December 2017


1.  LEAH EGIPCIACO & 2. EILY REINOSO, tenth grade, South Dade Senior High, Washington, D.C. Trip Winners:

Leah’s teacher Ms. Sanz has battled a brain tumor for the last 14 years of her life. Despite this, she has still been an amazing teacher and an amazing person who runs marathons and inspires students with her perseverance and fighting spirit. Her main concern is the fact that she feels she is letting down her students. Their concern is for her to get better and kick cancer’s butt. Recently, Ms. Sanz has been out of school as she hasn’t been feeling well. Some students mentioned that they wanted to send her a little present or a card and Leah mentioned that she wanted to do something for her little boys but that she is a broke teenager. From that comment, the idea came about to raise money for her two sons, ages 3 and 4. Leah led the efforts to get people in her class to donate and bring presents. A student in another period, Eily, took the initiative to talk to the middle school principal where her mother teaches and she attended and arranged for some of their toys from their recent toy drive to be donated to the kids. She also brought wrapping paper and wrapped the gifts. She also created a positivity mason jar for Ms. Sanz where she and her classmates placed messages containing positive thoughts and inspiration. At the time of this nomination, Leah and Eily have collected over $250 and over 20 gifts for her kids. A lot of students deserve the credit for this because even students that don’t know Ms. Sanz have donated, but Leah and Eily deserve the extra recognition because they have spearheaded this effort. They have really shown what the spirit of the holidays is all about. The lessons Ms. Sanz has taught them go beyond the text books and testing. They are shining examples of students doing the right thing.

3.  KHLOE FERRER, first grade, Southside Elementary:

Khloe came to the rescue and intervened when a fellow classmate was being bullied. Recently, the school counselor got a call from a mother complaining about some of her daughter’s classmates that were bullying her. She told the counselor that on one occasion, she sent her daughter to school with a pretty hairdo. While in line returning from the cafeteria, some girls started to destroy her hairdo, throwing to the floor her daughter’s hair accessories. According to her, Khloe was the only one that helped her that moment by taking the hair accessories from the floor, returning them to her daughter, and asking the other girls to stop what they were doing. Khloe is her daughter’s only friend and that, because of her, things are much better for her daughter in school. Since Khloe is making a positive difference in the life of her classmate and friend, she is truly doing the right thing!

4.  ANA HERNANDEZ, fifth grade, Claude Pepper Elementary:

Ana stood up for a friend when she was being bullied about her allergies. During lunchtime, some students were offering the student food items that they knew she was allergic to. Ana pulled her friend away from the situation asking her to sit with her instead. Ana provided comfort and compassion when others were being mean and hurtful. Ana showed great leadership skills and doesn’t care how others view her decisions, especially if she know they are in the best interests of others including herself. Ana is also a member of the Safety Patrol and goes above and beyond to help anyone in need, from the youngest Pre-K students to teachers and staff members. She takes charge of any situation and tries to find a solution. It did not go unnoticed that Ana came to the aid of another student who was being teased about her allergies. This is a serious matter that is not often addressed in schools yet Ana knew she should react.

5.  DANIELA PAZ, seventh grade, Aventura Waterways K-8:

Daniela was extremely kind and helpful when another student fell down some stairs at school. She prevented him from hitting his head and waited for a teacher to arrive and call for help. Daniela deserves an honor for doing the right thing and helping a fellow student avoid serious injury. Daniela also serves as an office aid at her school and she is always willing to help.

6.  DAVID SANDS, fourth grade, Goulds Elementary:

During dismissal David saw a student who was in the Aftercare Program hanging by his left foot from the jungle gym. David was waiting in line to walk to the bus area yet got out of line to help the student in spite of the fact that he might miss his bus. David held the student up until a faculty member arrived to assist. If it had not been for David’s quick response in helping the student, the student would have broken his foot.

7.  JOVANY SOZA MONTANEZ, third grade, Gratigny Elementary:

Jovany is being honored for his bravery and honesty. He turned in a plastic toy gun that was bought to school by another student. Jovanny was concerned, told his teacher, and the toy gun was turned over to the assistant principal. Often times, students do not realize the potential danger of bringing a toy of this nature to school. Jovany is to be commended for being a good citizen.

8.  RODRICK STANLEY, kindergarten, Miami Community Charter School:

Rodrick’s teacher had begun to feel dizzy and hyperventilate during class. This was because her sugar level was very low. She couldn’t speak and was only able to point to what she needed. Rodrick, who sits in the front of the class, was the first to notice that she was not feeling well. He asked what was wrong and when the teacher whispered “help me,” Rodrick directed a classmate to tell the teacher next door. He began to show her different food items in her lunchbox to see what she needed and, as help arrived, he was taking out some candy and giving it to his teacher. When the other teacher arrived, she gave Roderick’s teacher yogurt from her lunchbox and Rodrick, without being asked, went and got a spoon for his teacher to eat it. Once his teacher ate the yogurt, was feeling better and was able to speak, she said that Rodrick had saved her. We are so proud of Rodrick for being so brave and calm in a moment like that. Thanks to his quick thinking, and noticing that his teacher was shaking and that needed help, she was able to get help. Rodrick deserves recognition because, at just five years of age, he showed so much courage and leadership that serve as an example for his classmates and adults alike.

9.  ISAAC VILLARREAL, second grade, Colonial Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:

Before Hurricane Irma arrived, Isaac worried about a homeless man that he would see by a Target store. Isaac wondered where the man would go to be safe. After Hurricane Irma, Isaac did not see this man again and was very concerned. Isaac’s family went to a downtown Miami shelter to see if the man was there. He couldn’t find the man but he did see countless others in need. So this past Thanksgiving and Christmas, Isaac “did the right thing” by choosing to help as many people as possible. Isaac was worrying about the homeless that were out in the streets, did not have any family to spend Thanksgiving with, and that they were not going to have food to eat. Isaac helped prepare bags with food, vitamin water, and a signed card. Isaac went the extra mile by giving money from his own piggy bank and put it into envelopes. Isaac’s family went back to the homeless shelter and distributed their bags. At the beginning, Isaac felt sad to see the people, but then Isaac felt happy as the people were saying thank you for thinking of them. As Isaac was leaving, he looked back to see the people eating and his heart was filled with joy that he was able to help people in need. Also, at a church event, Isaac also did the right thing by volunteering to hold a “Free Food Come In” sign for over an hour. Isaac could have been playing with other children, but he wanted to make others happy. Recently Isaac visited the elderly at a nursing home and brought them little gifts, gave them hugs, and danced with them. This was a special experience for Isaac because he noticed that the elderly looked lonely like the homeless people he had met. He also realized that some of the elderly were sick and it made him happy that he was able to help them to smile. Isaac said he would like to visit them every day because it made him feel like he was doing something very good. Academically, Isaac also does the right thing. For the second straight nine-weeks, Isaac has achieved Honor Roll for Academics and Citizenship. Who would have known that Isaac’s humble heart goes so much farther beyond the classroom and ultimately these holidays have much more meaning because of his thoughtfulness.

10.  FELIPE YORY, second grade, Dr. Gilbert Porter Elementary:

Felipe is a great student who does his classwork and homework and takes his studies seriously. He is a kind, considerate, and helpful classmate. He is always willing to share and help the other students in the class. Felipe has a younger sister, Julieta, with Muscular Atrophy Type 1. Julieta is a special child with many health issues and health needs. Felipe takes his role as big brother very seriously. During the hurricane, Julieta needed to be in the hospital because she requires seven machines to keep her alive. Felipe stayed with her at the hospital and made sure she was entertained. Julieta is in a special medical study for medication that requires her to go to Orlando for treatments. Felipe goes with her to these treatments and makes sure to keep her spirits lifted. At school when there are special programs, Felipe always has their mother bring her to class to participate with the other students. He shares his supplies with her and shows her off to his classmates. He also teases her like any big brother would because he sees her as just his little sis and is able to look past her medical issues. He always makes time for her. At home, his mom says he is very helpful, follows directions, and is always finding ways to help around the house especially with his sister including managing her medical machines. Since Felipe knows she likes to play games, he is always conscious of her and tries to accommodate her so they can play together and he loves teaching her colors, shapes, animals, and letters. Despite Julieta getting a lot of attention at home, he never displays jealousy. He is a wonderful son and brother who definitely does the right thing!