Palmetto High School senior Carlos Suhr has a third-degree black belt in Tai Kwon Do. At one time, he participated in Tai Kwon Do, but that has changed since he entered high school.
“I compete in mathematics competitions now,” he says. “I haven’t been in any Tai Kwon Do matches recently.”
Suhr has been in Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society, since his freshman year. He is something of a math whiz and started with Algebra Two when he was in the ninth grade, earning seventh place in the regional competition. In the 10th grade, he competed in pre-calculus competition. Last year, he could not compete because the dates for the competition in the calculus division conflicted with his SAT preparation.
“When it comes to math, I just like how it challenges me to think in new ways that I haven’t thought of before,” he says. “In math there is always one way to answer. I think it’s cool to venture out to my own world and just think of different ways to solve problems.”
Suhr is a member of the National Honor Society and was the group’s treasurer last year. He is also in the Science National Honor Society and he is president of Interact, the student arm of Rotary International. He served as president-elect Interact last year and was treasurer in his sophomore year.
“Interact did many different things last year,” he says. “We made dresses for little girls in Africa in a collaborative effort. We took fabric and we cut it out in the shape of dress and then sewed the pieces together. “One of the things I helped coordinate involved cutting out the stars of old American flags and sending them to our troops overseas. We typed messages and put them in a bag with the star. Everything was done properly; we retired the flags and sent the stripes to the Boy Scouts to be burned.”
Suhr says the project was inspired by a Florida woman who was featured on ABC news.
“She was working on this program for her son and I read a newspaper article about her, then called her up and asked how I could get involved,” he says. “She was appreciative and now I’m trying to make this a continuous thing, not just a one-day wonder.”
Earlier in the year, Interact hosted the annual Panthers Got Talent show at Palmetto High School.
“We raised money that will go to a waterpurification program in India,” he says. “We raised about $4,000.”
Suhr is also the business manager of Palmetto’s school newspaper, the Panther.
“I’m responsible for the financial aspect of it, everything financially. I’m in charge of the advertising in the paper and for making sure that we have enough money to print,” he says.
In his sophomore year, Suhr was a staff writer. At the end of the year, his predecessor took him under her wing and taught him the financial ropes about publishing a newspaper.
“I took it and ran with it,” he says. “This past year was pretty successful.”
And Suhr says that was because of his appreciation for the publishing business and his acumen with numbers.
Suhr is also active in the community away from school. He regularly volunteers to participate with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.
“I have volunteered with them since I was in the seventh grade and every year I join a team,” he says. “I started volunteering then because my friend’s brother had cancer. He was later cured.”
Suhr says he participates in Relay For Life to help promote awareness of the disease.
“So many people are affected by cancer,” he says. “Not just the people who have the disease, but also their friends and relatives, their caregivers.”
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld