Mount Saint Michael Academy senior Pedro Alejandro Jerez Jr, 18, will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa for charity this June with Team Interactive. Pedro will fulfill a long-held ambition to climb Kilamanjaro and with it, to accomplish a sense of personal achievement. Says Pedro, “I ran the ING NYC Marathon with Team Interactive this past November. I now hold the bragging right of being the 2nd youngest person to complete this event in history! This makes me realize that I can make my dreams a reality!”
Pedro is currently working towards a career as a filmmaker, for, as Pedro says, “Dreaming is exactly what filmmaking is.”
Pedro will be climbing to raise money for CampInteractive (CI) and for the Mount. CI is an NYC-based nonprofit that aims to bridge the technology gap by providing innovative technology education and empowering outdoor leadership experiences to inner-city youth. This unique combination encourages the development of self-esteem, cultivates leadership abilities, and teaches mediums for self-expression. This rigorous program inspires students to look at themselves, and the world around them, as a limitless pool of possibility.
At CI, students are transitioned from consumers of media to creative and critically thinking producers. Through learning photography, video editing, website building, and blogging, students are able to cultivate a voice that will be heard and seen through various channels. These skills are then used to document their personal journey in exciting outdoor adventures such as: surfing, hiking, rock climbing, snowboarding, sailing, camping, and more.
Team Interactive is a group of dedicated volunteers and fundraisers consisting of executives, digital influences and entrepreneurs that participate in various athletic events such as: NYC Marathon, NYC Half Marathon, NYC Triathlon, and the Mt. Kilimanjaro Trek. The team trains together and works hard to raise money for CI. Pedro is by far the youngest member of the team, although he says age isn’t a factor with this incredible group.
Pedro says that “When urban teenagers step back into nature and forward into technology they gain invaluable skills, heighten their academic standing, and begin to realize more of life's possibilities. I want to climb with Team Interactive to raise money both for this charity and for the Mount scholarship as a way of giving back.
My goal is to raise at least $7,500 dollars for CampInteractive and $7500 for the Mount to provide a student with a scholarship as I had”.
Mt Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest peak, and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, `Kili' as it's affectionately known is in fact a long extinct volcano with its three cones rising high out of the African plains. Two of the peaks are dormant but a third, Kibo, shows signs of activity and is thought to still be live. About 10 people die every year in there pursuit to reach the summit. One of the features of Mt.Kilimanjaro that makes it so special is the different zones one passes through on an ascent. Technically the volcano is an Afromontane sky island, meaning unique flora and fauna exist there as a result of its isolation and altitude. It's a biodiversity hotspot and the forests are full of birds and animals.
Pedro says, “I will pass through eerie cloud forests on the lower slopes before traversing moorland and finally arriving at the snowy and rocky summit. Finally Attempting on the summit which usually set off during the night so that trekkers can reach the peak as the sun rises and have time to get back down again”.