Elizabeth Lara-Gamboa, a senior at Coral Gables High, spent much of this past summer volunteering at the Miami Learning Center as a tutor. She dealt with children in the younger grades and not only tutored but she also went along as a chaperone on fieldtrips.
A friend recommended the volunteer opportunity to her. Lara-Gamboa thought it was important to help the children in the program retain what they learned during the school year. Those children going into third grade were given pre-FCAT tutoring.
“We did a lot of individual work with the students,” she said. “We helped first graders who needed to sound out words for reading and other things like that.”
Lara-Gamboa would go three or four times a week for five to six hours a day.
“I gained more experience with children and I realized how important it is to get out in the community,”
she said. “It was a great experience for me to be able to help out others who needed it.” She said she gained personal fulfillment by helping others.
During the school year, she is a section leader in the Cavalier Singers and she belongs to the eight-member a cappella group called DiViSi. Lara-Gamboa is an alto.
She practices every Tuesday and Friday after school with the group. They sing anything from classical pieces to modern songs.
“For one of our recent shows we did an arrangement of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley,”
she said. She is a member of Tri-M, the music honor society. During the holiday season, Tri-M members collected toys to be donated to orphans in Africa.
The group also holds coffee houses after school where students can sing, recite poetry or act.
“We can do anything,” Lara-Gamboa said.
Her college plans call for a double major in music and communications. She’s applied to FSU and UF. She also is considering FIU and UCF.
“I’m staying in state,” she said
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld