Palmetto High School senior Carley Wayne has accumulated more than 700 community service hours. Some of those hours come from her work with the new No Place for Hate task force.
“We actually just declared Palmetto High School a No Place for Hate, a bully-free community,” Wayne says. “We have a lot of activities in and out of school.”
The group began when the sponsor asked a few students to participate and those students brought along friends.
“We had an activity called Mix-It-Up,” Wayne says. “A bunch of random kids came and we did an activity called stepping out of a circle.”
The students were asked to step in if they had been bullied. They also watched an anti-bullying video about a girl who had been chatting online and was pressured into flashing her breasts. The video got out and even though her parents moved her to another school, the bullying continued. The girl committed suicide.
“There are just so many different types of bullying,” Wayne says. “If someone is threatening your life, tell a teacher.” The No Place for Hate task force also offers tips on how to handle being bullied and how to handle a situation where someone else is bullied. “You can talk to a guidance counselor, a teacher or a parent,” she says.
“You can tell them to remain calm and defend themselves in a non-confrontational way; be an ally or say, ‘Hey, that’s not nice.’”
Being in No Place for Hate has made Wayne more aware of what happens in the hallways of her school.
“I have made an effort to say ‘that’s not nice, stop please!” she says.
Wayne is also secretary of the National Honor Society and a member of the English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the Social Science Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society.
One of Wayne’s passions is cheerleading. She has been a cheerleader since she was in the fourth grade and enrolled at Florida Gymnastic Training. She switched to the Top Gun All Stars in fifth grade and she has been there ever since participating in competitive cheering. She is on several different teams at Top Gun and has won some big competitions, including the National Battle Under the Big Top last December. “ESPN has two competitions; I’ll be in one of them,” she says.
Wayne enters competitions once or twice a month and has traveled to Atlanta, Indianapolis, Dallas and Daytona, and frequently to Orlando and Daytona. She plans to continue in competitive cheering as long as she can.
Cheering can be a dangerous sport, but Wayne has been lucky. She has jammed a couple of fingers and suffered a black eye, but she hasn’t had a serious injury. Wayne is a flyer, so she is often thrown into the air. She says her mom used to hold her breath when they would throw her in the air, but now she’s fine watching the competitions.
Throughout her high school career, Wayne has been a Palmetto cheerleader and she has been an officer all four years. She was treasurer of the junior varsity squad as a freshman and then captain in her sophomore year. In her junior year, she was treasurer for the varsity squad and this year she is again captain of the team.
Next year, Wayne plans to be away at college and studying engineering. She has applied to Georgia Tech, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Duke and Vanderbilt.
— By Linda Bernfeld Rodriguez