Gulliver Prep Senior Neptune Peterson is the Prep’s Silver Knight nominee in the area of English and Literature.
Peterson is a poet, writing poetry on an old manual typewriter that is partially refurbished.
“I like the fact it doesn’t work well,” Peterson says. “It makes me think out my words before I write them down,”
Each Silver Knight nominee works on one or more community service projects in order to qualify for nomination. Peterson’s projects all deal with queer advocacy.
“I work with the Yes Institute, a locally based organization focused on offering LGBTQ youth mental health services,” Peterson says. “I joined last year.”
Peterson joined the youth led council because they were interested in queer advocacy.
“The Yes Institute comes to different schools and talks about bullying,” Peterson says. “I went online, and I applied to be a part of their council. I started working with them immediately after.”
Peterson worked on several projects with them, including the Couples Legacy Project, a traveling exhibit that will open in June, which is Pride Month.
“They partnered with the Miami History Museum,” Peterson says. “To represent 400 years of love and illustrate the trials and triumphs of LGBTQ people in Miami.”
Peterson interviewed people featured in the exhibit. Peterson says it was fun and exciting to conduct the interviews.
“It’s not something I expected to go into, but it was cool,” Peterson says.
Peterson started a newsletter called Trans Talk to encourage people to talk about the subject.
“I try to assess the most current news,” Peterson says.
That includes the recent bill passed by the Florida legislature and signed by the governor which is known as the Don’t Say Gay bill.
“I’m lucky I have the family I have and the support I have,” Peterson says, adding that education needs to be accessible to all people.
Peterson will continue their education next year at New York University, majoring in English.
“I want to dabble in everything; I’m working on a poetry collection at the moment,” Peterson says. “I’m thinking about self-publishing. I’m trying to finish the poetry by my birthday, when I turn 18 in June.”
For their upcoming birthday, Peterson asked to go on a writing retreat. That retreat will be in Peterson’s favorite city, Vienna.
At Gulliver, Peterson is a member of the GSA, the National English Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society, the National Honor Society, Psi Alpha, and Rho Kappa.
“I work for Breakthrough Miami. It’s my pride and joy,” Peterson says. “With Breakthrough, I’m also part of their local volunteer council. There are 500-800 volunteers working across South Florida.”
Peterson co-founded the volunteer council in 2020.
Peterson teaches a creative writing elective to Breakthrough Scholars as well as fifth grade science. They have taught in the Breakthrough summer program as well.
In their quest to try new things, Peterson was in the Gulliver spring musical Into the Woods. They have always loved musicals and loved actually being in one.
Peterson also played lacrosse at Gulliver since freshman year.
Summers, Peterson travels. Normally the family goes to Europe but last summer Peterson backpacked across the western U.S. with their mother, living out of the car.
“I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much,” Peterson says. “It was a test of my endurance.”
One of Peterson’s new experiences was writing an Op-Ed for the school paper, focused on implementing gender neutral bathrooms.
“I didn’t expect it to become such a thing,” Peterson says. “I was angry, and I wanted something to be done. People really liked it!”
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld