January 2018

1. MARCUS BAKER, first grade, Academy for International Education Charter:

Marcus is bright, sweet, and has a kind heart. He loves to help his classmates and in the cafeteria picking up trash after lunch. He even makes sure his classmates are picking up their trash after lunch. Recently, Marcus went home with an empty box to collect money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s fundraiser that his school was participating in. Marcus emptied his piggy bank and put all of his coins and dollar bills inside the box, filling it up. The next day he came to school with a proud smile on his face and turned in his box full of money. Marcus was very happy to be able to help cancer patients with his piggy bank donation. Marcus’ big heart makes him deserving of the Do The Right Thing award.

2. JONATHAN BASULTO, fourth grade, Auburndale Elementary:

Jonathan has come a long way. Not only has he matured and become more empathetic, but he is also finally realizing the difference between a good action and a bad one due to the many diverse activities his school conducts to promote good citizenship. Recently, when entering the boy’s restroom, Jonathan encountered a disastrous mess. Several fifth graders had tilted the garbage can over spilling trash all over the restroom floor. They also stuck wet paper towels on the wall. Jonathan saw what was happening and decided seek out his teacher since he had learned when you “See Something, Say Something!” He also asked for a broom to clean up the mess. Jonathan proceeded to go to the restroom with gloves and a broom, put all the trash back into the garbage can as well as removed the wet paper towels from the walls. After he completed the cleanup, Jonathan personally went to the assistant principal and explained everything that had happened. The school was grateful that he helped identify the four individuals who trashed the restroom. After sharing his story with his class, it has truly encouraged them all to do the right thing as well.

3. ASHLEY BERNAL, seventh grade, Hialeah Middle:

Ashley has dreams of becoming a cardiac surgeon. She works hard and has earned the Principal’s Honor Roll every grading period. Ashley challenges herself with rigorous high school courses while just in middle school. Sadly, at the young age of 9 her world changed. Her mom received a devastating phone call that Ashley’s father was killed in a car accident. Ashley had spent every day with her father so his loss was difficult to handle and comprehend. However, rather than lashing out in anger towards this unexpected, life changing situation, Ashley mourned and then continued her journey as the smart and cheerful young girl her father knew and loved. Ashley is an active member of the Future Business Leaders of America where she competes in a publishing competition which entails creating marketing materials for a business-related company. She is also extremely involved in the school’s band, both the drumline and the marching band where she plays one of the most challenging instruments, the saxophone. Ashley and her mom were awarded “Family of the Year” by Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho for Ashley’s many accomplishments in the face of adversity including perfect attendance, good grades, and attending all school functions. In her free time, Ashley enjoys tutoring her fellow peers before and after school to help them improve their grades. When her 11year-old cousin arrived from Cuba, Ashley set out to make sure that he learned English and felt comfortable attending school as soon as possible. Ashley wrote a Miranda Rights essay that elaborated on its importance as well as the importance of informing students about the Miranda Rights. Ashley’s essay was so impactful and moving that the Hialeah’s Mayor Carlos Hernandez awarded Ashley for her efforts. Ashley does the right thing every day, partly because she wants to honor her father’s memory but mostly because she is an amazing young girl with big hopes and dreams and works hard to attain them, never forgetting to help others along her journey.

4. CAMARRI CALLOWAY, third grade, & 5. CAVONTAE CALLOWAY, second grade, Howard Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winners:

Camarri and Cavontae are students in the Emotional/Behavioral Disability program. Camarri and Cavontae were instrumental in assisting the Miami-Dade Police Department – Palmetto Bay Unit in apprehending a suspect on Friday, January 19th. Both brothers, after having been approached by law enforcement, were able to point the police in the direction in which the subject was potentially hiding which was in a wooded and overgrown area just adjacent to their house. As a result, the police were able to narrow the search grid, concentrate in the immediate area, and ultimately apprehend the subject who was subsequently charged with a crime. Older brother, Camarri,is a conscientious student who is highly motivated to make good grades and to bring home a good report on a daily basis. It comes as no surprise that he would try to do the right thing when faced with an opportunity to keep his neighborhood as well as the community at large safe. Cavontae is also a highly motivated student who constantly seeks opportunities to help others and has said many times in the past that his career goal is to be a police officer. Camarri and Cavontae are excellent role models at such young ages and are to be commended for aiding Palmetto Bay law enforcement in getting a criminal off of our streets!

6. ROCIO GOMEZ, eleventh grade, William H. Turner Tech High:

Few students take the initiative to place themselves in a difficult or uncomfortable situation to support a fellow student. However, Rocio certainly is one of them. Before an argument between two students escalated, Rocio took one student out of the class to calm her down, while the teacher calmed the other. On another occasion, through her calm demeanor and kind words, Rocio supported a student who had just lost a family member. In both situations, Rocio demonstrated a maturity beyond her years with her excellent interpersonal skills. A two-year active member of SHAPE (Students Helping Achieve Philanthropic Excellence), Rocio has volunteered for various community events. Despite spending time to help her peers and the community, she does very well academically. Rocio is an all-around great student and very deserving of this award.

7. TAE MANNING, twelfth grade, Hialeah-Miami Lakes High:

Tae witnessed another student’s wallet being ravaged and heard the perpetrators saying how they had stolen it. When the student’s license was left behind, Tae went to the office, retrieved the student’s schedule and brought her her license. He did the right thing by reuniting the student with her stolen belongings.

8. JENESA PEREZ, seventh grade, and 9. ERNESTO SILVA, seventh grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle, Washington, D.C. Trip Winners:

Jenesa and Ernesto reported that they overheard a fellow student in the cafeteria asking several other students whether he should cut his throat or wrist.The kids he asked mostly ignored this young man’s questions and some even laughed. Jenesa explained that he is usually alone in PE and seems sad and without friends. She explained that she knew she needed to tell someone because she had an experience with a friend who had tried to commit suicide and didn’t want any harm to come to this young man or his family. Ernesto also knew he needed to tell because he felt the student was not joking around like kids tend to do. Appropriate interventions were immediately put in place for this student’s well-being and safety. Because of these two brave, persistent students, this troubled young man was able to receive the appropriate assistance he needed. Feeling lonely and not knowing how to make friends is a difficult place to be. The student divulged that he had asked that question to over 15 different students. That is 15 students that ignored him, laughed, or simply got scared but at the end did nothing about it. Jenesa and Ernesto both knew they had to do the right thing and report it. Jenesa is a student that struggled academically and behaviorally last year. This year she is slowly making progress in academics and behaviorally as well. Jenesa hasn’t had an easy life. Both of her parents have been in and out of her life for personal reasons and she is being raised by her grandmother. Jenesa goes to church and participates in a youth group that does community service projects throughout the year. For the past two years, she has played on the school’s flag football and soccer teams. Jenesa feels that her life experiences have made her a stronger person and she is trying to focus on making things right for herself. Ernesto is a student who loves to play sports. A few years ago, his parents divorced which left a big void in his life as he lost contact with his father. Ernesto feels that because of his home situation, he has learned to be independent and deal with things on his own as to not worry his mom. The beautiful thing about this nomination is that these two students are the kind that may or may not get into trouble and are considered too cool to join clubs or certain other activities. But when it came down to stepping up to save a life, they both made the right choice together. Furthermore, Jenesa has made it a point to reach out to this young man and make friends with him in one of her classes. Recently the school had a suicide awareness prevention day and Jenesa and & Ernesto joined by wearing their turquoise ribbons. For standing up when others failed to and for being persistent in demanding help, even at the risk of getting in trouble for not being in class, both Jenesa and Ernesto truly did the right thing.

10. HECTOR RIOS-CASTELLON, fourth grade, Auburndale Elementary:

Hector’s school has a high percentage of low income Exceptional Student Education students. The City of Miami conducted a toy drive at Hector’s school and every student received a free toy. Hector was one of the lucky individuals who received a remote control monster truck. His former classmate (who falls in the lowest percentage of poverty at the school), received a Spider Man action figure. The classmate kept looking at Hector’s toy and when Hector realized this, he headed right over to sit next to him. Hector then told his classmate that he had many other trucks just like the one he had just received and that he wanted him to have it instead. His classmate jumped up and hugged Hector, and as he excitedly opened his new remote control truck, Hector sat in his seat smiling. Hector’s teacher went over and told him she was very proud of his kindness and generous heart. Hector responded that because he had so many trucks and his classmate had none, that it was the right thing to do. Hector’s act of kindness makes him worthy of recognition.