WEST SHORE — Recent high school graduate Kailey Fernandez has found, through Girl Scouts, what she thinks will be her career.
The Robinson High School International Baccalaureate program graduate is heading to Cornell University to study hospitality.
“Girl Scouts brought an amazing group of girls together; it was so uplifting and it helped me choose my career,” Fernandez said.
The South Tampa resident was one of 21 Gold Girl Scouts honored June 8 at a reception, given by the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, at the DoubleTree Hotel. The Gold Award is the highest recognition a Girl Scout can earn and requires a project identifying an issue and steps to address that issue.
Many, like Fernandez, had a display board at the reception and talked to guests about their work.
Fernandez’s, called Kailey’s Kitchen, focused on teaching children to prepare and cook dried rice and beans that food banks can then distribute. She offered hands-on cooking classes that focused on nutrition and food safety to children at Metropolitan Ministries.
Veronica Laux, another Robinson IB graduate, also worked with Metropolitan Ministries. She did four canned food drives and raised money for one adult bed and one child bed at the ministries’ new housing facility, Miracle Place.
Neha Patil, a New Tampa resident who graduated this month from the IB program at King High School, taught children about following a balanced and nutritious diet.
Carneel Dixon, a senior at Tampa Prep, took her project globally. She recruited other Scouts and members of Hyde Park United Methodist Church to help make children’s pants from pillowcases. Then she personally delivered the pants to children in Nicaragua.
“Some of them had never received any new clothing before,” the South Tampa resident said.
MaryLeigh Wear, of Carrollwood, also focused on an international concern — the disappearing rain forest. The recent Broach School of Tampa graduate wrote a seventh-grade curriculum on the issue and also earned every award possible in Scouting.
Sabrina Kahlbaugh, who just graduated from Gaither High School, didn’t have to look any farther than her high school to find a project.
“Too many kids were having ‘senioritis’ and tardiness was increasing,” she said. “I made inspirational posters, wrote about steps to get into college ... and all the teachers want to do more to promote confidence.”
Other award recipients from Hillsborough County were Maria Myers, Lauren Kish, Heather DeReus, Brooke Geller, Isabelle Puppa, Kaitlyn Arruda, Arianna Bennett, Kaitlyn Fuson, Hanna Gibbs and Sydney Luzier.