Flavia Freitas of Team Ecuador
from Jeremiah E. Burke High School
Flavia is an extremely bright and outgoing 11th grade student at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School. Not only does she do well academically, but she also dedicates a considerable amount of time to community service projects. Throughout middle school, Flavia volunteered at after-school daycare programs in Brookline elementary schools, giving her experience with children and youth development. With her cousin as an inspiration, she learned more about fundraising and other service opportunities. Her passion for service and kids continues to grow now in her work with the Young People’s Project. As a math tutor to third graders, this experience allows her to give back to her city, learn more about her community, as well as learn more about herself.
It was not always this easy for Flavia to participate in so many activities. A native of Cape Verde, she moved to the United States in fourth grade. Her transition was difficult, with the biggest challenge being the language barrier. While her family spoke Creole, she had to adjust to all of the English used in her classes. However, her determination made her very successful in school, allowing her to take AP US History and AP English. She even plans to take more AP classes in her senior year. She has big goals on how to build on this success further in the future. She is certain she wants to attend college, and she’s looking to study business management and culinary arts with the dream of opening her own restaurant one day.
Through it all she’s had the strong support of her mother and her two sisters. Although they have been in the US for about seven years, they all keep their Cape Verdean culture alive with food, music, and videos. Flavia embraces her culture and she is so appreciative of where she comes from. At school, Flavia has a group of friends with all different backgrounds, allowing her to learn their stories and cultures as well. She has managed to balance the best of both worlds, with a strong cultural foundation at home and diversification at school.
Flavia and her team have returned from their Quest trip to Ecuador. From the start, the experience was all about stepping out of her comfort zone and facing a variety of new challenges, such as flying, making concrete paths, walking across a rope bridge over a river, and picking beans in the hot sun. The best part of the trip, by far, was her interaction with local Ecuadorians. While picking coffee beans, the farmers taught her how to work long hours and still maintain a healthy sense of humor. Flavia returned to Boston, realizing just how capable she is and how her work can make an impact on the world.
She can see now that the world belongs to everyone and it is her duty, just as it is anyone else’s, to take care of it. She has brought that spirit of community service and a new- found empathy back to Boston and her high school. She is excited about their team’s sustainable service project. They have started a Community Service Club at the Burke so that more Burke students can become involved. Their first project was to clean up and pack boxes at the Holland Elementary School. When the students thanked her for their work, she felt hopeful that the spirit of service might pass on to a younger generation.