Karen Schwartz has been busy during her four years as a student at Palmetto Senior High School. The well-rounded senior is an athlete, dedicated volunteer, honor student and trusted employee.
Schwartz has been a member of the Palmetto track team since her freshman year and has earned four varsity letters in the sport. Although the mile is her specialty and favorite event, she also participates in other races – distance, sprints, as well as team relays. The daily track practice and weekly meets, which begin in December and continue through the end of the school year, will add to Schwartz’s hectic schedule.
“I’m not a procrastinator, so I manage my schedule very well,” Schwartz said.
Each year at Palmetto, Schwartz has ramped up her AP class load to challenge herself and prepare for college. As a junior, she took three AP classes and this year she is enrolled in four. Because math is one of her strongest subjects, Schwartz is a member of the math honors club, Mu Alpha Theta. She participates in numerous math competitions, facing off against other area high school students. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and English and Science Honor Societies.
Schwartz serves vice president of Florida Future Educators of America (FFEA). As an officer of the club, she worked with fellow members to increase student interest and enrollment this year. She reports that the efforts have paid off, and membership is up.
“Our main focus in FFEA is to provide tutoring services to other Palmetto students – which is a great service to many students,” said Schwartz.
One of her favorite volunteer activities at Palmetto is Plant the Pride. Each year, Schwartz joins her classmates for a day of planting, weeding, mulching and sprucing up Palmetto’s campus – the very same campus both her parents attended when they were in high school.
“It’s a lot of work, but also a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a great feeling when you look around the school and see the results.”
Schwartz also volunteers her time outside of her school. She earned more than 360 community service hours when she volunteered as a camp counselor for two summers at the Alper JCC summer camps.
“I attended camp there when I was younger, and really enjoyed it,” Schwartz said. “This was a way for me to be involved and give back. The first summer, I volunteered as a leader-in-training. The next summer, I was a counselor-in-training and led camp activities for the four and five year olds.”
Schwartz’s volunteer work may be perfect training for a career in elementary education, one of the college majors she is considering. On the other hand, working as a retail sales associate in stores such as Aeropostale and Abercrombie may have also sparked her interest in pursuing a career in business.
Schwartz has plenty of time to determine her major. The colleges she is considering offer excellent programs in both elementary education and business studies. Her top schools include Wake Forest, Florida State, University of Miami, Vanderbilt, Boston College and the University of Florida, where her father graduated.
By Nancy Eagleton