Palmer Trinity junior Keenan Rodriguez is treasurer for both the Class of 2015 and the Autism Club.
The Palmer Trinity Autism Club is very active and does a lot of fundraising. Last April, the club raised $20,000 for CARD through the event ACE for Autism.
“It was an invitation tournament for juniors and adults to play tennis,” Rodriguez says. “You signed up and you joined the tournament; the winner received prizes. There was a silent auction at the event.”
The club had a successful flag football tournament in February as well. The event at Dante Fascell Park raised approximately $2,000. The club also holds bakes sales at school.
Although the major events were very successful, Rodriguez says the board still sits down and does a post mortem to see how they can be upgraded.
“I also give input on what needs to be improved and what could be better and how to learn from our mistakes,” Rodriguez says.
While the events are time consuming, Rodriguez believes they are worth the effort.
“I’m close to Waleed Mneimneh, I really appreciate what he’s doing,” he says. “He invited me to be the treasurer in ninth grade and I’ve been in that position ever since.”
When he’s not counting money for the school and the Autism Club, Rodriguez plays sports. He’s a soccer player, playing for the Coral Gables Toros club team and Palmer Trinity. He also plays tennis, although his focus is more on soccer. The Toros are a traveling team and they play in tournaments around Florida. “That’s more my forte,” he says. “I play centerman – midfield.
That’s the role that distributes the ball. I set up the plays. That’s the role of the mid-field position.”
The Toros play soccer for the Coral Gables Youth Center. The past season, the Toros went into the round of 16 for the Florida State Cup.
The Palmer soccer team went to the playoffs as well last school year, making it as far as the regional quarter finals before losing to Hillel. Rodriguez expects the Palmer team to have a strong season this school year
“We’ll have five to eight seniors in our starting line-up,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll go far.It looks good.”
Toward the end of last school year, Rodriguez was asked to be on the Honor Council for athletics. Students on the Honor Council are expected to show leadership and recognize who is there to help others.
“It’s to show what the game is about, it’s not all about winning but to grow as a player,” he says.
The Toros play most of the year, with a break for the high school soccer season.
Rodriguez is so into the sport that he hosted a soccer event for the International Festival.
“We had an indoor soccer tournament,” he says. “It included the theme of countries playing for the world cup. A team would represent a country. They competed against other Palmer students.”
The event raised funds that we donated to Palmer Trinity. It held the theme of a World Cup. It brought in money, but it was more of a donation to Palmer. Even though it was the first tournament, they were able to field eight teams.
“We had a perfect four in each division; the top two advanced and played in the semi-finals and finals,” he says. “It was Venezuela that won. What was cool is that everybody tried to get Venezuelan jerseys. There was a team representing Peru, wearing the red jerseys.”
By Linda Bernfeld Rodriguez