They call him the face of Taravella High School in Coral Springs. Duran Cameron does the televised announcements every morning, and he’s one of those students everyone seems to go to for advice, or just a hug.
"I just think that I’m very approachable, a lot of people when they have questions they know that they can come up to me and ask me, i won’t have a problem, as long as I’m available, I like to be really flexible for anyone who needs my help," Duran said.
At 6-foot-5, Duran is literally a standout at school, the president of the student body. It’s hard to picture now, but this senior was once paralyzed by shyness.
“And I think that’s why my biggest thing is getting everyone involved to show them that, like, you don’t have to isolate yourself,” Duran explains.
It’s one thing to be a popular kid on campus. It’s another thing to use that popularity to help your peers, and that’s exactly what Duran does. He became one of the leaders of the student mentoring club, Trojans in Transition, working to eliminate the fear factor for incoming freshmen.
“Yeah, I feel like having a senior friend is so cool as a freshman to have a senior friend but it’s also, like you have someone you can look up to and kind of aspire to be,” said freshman Kimberly Montalvo.
“When I first got here,” said freshman Morgan Schmidt, “I was very nervous, and he took most of that away by showing me there’s nothing to be scared of in high school.”
The faculty at Taravella says Duran’s a natural leader, the type of kid who could end up as a Congressman one day. He’s a problem solver with people skills so great, the principal told us they often ask Duran to intervene with students who are having issues.
“He can see a problem and take it by the horn and come up with solutions,” said interim principal Debra Johnson.
As an example, Duran organized a campaign against drunk driving, just before prom.
“A lot of people think they’re not affected by it and this won’t affect me, ever, but just to show you that this can happen to anyone, no matter what age you are, no matter who you are, you’re not invincible,” Duran said, explaining the reasons for warning his peers about driving drunk.
He’s an excellent student in the classroom, and after college, Duran wants to go to medical school to become a doctor. It’s hard to think of a better profession for someone who’s always helping everyone around him.