Linda Dwyer: Someone to Smile About

Joanna Salvat, Online Editor-in-Chief

Running around the halls of Miami Palmetto Senior High School, sitting in CAP Counselor Harry Nerenberg’s office or bringing in smiles and positivity, you may have seen Linda Dwyer. As a special person in the Palmetto community, Dwyer has officially been hired as an “interventionist” after shadowing Nerenberg this past year. 

Mr. Nerenberg has been very generous to me. He welcomed me into his world and his office with open arms and has been sharing his expertise every minute of each day. It has been a joy to watch him interact with our students,” Dwyer said. “He seems to know every answer put forth to him, but more than that, he genuinely loves each student he meets.”

As an interventionist, Dwyer’s responsibilities heavily revolve  around students’ plans and organization for the future. 

“I assist Mr. Nerenberg in preparing students at Palmetto to be ready for whatever they choose to do after they graduate, whether that is to attend college, join the military, attend vocational school or get a job. Before school went virtual, I was working specifically with freshmen to help them create a high school plan,” Dwyer said.

Despite only recently being an “official” part of the MPSH staff, Dwyer has contributed countless hours of dedication to the Panther community as president of the MPSH Parent-Teacher-Student Association, or PTSA. 

“I have been a proud parent at MPSH for five years and served on the PTSA board for each year. For two years, I was honored to be the PTSA President,” Dwyer said. “Our team at Palmetto works well because so many people care. Our parents, students, staff, community and alumni are all willing to help, but someone needs to step up and lead the charge. I was honored to have the time and energy to help.”

Throughout her time at Palmetto, Dwyer has gained an appreciation for the Panther community that each and every student and staff member has created, including her. 

“Honestly, I have worked many different jobs, but during my short time at Palmetto, I feel like I’m home. It seems to me that each person, from Principal Dobbs and beyond, is there because they truly love kids. I am honored to be a part of the team,” Dwyer said.

Other than her massive contributions to Palmetto, Dwyer delves into the life of service and help because it is her passion. Some tasks she has taken on include being a summer mountaineer guide for teenagers, partaking in the Big Sister organization, being a court liaison for victims of domestic violence and drug abuse, foster parenting and presently, a patient coordinator for an organization called Living Hope Haiti.

“I have always enjoyed helping people,” Dwyer said. “I do it because it truly makes me happy. Looking back on my life, every task I have taken on, paid or unpaid, has been in ‘service.’” 

Living Hope Haiti, a non-profit organization run by chairman of the board at Baptist Hospital Calvin Babcock, helps those in need residing in Haiti. They lead medical mission trips with Baptist Hospital to Haiti, and Baptist Hospital sponsors patients, bringing them back to Miami to perform life-saving surgeries. 

“I serve on these trips with coordination and nonmedical patient care,” Dwyer said. “For me, the trips to Haiti are like going to church. I see steadfast faith in the patients, I watch my peers truly serving and loving and witnessing true love in action fills my soul.”

Dwyer lights up each day at Palmetto with a smile. An essential, influential part of our school, her contribution has made a major difference in so many students’ lives. Linda Dwyer inspires people to lead with kindness and care and to appreciate every small aspect of life worth smiling about. 

“I have laughed with our school during the good times and wept in the bad. I will never forget cleaning up the school’s grounds after Irma or weeping through meetings during the Parkland horror. And although the lows have been hard, the highs have been unforgettable,” Dwyer said. “Our students are the best kids around. From championship games, to award winning shows, from decorating the halls to getting used to walking new ones, our panthers are smart, driven, kind and flexible. They give me hope for the future.”