Positive People in Pinecrest : Sebastian Cardozo

Positive People in Pinecrest : Sebastian Cardozo
Positive People in Pinecrest : Sebastian Cardozo
Sebastian Cardozo

Miami Palmetto High School senior Sebastian Cardozo tutors Pinecrest Elementary School children to help them become more proficient in English.

He is the president of the Bridge to English program that sends Palmetto High volunteers to Pinecrest Elementary School to help ESOL kids.

“We tutor ESOL kids who speak Mandarin, Portuguese or Spanish,” he says. “I tutor in Spanish. We read books to them and help them with their homework.”

This is Cardozo’s second year as president. He’s been involved in the program since his sophomore year.

Since taking over, Cardozo was able to expand the program to Palmetto Elementary.

“At Pinecrest we have 12-14 students and at Palmetto, because it’s new, we have a solid 8-9 registered right now,” he says. “Our main goal is to have them improve so they don’t come back. When their English is at a high enough level, they can do their own work.”

This year, he’s working with a child that just came to the U.S. from Venezuela without knowing any English.

“I’ve already seen progression in the way she reads,” he says, adding he’s only been working with the child a couple of weeks.

The tutors and student go through reading comprehension workshops. When the student is new to English, the tutors will translate the information. When the child reads the passage a couple of times, they learn what the words mean and that helps them comprehend the words.

In the fall, Cardozo devotes much of his afterschool time practicing with the marching band and doing the job of band captain. He’s the drum major’s right-hand man.

“I’m there at every practice, ready to go.”

The winds and drum line number about 35 students this year.

“Not the biggest of bands, but we can manage,” he says. “Our Chatanettes, we have about 12 of them. Roughly we have 40-50 kids.”

He says they try to keep up the legacy of past Palmetto marching bands that numbered a solid 200 members.

“All the kids are very committed,” he says.

In the marching band, he plays the sousaphone. In symphonic band, he plays tuba and in jazz band he plays the trumpet.

He says band friendships are the best.

“The kids I played with in middle school, we are still connected,” he says. “Being in band is one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in my high school years.”

He’s president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. In collaboration with the Pinecrest City Music Project, Tri-M members who are in band go to Palmetto Middle School to help during the beginning band periods. Orchestra students go to Pinecrest Elementary, Palmetto Elementary and Palmetto Middle.

He also plays soccer for Palmetto. He’s played since his freshman year. He’s back after time off because of a knee injury last year.

Because of that injury, Cardozo joined the Palmetto water polo team.

“My therapist told me to try an aquatic sport,” he says. “It was fun. And very physically demanding. It was a big help for physical health and emotionally, as well.”

Although he wants to be involved in music in college, he’s trending toward a business degree. He might minor in music.

He’s applying to the University of Florida, University of North Carolina, New York University, University of Miami, Boston University, University of Central Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, and the University of Michigan, where he participated in the LEAD Summer Business Institute, a two-week summer program.

“The kids there were looking into a major in business,” he says. “They gave us a look into all types of business.”

Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld

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