Recent Coral Gables High graduate Rada McKinnon earned more than 1.200 community service hours over her four-year high school career.
She volunteered as a mentor and after school teacher at the Barnyard in Coconut Gove for kids from kindergarten to sixth grade. She helped the children with homework and also coached the kids so they could raise their FCAT scores.
“Also to be moral and emotional support,” she said. “Usually, if they have problems at school, they come to talk to us about it. We tell the counselors and they can go to school and deal with it. We do inform the parents about it.”
Before that, she volunteered at St. Albans, working with toddlers.
“We taught them their ABC’s. We potty trained them. We would have story time,” she said. “We would take them outside to play. I did it in the summer before I started high school. I would go twice a week while I was in school. Spring break I would be there and summer as well.”
This year, she will be at the University of South Florida double majoring in psychology and business. She received a full scholarship for college.
The list of colleges that accepted her is impressive. It includes Tuskegee University, Xavier University in Louisiana, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Auburn University at Montgomery and FIU. “I want to be a child psychologist,” she said, adding that business is something on which she can fall back.
“I definitely like working with kids. I don’t want to be a teacher; I want to be a psychologist.”
McKinnon also served as a cheerleading coach in ninth grade through her junior year. She was captain of the cheerleading squad last year and she hosted cheerleading clinics.
She participated in the Stride for Senegal, a new event started at Gables this year. The money from the 5K went to the needy in Senegal.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld