Alexandra Sailsman

Hometown: Pembroke Pines, FL

high school: Everglades High School

college: MIT

MAJOR: Engineering

In her short life, Alexandra Sailsman has learned the true value of an opportunity. At 12 years old, she dislocated her right knee, and was forced to sit on the sidelines. While her friends could run around and play sports, Alex ran between doctor’s appointments, taking x-rays and MRI’s instead of shots on a goal. She could no longer take part in the activities she loved. She was missing out on so many opportunities; Alex felt as if her life were over.

Far from it, Alex bounded back from her injury as soon as it was physically possible. She took advantage of the new opportunities presented to her. The following year, Alex participated as a member of her school’s basketball and track teams, and was named the most improved female track runner.

Now an expert at overcoming all types of hurdles, Alex has made it her personal mission to help others over theirs. It is a pursuit she truly enjoys. As a 15 year old, she worked with autistic and developmentally challenged children at a horseback riding physical therapy center. She took delight in their increased mobility and coordination, a setback she herself had faced. For the first time, she saw how her work could impact the lives of others in a positive way. It became something of an addiction.

As it became clearer that her work could benefit her community, Alex plunged into her schoolwork in the hopes that, one day, she could help others with her career. She began tutoring in English, Spanish, mathematics and science for different school clubs. Soon, she was swarmed with phone calls from classmates, friends, and even strangers with regards to chemistry, calculus and competition in the market. What was once a bit overwhelming became another area in which Alex continues to do community service.

Never satisfied with her current level of production, Alex kicked her senior year into full gear. In addition to her endless tutoring hours, she was elected to club officer positions at school and began serving at more Sunday Masses. As the President of her school’s Science National Honor Society, she helped organize two Science Nights at local elementary schools to encourage children to explore a sometimes daunting subject. She has also worked to organize a service project with a local homeless shelter and worked the polls on Election Day, an election she missed being able to vote in by only 9 days. As secretary for the Foreign Language National Honor Society, she also works to give her South Florida school a sense of global awareness.

Now racing towards her high school finish line, Alex knows it won’t be her last event. College will be a whole new race to run, one in which her father was never able to compete. Alex fully appreciates the value of an opportunity. Born in Hollywood, Florida just over 18 years ago on the day the first web page was written, she is anxious to see what exciting opportunities the next 18 years may bring.

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