Incoming Palmetto High School senior Mitchell Hyder will be spending part of his summer in Hungary playing water polo for the U.S.A. team in the International Maccabi Games.
Hyder plays water polo and swims for Palmetto.
“I was the captain of the water polo team as a junior,” he says. “There, I would help plan practices, run drills in practice, come up with plays for the games.”
The water polo team took second place at districts. Hyder says the team lost a couple of good players to graduation but he’s hopeful for a strong senior season because two members of his club team, the Riptides, will be joining the Palmetto team next year. Hyder hopes to play club water polo in college.
This past year, Hyder was the developmental captain for the Palmetto swim team.
“I would help the junior varsity team with their techniques,” he says.
He swims the sprint events such as the 50 (freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke) and 100 freestyle.
Outside of school, Hyder is involved in a number of community organizations.
He’s a member of the Temple Beth Am Social Justice Teen Fellowship. The teens meet monthly to talk about current events.
“One meeting we were talking about human trafficking and went to Central Florida and visited this town, Immokalee,” he says.
They spoke with the Coalition of Immokalee workers, an organization that helps fight for fair labor.
“We learned workers on the tomato field get paid 50 cents for a 32-pound bucket of tomatoes,” he says. “That’s less than $5 an hour.”
Each year the Social Justice teens go on a trip to help people in need. The next trip will be to Peru. Last year, they went to Guatemala where they built a building at a school. They used trash found in the area to construct the building.
“There were tons of water bottles and we used that as structural support,” he says. “We filled it with other papers and plastics that were lying around.”
Then they would use a mix of mud and manure to hold the bottles in place.
“We would make a layer of that, lay the bottles and then lay another layer,” he says.
He’s also the president of the South Miami region of J Serve, sponsored by the Great Miami Jewish Federation.
“We get together and plan a big community service project,” he says. “Last year we went to Overtown and we made sandwiches for the homeless and we learned a lot about the history of the area.”
Learning about the history gave the participants context to why they were making sandwiches.
“We went to a church Martin Luther King spoke at,” he says. “A pastor came and spoke about that and racism throughout the history of the area.”
At Palmetto, Hyder is a member of the Health Information Project.
“We go in front of freshman class and talk about mental and physical safety,” he says. “Speaking to the kids was a cool experience.”
His college list includes Elon in North Carolina, Ithaca in New York, and Brandeis.
“I want to study writing for television. I have plans to create my own TV show,” he says.
Elon has creative writing courses or TV production. While others have classes that he believes would help him reach his goal.
He became interested in writing for television in middle school when a friend asked him if he wanted to co-write a screenplay for the district screenplay competition.
“Last summer, I went to this precollege program in New York where I learned how to pitch a TV show,” he says.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld