February 2018


1.  ISABELLA AMADOR, seventh grade, Pinecrest Cove Academy:

Isabella went to the counselor’s office and reported that one of her close friends had hinted to her that she did not want to live anymore and was in distress. She had observed her friend seemed extremely sad and had mentioned something worrisome. When her friend stated that she had suicidal thoughts, Isabella told her to seek the counselor immediately. However, Isabella noticed that her friend was not listening, and felt that she wouldn’t report to the office. Isabella took it upon herself to inform her friend that she would make the report. Her friend got upset at her, but that did not deter Isabella from making the report. She said that she rather have her friend be upset if it meant ensuring her safety. Thanks to Isabella’s intervention, the student’s parents were informed and she had to be taken under the Baker Act. Isabella chose to do the right thing and seek help even when it meant upsetting a friend. For this reason she is worthy of recognition.

2.  NATHAN ANGULO, fifth grade, Ethel Koger Beckham Elementary:

Nathan is a fifth grade student that consistently does the right thing. Most impressively, he displays the qualities of kindness and empathy. Nathan takes it upon himself to befriend, encourage, and guide a student in his class with special needs. Regardless of the day-to-day pressure Nathan faces as a high achieving Principal’s Honor Roll student, his compassionate personality and actions help his classmate feel accepted no matter what the circumstances. For example, when the class participates in recess, Nathan takes the time to guide this student to interact with other classmates by encouraging him to play soccer or other team sports. He also makes sure to save a seat for him at the lunch table every day, so that this student never sits alone. Most recently, in preparation for the school’s Annual Field Day, Nathan had many offers to partner with others, however, he specifically chose to partner up with this student to ensure he would participate. During social situations where this special needs student becomes frustrated, Nathan drops whatever he is doing to assist in calming him down. Even though Nathan is only 10 years old, he is mature enough to recognize this student’s difficulties and unselfishly tries to make a difference. With so many stories about bullying these days, Nathan’s actions set the example of what kindness truly is.

3.  SYMPHONY BECKFORD, fifth grade, Colonial Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:

Symphony is a super student who is always there to lend a hand. Her teacher had not been feeling well so she helped carry her bags and books to the classroom in the morning and also helped place posters for Black History Month around the classroom. Symphony is a fantastic School Safety Patrol member who is always at her post by the Main Office and is always available to assist those in need. She helped her music teacher bring instruments from the Music Room to the cafeteria. Symphony sang the National Anthem solo at the D.A.R.E. ceremony. She also won an award for her essay on the consequences of drug abuse. Symphony stepped up when other patrols would not, and stood in for another patrol member. While on patrol, she noticed many leaves in the hallway that could become a hazard, so she asked for a broom and swept the hall. Symphony arrives at school extra early to water and plant seeds in the school’s garden. Last month, Symphony noticed a small new girl who was crying because it was her first day. She took the girl to the cafeteria, got her meal, and sat with her until she was alright. Symphony was commended by her teacher for giving another child money for lunch. At after school care, she noticed students teasing a boy who stutters and she notified the supervisor. She now makes sure to include him in their activities. At home, Symphony helps her little sister with homework and helps clean the house. While walking to the park, she saw a baby bird on the ground. Along with her friend, they took the bird to the friend’s grandmother who is a veterinarian. Over Christmas recess, Symphony visited her mother in Jacksonville where they went to a homeless shelter to pass out food. Recently she attended a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade where she helped her grandmother hold a sign and gave away candy. Symphony is being honored for always doing the right thing.

4.  NICOLE CALDERA, twelfth grade, G. Holmes Braddock Senior High:

Nicole is the senior class president and is very active within her school. She is a student whose peers look up to her for guidance. She looks after her friends to make sure they are on track and safe. On February 12th, she was advised of a friend who had suicidal ideation and had posted various pictures and video on social media. Nicole immediately found a trusted adult and explained the situation. The student was reached out to and the proper assistance was provided. Oftentimes, adolescents are afraid to speak up in fear of the unknown. For speaking up and helping to save a life, Nicole deserves to be recognized.

5.  JONATHAN DOMINGUEZ, fifth grade, Eneida Hartner Elementary:

Jonathan is being honored for his dedication to his work, attendance at school, and commitment to doing the right thing. He is a wonderful role model for younger students and always strives for greatness when it comes to his classwork. He makes A’s and B’s and always completes his homework. He is in school every day and makes sure the school days are productive. Jonathan’s sister was in gang, and unfortunately, a few months ago was killed in a drive by shooting. Jonathan does not want to take that route in his life and is doing everything to make sure that he becomes a successful adult that will be able to contribute to society. For these reasons Jonathan deserves the Do The Right Thing Award.

6.  TRISTAN FAEDO, sixth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:

Tristan is an extraordinary, well-rounded, humble, and kind-hearted young man. He has always exhibited amazing qualities and excelled in school academics by maintaining straight A1A’s since 2nd grade in spite of all that he has already endured in his young life. Tristan was born with a club and dropped foot, and a leg-length discrepancy. At a very early, age this young man was already faced with several challenges. He has been through a total of six surgeries, the first at the tender age of one, and the last when he was 11. Tristan has one more surgery to go in order to completely overcome the traces that such physical atrophies may display. When he was a month and a half, Tristan had to be urgently admitted to the hospital where he remained for three weeks as he battled bacterial meningitis. Throughout elementary, Tristan was involved in the following: captain of Running Team and Safety Patrol and member of a soccer traveling team and Recycle Rangers Clu. He also served as Master of Ceremony for his graduation. Now in middle school, Tristan is currently an active member of the Drug-Free Youth in Town (DFYIT) Club; the Castaway Club; Cross Country team; Track & Field team; and the HGMS Swimming Team. He has also participated in Triathlons, which demonstrates his level of stamina. Tristan has had the honor of being the recipient of the American Legion Award, and was recognized by the Miami Dolphins as Student of the Week. He is also an active volunteer with the Breanna Vergara Foundation which strives to bring awareness of sudden cardiac arrest in children. His volunteer activities include Live Like Bella, Homeless Awareness, and Suicide Prevention to name a few. Starting middle school never posed a challenge for him. He has embraced and made it his personal goal to help one of his classmates with autism. Since meeting the boy, their teacher noticed how he was drawn to him and went above and beyond to meet the needs of his friend. His humble actions did not go unnoticed, and they are now teammates on the Swim Team. Tristan has kept him on task and everyone, including the boy’s parents, is excited to see all that their son was able to accomplish with Tristan’s help and careful guidance. Tristan made it a point to ensure his friend would be safe at all times while they were practicing swimming in the pool and when they were not swimming Tristan keeps a close eye out. For his kind heart and compassion and for exhibiting the qualities of a true leader, Tristan will accomplish great things in the future and will always do the right thing!

7.  KEVIN JIMENEZ, twelfth grade, South Dade Senior High:

Kevin is part of the Student Tech Support program at his school. While fixing a computer in a classroom he overheard some students talking about guns and a possible violent act. Instead of alarming anyone, he wrote a note and quietly passed it to the teacher and left the room without even putting his name on the note. The teacher passed the note on to the administration who investigated the incident. Kevin did the right thing by passing on information without even wanting any recognition for doing so.

8.  MIKE PATINO, eighth grade, Florida Christian School:

Mike has a heart to serve others in the community. He has served alongside his church, Christ Journey, painting and restoring schools all over Miami in underprivileged communities. He is involved in the school’s choir program and plans on joining his church choir. One of Mike’s favorite subjects in school is science and he is a black belt in Taekwondo. When interviewing Mike for the Do the Right Thing Award, his tender heart was evident as he expressed how much he loves his family especially his 11year-old sister Alyssa who has Down Syndrome. When Mike is at home, he helps his mom take care of his sister’s needs. One of Mike’s goals for the future is to bring more awareness to others when it comes to children with Down Syndrome. Mike would like for parents who are faced with knowing they are going to have a Down syndrome child, to know that these children are loving and bring so much love into a family. Mike believes “God has a plan for their future”. He was so excited when he became aware that the Gerber Baby Food Company recently chose a Down Syndrome child to be the new face of the Gerber Baby Food products. One of Mike’s favorite things to do is to write poetry. He entered a poem that he wrote about his sister Alyssa into The Florida Association of Colleges and Christian Schools competition. Mike is doing the right thing and honoring his sister by spreading awareness of Down Syndrome in children.

9.  MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, eighth grade, & 10. MELANIE SANCHEZ, eighth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle:

Michelle and Melanie were informed that one of their friend’s inappropriate picture had gone viral within their school. Many knew, shared, posted, and made fun of this young lady for weeks. Once Michelle and Melanie found out, they immediately approached their friend and confided in her that this needed to stop and that they were going to tell an adult. Through the entire process, the girls remained calm and supportive of their friend. They believe that anyone can make a mistake but it is not okay for her to be bothered, made fun of, or disrespected. Because of these two girls, this situation was shut down and all parties involved were dealt with. Their friend is grateful and relieved that they are still by her side supporting her. During another incident, Michelle and Melanie, once again, came to the aid of a student who had taken pills. The student was found shaking and crying uncontrollably with Michelle and Melanie comforting her. The girls explained that the young lady had taken many pills and the effects were kicking in. Michelle and Melanie assisted with providing details that the young lady had shared. Both were visibly shaken but kept it together for their friend. The administration arrived along with rescue and the necessary interventions were put in place. Michelle and Melanie’s quick thinking saved their friends life. The girls were very upset by the condition their friend was in but were relieved she was able to get help. Both girls have only been in the U.S. for about 6 months. During Homeless Awareness Week, they volunteered to do a skit in Spanish to raise awareness of homelessness. Michelle came from Argentina with her father and older brother. Adjusting to life without her mother has been very difficult. Although she speaks to her daily there is no replacing that human touch, love, and support a young lady needs from her mother. Michelle explains that her first few days and even weeks at school were terrifying. Being in a new country and a huge new school and knowing little English was hard but she has made friends. Financially it has been a struggle as he dad tries make ends meet. Michelle doesn’t complain about anything and is trying her best at school and at home to make their transition here easier. Michelle is currently part of a field jockey team and in the future, would like to either be a movie producer or a politician. Melanie was born in Cuba then moved to Spain where she lived most her life with her mother until needing to leave abruptly back to Cuba before finally coming to the US. She has had to endure some difficult times since an early age. When her mother decided to move to Spain without her for a year, Melanie felt abandoned and betrayed not understanding that her mom had done this to get a stable job to bring her over. When it came time for Melanie to move to Spain she felt happy but had her doubts about mom leaving again. Her years in Spain were not ideal. Unfortunately, they experienced a domestic violence situation so Melanie was sent back to Cuba with her father. A few months later, Melanie arrived in the U.S. with her m to start their new lives together. Melanie had many concerns about starting school as she had recently taken on a new religion and was afraid of being made fun of or ridiculed by others. Her first few days and weeks were also difficult at school but slowly and surely, she made friends and is also thriving. Melanie is part of the schools cheerleading team and would like to be a psychologist in the future. She explains that going through therapy in Spain made her realize that she one day would like to help others the way she was helped. Melanie also shared that her Mother is her idol and best friend. Both girls have now joined the Peer Counselor Club and will be making presentations in the ESOL classrooms on an array of topics, See Something, Say Something being the first. Congratulations Michelle and Melanie!