Before school begins August 20, incoming Coral Reef High School junior Rebecca Regalado plans to assemble 75 backpacks filled with school supplies. She plans to donate the backpacks to students at James H. Bright Elementary and J.W. Johnson Elementary.
She started Becca’s Backpack Drive a few weeks ago because she wanted to help those students who are homeless or in transitional housing.
A friend of the family helped identify the students who might need the backpacks.
“I asked how many students were in need of bookbags and they combined the total from both of the schools,” she says.
Regalado has been making the rounds of the office supply stores to ask for donations. After a couple of weeks, she had 15 backpacks on hand with commitments for more.
“If I don’t receive donations from the stores, then I’ll use money donations from the Go Fund Me to purchase them,” she says.
She started by collecting the backpacks. The supplies are the next step. Whatever she doesn’t receive through donations, she’ll buy using money she’s raising through a Go Fund Me page and a Facebook donation drive.
The backpack drive is currently a solo effort, but she hopes to recruit others to help. She contacted Coral Reef to see if she could start a club that would be dedicated to a variety of drives to help the children who will receive the backpacks. Although the school nixed the club, she’s going forward anyway.
“I plan on donating to the same school throughout the year,” she says.
She’s putting together a calendar of items to collect each month.
She’s in the Coral Reef Drama magnet and a member of Thespians, which is a separate club that anyone can join.
Because Coral Reef is a drama magnet, only juniors and seniors can act in the main stage productions while the underclassmen showcase their talents in the Freshman/Sophomore Showcase and the Battle of the Classes.
“I’ve acted in all the shows I possibly could,” she says.
However, thanks to the tech class she took last year, she was backstage for the main stage production of Little Mermaid doing hair and make-up.
“I like that aspect the most,” she says.
Coming the next school year will be the production of The Wedding Singer and a one-act play written by one of the students. She also plans to audition to go to competition.
Regalado is known for her baking skills. She’s now a business owner, having started Becca’s Bake Shop several months ago.
“I donate 15 percent of my sales to my backpack drive,” she says. “The rest of the money I make is going towards my college fund.”
She says she’s been baking since she was five. Her friends and family urged her to start a baking business. She sells cakes, cupcakes, and cookie dough and has been filling orders throughout the summer.
“One cake I love to make has cookie dough stuffed in the center as well as piled on top,” she says. “The YMCA allowed me to sell at the Farmer’s Market. I sold out in two hours and I brought 100 cupcakes!”
She’s mulling majoring in business and minoring in interior design. Her dad wants her to get a business degree and while she agrees it’s important, she loves interior design, so she might double major.
“I would love to open my own interior design place or be on HGTV,” she says. “That would be cool because I could use my acting skills and my interior design skills.”
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld