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    Call to Action


    PTS Falconer Staff


    The Keystone XL Pipeline, Rohingya Muslim persecution, Palestinian Water Crisis -- humanitarian crises exist in many places that seem too remote to be affected by simple Miami inhabitants, and mere Palmer Trinity students.

    That statement could not be more false.

    Not much comes to mind when one hears the town name "Immokalee." Located less than 2 hours away from Miami, Immokalee produces a humongous amount of tomatoes for the whole country, including about 90% of America's tomatoes during the winter. The demographic makeup of this agricultural center is 70.98% Hispanic, and 18.03% African American. Caucasians come in at 3.19%, and Native Americans at 1.03%. Immokalee is fueled by migrant workers mainly from Mesoamerica who needed work upon arrival in America. They currently supply tomatoes to McDonald's, Trader Joe's, and Walmart's, among other major food providers -- except notably Wendy's and Publix ever since 2001. Previous to 2001, Immokalee workers were highly susceptible to abuses in the workplace, including sexual assault, physical injuries, and lack of deserved pay. In 2010, 80% of female farm workers reported sexual harassment on the job. As to avoid completely ruining your day, you can read more about abuses at rather than this article.


    Due to these atrocities, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) created the Fair Food Program. Immokalee workers united to form an organization similar to a union, in which their voices and advocacy counteract the negative intentions of large, ruthless corporations. The Fair Food Program ensures the workers access to a complaint hotline about abuses, and their deserved pay, among other benefits. As Immokalee produces so many tomatoes for America year round, the Fair Food Program is essential.

    The following six quotes can be found on the Fair Food Website,

    “Unique in the country” for preventing sexual violence.

    -PBS Frontline Producer

    Among the “most important social-impact success stories of the past century.”
    -Harvard Business Review


    “14 businesses are part of the [Fair Food] Program; many more should join.”

    “The best workplace monitoring program.”

    -New York Times

    A “visionary strategy… with potential to transform workplace environments across the global supply chain.”

    -MacArthur Fellowship

    “One of the great human rights success stories of our day.”

    -Washington Post


    It seems like an easy decision for a corporation to join Fair Food: they are not endorsing and fueling slave labor, they are preventing workplace abuse, and the cost of tomatoes is cheaper. This can be seen when comparing one pound of tomatoes: a worker in Immokalee is paid almost 2 cents for collecting one pound of tomatoes, while Walmart (in the Fair Food Program) charges $2.39, and Publix (out of Fair Food Program) charges $3.59. A pound of tomatoes is bought by a Walmart consumer for 140 times the worker’s wage, while a pound of tomatoes is bought by a Publix consumer for 211 times the worker’s wage. In addition to the deplorable treatment of workers all around - especially by Publix, Walmart can be seen with a better price for the same amount of tomatoes.


    Among the companies in the Fair Food Program are McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Trader Joe's, Walmart, Whole Foods, Subway, Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s, and the Fresh Market. Publix and Wendy’s are not. Since the introduction of Fair Food, Wendy’s has been outsourcing their tomato production, opting to reap slave labor in Mexico rather than obtain local tomatoes from legal labor. Not only is this damaging America’s economy by using workers in another country, but this is endorsing slave labor and workplace abuse. More can be read about Wendy’s at the following sites:


    Here is what you can do about this:

    In response to Wendy’s and Publix’s efforts against the Fair Food Program, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has provided many methods of protest.

    1.    You can buy tomatoes from Fair Food companies rather than Publix. Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods are just three supermarkets with cost-efficient tomatoes picked by well-treated Immokalee workers.

    2.    The following letters from have been prepared to be signed and turned in to the manager of a local Publix or Wendy’s:



    3.    At this site,, you can sign up for email updates on the progress of the Fair Food Program.

    4.    You can share the already closed petition against Wendy’s at, detailing the disgraces of Wendy’s.

    5.    You can boycott!!! There are many appealing sources of tomatoes that submit to the Fair Food Program. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers itself has organized many public boycotts against Wendy’s in particular, as can be seen at The largest of these demonstrations will happen on January 18, 2018, when protesters will fast, and hold widespread protests outside of Wendy’s across the country, especially in Miami, the neighbor of Immokalee. This specific boycott commemorates the 20 year anniversary of six farm workers’ 30 day hunger strike in Immokalee.


    Thank you for reading, and after having visited our neighbors in Immokalee myself, I cannot stress the gravity of this issue enough. This is happening under our noses -- less than a two hour car ride away from where we live! We have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with the historically abused and plighted migrant workers of Immokalee, especially after they have stood up for the entire country by providing fresh tomatoes year round, including 90% of tomatoes during the winter! This winter, as you're snacking on small tomatoes, slicing tomatoes into your salad, or putting ketchup on your fries, know there's a 90% chance that tomato grew in Immokalee; there's a 90% chance it was picked by the hands of a migrant worker, and shipped in a truck from Immokalee to your local market; there's an 80% chance if the worker was female that she was sexually abused in the workplace; 9 out of every 10 tomatoes you see this winter came from these Immokalee workers who are in dire need of support, from our abused neighbors that we know so little about. I apologize for bringing up such a complex humanitarian crisis in the midst of our time of celebration, the holiday season, yet these workers never truly have a holiday, and we can help them by simply doing what's stated above: buying our tomatoes from Fair Food companies, delivering letters to the manager of a local Wendy’s and Publix, staying updated, sharing information and knowledge of the issue, and boycotting. Thank you for your time and attention to this issue.


    January 16 2018 edit: An earlier version had Walgreens, instead of Walmart, in the story. The bullet points were numbered incorrectly. 



    PTS Club Highlight Series: BBLB & CFW

    By: NGOC HANH TRAN '19

    PTS Facloner Staff


    I would like to welcome you on a little tour around our school to have a closer look at what Palmer Trinity’s teachers and students have offered for us. Through this series, I hope to engage you- PTS’s students to all of the amazing opportunities that are available to you.

    FIRST STOP: Room 226- the home of not just 1 but 2 amazing clubs- BBLB & CCW.

    1. BBLB- “Where education can open doors for people from diverse backgrounds”

    Founded by Noah Pirani ('19), BBLB seeks to help those students not as fortunate as those at PTS through raising literacy levels.

    How Do They Do It? Frequently 'little buddies' find a mentor in their “big buddy”, someone who cares for them and models the importance of developing good reading and writing habits.

                      Workshops take place at Gould's elementary one Saturday a month.

    Why should you join? You would be, in a way, the role model for the “little buddies” by helping them develop reading habits that last a lifetime. Your participation raises many opportunities for them.

    Any requirements? Sadly, BBLB is open for upper school students only. There is also a strict requirement for substantial time commitment.

    We believe that our students will be able to get back a real sense of pride and achievement when they realize the impact they can have on others.

    Shoutout: BBLB on their works and efforts. Together, they have helped 80 students. Thank you to Ms. Neyra, Noah Pirani and every PTS student who has given their time and mind to do this amazing work!

    PTS Big Buddies with their Little Buddies

    The society is a service based club right here on campus and offers help with written assignments about 14 hours a week, run by 18 PTS students and Ms. Neyra.

    Lastest project? They’ve been very busy working with the fair child project in 6th grade science. This year they will be participating in the Christmas Toy drive by donating approximately $100 in gifts cards to the Branches program!

    Any requirements? To apply Juniors/Seniors need to submit written work, complete an application, and if selected,  attend a training in August.

    How Do They Do It?  Students are welcome to visit before,  during, and after school hours for assistance with any written assignments.

    Fascinating Fact-This year, CFW has helped an average of  2 students a day. That’s approximately 104 student visits, so far!

    Shout Out: On the behalf of all students who have been helped by the members of CFW, I would like to say thank you to all of you and Ms. Neyra for your hard work!

    Center for Writing with their Club Shirts





    PTS International Festival


    PTS Falconer Staff


    This Saturday, March 18th, was Palmer’s 17th annual International Festival.

    We, Elena and Dani, asked a few people at the festival what their favorite aspects of it were. We received many general answers, such as “The food, definitely the food.” However, we were also surprised and interested to learn about each person’s favorite booths and about their special connections with the festival.

     Jonah Stevens, one of Palmer’s Breakthrough Miami directors, explained that the International Festival was definitely his favorite event put together by Palmer. He enjoyed the fact that so many people of different cultures and backgrounds would come together once a year to celebrate each other’s similarities and differences. Mr. Stevens said that he also enjoyed the fun-spirited vibe that the festival gave off, and was glad that it gave the chance for family, friends, teachers, and students to have a great experience together. He added that his favorite booths were, of course, the Breakthrough Miami booth, Lebanon (because of the amazing spinach pies and grape leaves), Thailand, China, and Brazil.

     Rohan Myers and Katherine Martinez, both tenth grade students here at Palmer, also expressed their views of the festival. Rohan said that his favorite booths were France, because he was a part of the French Honor Society, and Thailand, because of the outstanding Thai iced tea. Katherine had similar positive views. She explained that, because she has Cuban roots, her favorite booth was Cuba and expressed her utter love for their sandwiches. When asked why she likes to go to the festival, she replied, “I like to come here because I like to socialize with my friends and I get to experience the many different cultures.” She was also very enthusiastic about a new booth this year: Sophia Baker’s Agents of Change initiative which promoted equality. “I love Sophia Baker’s initiative because it promotes acceptance and diversity and tries to do away with stereotypes.” Both Katherine and Rohan also added without hesitation that anyone thinking of going to the International Festival next year should definitely go.

     Julia Brand and Ana Paula Zalles, a pair of juniors at Palmer, expressed their opinions of the festival, which were really positive as well. In the case of Julia, this was her first time attending the festival since she is new to Palmer this year. She conveyed how delighted she was with the food and how amazed she was with the cultural diversity of our community. She said that it was a nice way of, "bringing cultures together," as well as appreciating how each is different. Another aspect she brought up was the student involvement at the festival. She was impressed by the number of student volunteers and how most of the booths were run by them without the help of a parent or teacher. On a final note, she said that the teacher dunking activity was definitely a really amusing one that should be repeated each year. Ana contributed with some of her takeaways from the experience. She loved every aspect of the festival and even though she has attended it many times, it never disappoints her. The food, as always, was really delicious and diverse this year. She loved the new additions to the activities and thought that it was a great way to learn about other cultures.



    Breakthrough Miami Explores the Environment

    By Francesco Lombardo '17


    Recently, Breakthrough Miami at Palmer Trinity School took a field trip to Deering Estate. We met up at the school and then took buses over to the 444 acre archeological, nature, and history preserve. We had a full day of activities planned ahead of us.


    What is the Deering Estate? As I stated above it’s a preserve with 444 acres of native Floridian ecosystems located right on Palmetto Bay. This estate used to belong to Charles Deering, who lived on the property from 1922 to 1927. In 1985 it was acquired by the State of Florida and it was turned into a preserve in 1989. Among the numerous things to see at Deering Estate, there is an ancient Tequesta burial mound located on the grounds. The kids had a lot to learn and see.


    We started off the day by learning about what lives in the shallow waters of Cutler Bay. Each kid was put into a pair and they were given nets. They then had the task to see what types of animals they could pull out from the bay and into the plastic examination container. Shrimp, crabs, and fish were pulled up amongst the algae and red mangrove seeds. From there a caretaker explained how all the animals live together in this ecosystem and how algae was the home to many different types of animals.


    After a quick lunch break we were ready to continue our day. We then followed a guide into the mangroves and had to create our own path. We climbed over fallen tree trunks, limestone rocks, and trudged through sticky black mud. After about 15 minutes of walking we arrived at the site of a crashed airplane. This plane was believed to have belonged to a drug cartel and made an emergency landing there in the 80s. We found our way back to the trail and from there it was back on the bus and back to Palmer Trinity.


    Overall it was a wonderful day full of interesting sights. The kids part of Breakthrough Miami really enjoyed it and were exhausted by the end of the day.



    Mid-Winter Break Service Trips a Success Once Again

    By: Gabrielle Puig '17



    Palmer Trinity School has made sure that global education is a considerable part of the curriculum of students to gain new knowledge of languages, cultures, and skills. Palmer Trinity believes that through experiential learning, students will gain a better sense of themselves and widen their values for the things they have; therefore, this past “Mid-Winter Break”, students participated in two service trips to Haiti and Nicaragua and an adventure-based trip to Patagonia.

    Twelve Palmer Trinity Students embarked on a service trip to the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua. There they spent their time building a house for a family that the people there believed needed it the most. The remainder of the trip consisted of visiting two different orphanages and taking time to connect with those children by taking part in activities such as playing soccer and taking them to eat ice cream. “This trip really helped me reflect on my future, which is something I am so uncertain about,” said Paula Gutierrez ‘17, trip participant. “It made me realize that I really want to work in something that helps others and gives back because that is where I find my source of happiness.”



    Another service trip to Haiti was taken for four days to the cities of Hinche and Lamacette. Eight Palmer Trinity students made the trip and brought the schools donations that were much needed due to their remote location. Not only did they bring them material resources, students also took time to connect with the children by playing games and interacting with them. Alexa Tannebaum ‘17, a participant in this service trip stated, “This was the most rewarding experience of my life. I had never before been in a situation with so much caring and love.”



    The last trip that took place was to Patagonia, Argentina, for the students affiliated with the Academy of Agents of Change. Leopoldo Llinas, Director of Environmental Stewardship, revealed that the trip’s purpose for the students was to determine whether their initiatives and business plans would be sustainable so that they could continue working on it. Henry Fernandez, a student in the Academy for the Agents of Change said, “The most memorable moments were summiting the Bailey Willis Mountain and learning the key components to any financial plan.”