Palmetto High School senior Paulina Gutierrez lived in Miami until she was 13. She and her family moved to Georgia where they lived until recently when they moved back and Gutierrez enrolled in Palmetto High.
“I attended Sunset Elementary,” she says. “Which I’m thankful for, because I have reconnected with some old elementary school friends at Palmetto. It’s as if no time was lost.”
While she enjoyed her time in Georgia, she’s glad to be back in Miami because of its diversity and the fact that it’s a big city.
“I feel like I got to experience a lot more than the average person my age because I’ve lived in two places that are complete opposite environments of each other,” she says.
While still in Georgia, she worked with an organization, Paws for Claws, that worked to have dogs and cats adopted outside the local Petco.
“I spent every Saturday and Sunday morning outside in the heat trying to get dogs and cats adopted,” she says. “Even after I completed my hours, I continued going because I loved the environment and the people I was surrounded by.”
She earned approximately 50 hours her sophomore year of high school.
“I also worked some hours at a nursing home and did lacrosse camps,” she says.
She moved back to Miami this summer so she’s working on setting up volunteer opportunities here. She’s applied to work at the clinic at the Jack Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
“I would be helping the nurses set up the rooms for new patients and cleaning up the rooms and helping people in the waiting rooms filling out forms,” she says. “Things someone could do without a college degree.”
She says she wants to volunteer at the hospital because she believes she might end up working in the medical field.
“I thought that volunteering at the children’s hospital would allow me to realize if I truly enjoy that line of work.”
She says by volunteering at the children’s hospital, she’ll learn more about the medical field than just taking Advanced Placement biology.
Gutierrez is also taking an on-line Law Studies class that will give her greater perspective on the law and help her gauge her interest in law as a career.
Now that she’s here, Gutierrez hopes to become involved in Palmetto’s extracurricular activities. She’s already involved in the lacrosse team and hopes to have a role in student council.
“I played JV for two years and this will be my second year playing varsity, which is going to be tricky because I’m at a new school with new teammates that I have to connect with,” she says. “Also, the rules for the game of women’s lacrosse are different in the state of Florida from what I’m used to in Georgia.”
In Georgia she was on the lacrosse team, the French Club, she was president of the French National Honor Society, a member of the Math Club, the Beta Club and the National Honor Society.
“I also participated and was a semi-finalist for the Governor’s Honors program in the French language and culture subject,” she says.
Gutierrez is trilingual – she can read, write and fluently speak English, Spanish and French.
Her career plans are to work internationally, so she wants to major in international law, business affairs or biology.
She plans to apply to New York University, George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the University of Georgia and the University of Florida.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld