It’s not uncommon to see Anthony Sarkiss tutoring a fellow student – this time, he’s showing invasive plants and fish in a display at his school's Eco Fair.
The Fair seems to revolve around Anthony. As president of both the Ecology Club and the SCUBA Club at Miami Beach Senior High School, Anthony is the heartbeat of the student environmental movement here.
"I found that there's an interest in environmental protection and restoration and conservation and I thought, this is my thing, I can help out here," Anthony said.
He leads dune cleanups at the beach every week, he's forged ties between his school clubs and outside conservation agencies, and Anthony still gets straight A's in the challenging International Baccalaureate program.
"Anthony is the single greatest student I have ever had," said Jennifer Silveira, a science teacher and sponsor of the Ecology Club.
"He leads by example and he brings everyone along with him, myself included, I learn from him every day, every day."
Anthony's classmates echo that sentiment.
"He has this sort of passion that makes you want to speak to him, makes you want to know what he knows and I love that about him," said Nicole Goetz, a senior who has known Anthony since middle school.
"He’s really smart, in class, as a student, and he really shows a lot of qualities of a leader, he's bringing students together around him whenever he can," said close friend, Lucas Arrow.
From trying to rid South Florida of invasive species to fighting against climate change, Anthony's passions are obvious, and his efforts have taken him a long way: he's going to Yale University in the fall. He's also had to overcome adversity along the way.
"There have been times when I have been discouraged but I knew I had to keep going," Anthony said.
Anthony's dad died when he was a toddler. With no siblings, his childhood consisted of just him and his mom, bouncing from Curaçao to Lebanon to Venezuela to Miami Beach. It was always a struggle to fit in, Antony says, but it made him self-reliant at an early age.
"I realized, I have to face this by myself because this is all I’ve got right now, I’m alone in this room and I have to face this by myself," Anthony said, describing his childhood.
Now Anthony is setting his sights on his future, and on the planet's future.
"I want to be actually out there solving problems, so I’m really interested in research, I’m interested in finding the solutions to the problems that we are facing," Anthony said.
Organized, focused, and ready to work on the most pressing issues of the day – Anthony Sarkiss is ready for the Ivy League and beyond.