January 20, 2018


A Number of Achievements

Student Leaders

Mike Vogel | 6/1/2010

A Sound Future

Alexander Niles
For an eighth-grade school project, Niles decided to make electric guitars.

Alexander Niles
, 16
Rising Junior, Dr. Michael Krop Senior High, Aventura
[Photo: Donna Victor]
As an eighth-grader assigned to devise a business plan for a class, Alex Niles watched classmates offer up candy-selling plans. He wrote about making custom electric guitars. “I knew I could do it,” says Niles, all of 13 at the time.

He’s made four guitars, investing $2,000 in each. “They feel great, and they sound great,” he says. He hasn’t sold any, but he did win the state National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship competition, becoming a national finalist before losing out to fellow Miamian Jessica Cervantes [Trendsetters, March 2009].

Finishing 10th grade at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High in Aventura, Niles, now 16, plays guitar, piano, drums and bass.

He still works on his Niles Custom Shop Guitars but, truth be known, he would prefer making it big with his indie rock band, The Saurus. “I know that we’re good,” he says. He also knows it’s a fickle business; law school is plan B.


» Madison Fortenberry, 17, Pace High School, Pace, started a robotics camp for elementary kids, designed a robot to perform school administrative work and captained the winning team at a national robotics competition. For the Air Force, he’s built robots for a navigation demo.

» David Weinberg, 17, and Paul Vitale, 18, Spruce Creek High School, Port Orange, wrote software and used Wiimotes and other off-the-shelf components to create $75 interactive whiteboards for Spruce Creek that have nearly the same capabilities as $2,000 commercial whiteboards.

» Maureik Robison, 17, Booker High School, Sarasota, jazz drummer and National Honor Society president, founded “Sounds for Seniors” concerts at nursing homes featuring his jazz quartet.

» Sade Morris, 17, Miami Northwestern Senior High, Miami, never knew her mother and was 8 when her father died. Raised by her aunt, she has worked at a supermarket since 14, interns at Jackson Memorial and will graduate high school with an LPN license and hopes to do premed at Barry or the University of Miami.

Tags: Trendsetters

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