently returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica.
Benjamin went with Global Leadership Adventures. She says the program is like a Peace Corps for teenagers, but they promote ocean conservation and helped eliminate ocean contamination.
The teens spent time in San Jose and Uvita attending workshops about preservation and the impact of plastic in the ocean.
“We interacted with the local children and played soccer with them,” Benjamin says. “We painted murals and planted 64 trees along one road.”
They participated in beach clean-ups and removed plastic, water bottles, shoes, and wrappers on the beaches.
She takes part in beach clean-ups in Miami with friends and she went on one clean up with the University of Miami. She is a member of the New World High School Environmental Club.
At New World, she is in the Dance program. She applied after attending Southwood Middle School’s dance program. She loves dancing, particularly contemporary, ballet, and modern dance.
From the time school begins in August, she works on the dances for the Spring Concert.
“The rehearsals are so intense, which is what makes the show so good,” she says. “We start early so we are perfect for spring.”
The Fall Concert will feature pieces from the previous year’s Spring Concert and some college pieces. Seniors take part in the Senior Showcase as well.
At school, Benjamin is in the BeHip Club. Club members go into freshman classrooms to teach the students about health-related issues.
“We teach them about what’s going on with their bodies and drugs and alcohol,” she says.
The juniors and seniors are trained before teaching each module. Benjamin says the younger students welcome the BeHip members because it helps them to hear the perspective of the older students.
She is secretary of the National Honor Society, member of the National Society of High School Scholars, and a member of student government.
“I was class secretary for sophomore and junior year,” she says. “For senior year I’m class treasurer.”
She’s the historian of the math club, Mu Alpha Theta; where she tutors other students, who need math help.
Benjamin is a member of the National English Honor Society. She contributes to an annual book that compiles creative work from students. The honor society sponsors Poetry Slams as well.
For three years Benjamin volunteered at a counselor at the Cub Scout Day Camp for the South Florida Boy Scout Council. She helped organize physical development activities and taught scouting leadership skills.
Outside of school she dances at the Miami Youth Ballet. She has danced in the Nutcracker for the past 11 years, as well as the end of the year recital and the Carnival of the Animals each March.
“I always love doing the Nutcracker,” she says. “That’s probably my favorite.”
While she has been dancing since she was three, Benjamin doesn’t plan on majoring in dance in college.
“I want to major in biology,” she says. “I don’t know what I want to do yet, maybe a scientific researcher, but I know I want to do something in science.”
Last summer she attended the Summer Scholars Program at the University of Miami where she took classes in Marine Biology.
“I would say it was life changing,” she says. “I also stayed in the dorms at UM and it gave me a taste for what college was like.”
Her college list includes UM, the University of Florida, Florida State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld