Palmetto High School senior Paola Hegedus has more than a thousand hours in community service. Many of the hours came from her work on the yearbook over the course of her high school career. This year she is a Co-Editor in Chief.
“In yearbook, you have to work your way up,” she says. “I was a section editor and managing editor.”
Hegedus says Palmetto usually has two editors-in-chief because their book is big at 425 pages.
“In order to keep up that standard, there have been two people,” she says.
The Palmetto yearbook generally wins awards in national yearbook competitions.
Hegedus also is the president of the ecology club.
“We do beach cleanups,” she says.
This school year, she planned on having club members participate in monthly cleanups.
“We go around the school and clean up everything,” she says.
Hegedus also is treasurer of the Spanish National Honor Society and she is very involved in her church, St. Louis Catholic Church. She’s a lector and servant leader, so she works with the youth group on Wednesday night and she leads retreats.
“The confirmation class has to have one retreat per year and we put that whole thing together,” she says. “For my youth group, there is a ministry within the ministry. I’m in the music ministry for the youth group ministry. I sing for the band.”
Hegedus says it’s like having a mini-band playing when the kids walk into the youth group.
“It’s prayer through music. It’s a way to get the kids to open up,” she says.
“It’s kind of like a chill setting so they don’t feel as up tight when they first come in.”
Hegedus also is a peer minister. As a peer minister she helps organize retreats at the Morningstar Renewal Center.
“It’s like a servant leader for all of Miami,” she says. “Every church that needs a retreat, my team goes out and provides that for them.”
The group organizes the retreats because many parishes don’t have a youth ministry.
“They’ll set up a date for a confirmation retreat. We go in and do full day reflections,” she says. “We go on in and do all the skits, all the games, the ice breakers, the talks, and we condense that into one day or a couple of hours.”
She has been a peer minister since 2011. In a year, she says she will work on six or seven retreats.
“But our main retreat is ours, the weeklong retreat to be a peer minister,” Hegedus says.
“I’ve led it twice. I’ve been a leader for that week twice. I did it the summer going into my junior year and again this past summer.”
In college, Hegedus hopes to major in graphic design. She would also like to go to a Catholic college. She has applied to Seton Hall, Loyola in Chicago and Boston College.
“I really want to work in magazines; I guess my real goal in life is to become an art director for a magazine,” she says.
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld