January 2020

1. AURIANA ARCINIEGA, first grade, Air Base K-8:

Auriana participates in an event sponsored by the Redland Christian Migrant Association Center, an organization that currently operates 70 centers throughout the state, providing housing, child daycare, education, and other necessary services for low income families, often migrants. Auriana’s grandmother wanted to teach her that is better to give and receive, and that there are families less fortunate. Auriana decided to adopt a family by buying presents appropriate for the age and gender of the children. It was a great way to instill this principle to Auriana. She was part of the celebration at the center, personally gave her adopted family the gifts, and shared the afternoon with the family. This action went beyond buying gifts and having them simply delivered. Auriana has a truly caring heart!

2. GEORGETTE CARBALLEDA, twelfth grade, Hialeah Gardens Senior High:

Georgette excels academically and is active in extracurricular activities. Georgette has been an officer and actively involved with Future Farmers of America. She is earning her Veterinary Assisting Certificate this year and has competed with her school’s animals at various state fairs. Despite her nerves, she earned grand champion. A few days ago, four cows got loose at the middle school during the school day. Georgette was summoned to the middle school to catch the cows. It was raining, she was able to get another student to go and help her and along with the P.E. coach caught the four cows and put them away, saving the day and preventing a potential serious problem. Georgette is a black belt in Taekwondo and she volunteers after her training at the Dojo to help other students. She also practices Mixed Martial Arts at a competitive level. However, Georgette struggles with self-esteem. She has come a long way over the years and has not let her own self-deprecating thoughts stop her from trying things and helping others. Georgette is making a difference every single day; she works hard at school and she makes sure to keep her peers going as well. She has a sweet, kind demeanor and she is brave. Georgette does the right thing daily; it’s in her nature.

3. DAMIAN COLLIE, fifth grade, Henry S. West Laboratory School, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:

Damian attended a birthday party for a relative recently where most of the festivities were centered around a pool area. The adults were vigilant throughout the day as kids of all ages were in and out of the pool. Eventually, later in the afternoon, everyone got out of the pool, changed, and got focused on other things at the party. At one point, a young cousin of Damian’s fell into the pool. Before any of the adults could react, Damian, who happened to be standing at the edge of the pool, jumped in fully clothed, and grabbed his cousin, keeping the child’s head above the water until he could be pulled out of the pool. The entire incident lasted less than 10 seconds, but everyone was struck by how Damian did not hesitate to, literally, jump in to save his cousin’s life. Fortunately, neither Damian nor his cousin suffered any injuries and he is a true hero!

4. STEFANO FERRO, Kindergarten, Pinecrest Academy South Charter:

Stefano is beyond amazing! Not only does he excel academically, he is also, honest, kind, and extremely compassionate, with others. Several months ago, his father suffered a stroke, and also needed a heart procedure. Stefano helped his Dad with physical therapy exercises. Stefano has proven that he can overcome adversity and come through when help is needed.

5. JACOB FIGUEROA, eighth grade, Hammocks Middle:

Jacob was told by a friend, that another boy had a BB Gun in his book bag. The other boys had written a threat on Instagram. Jacob informed the teacher, leading to an investigation by the administration and the police. They were able to find and confiscate the BB Gun. Jacob did the right thing in reporting a safety issue to avoid any injuries.

6. CHRISTOPHER MCNAIR, third grade, Colonial Drive Elementary:

Christopher spent his Christmas day helping needy persons with food and water instead of playing with new Christmas toys. He also helps in his neighborhood and home with various chores. However, Christopher has endured much this past year. Before becoming officially adopted by his grandparents, Christopher had to deal serious negative issues at home and school. Christopher acted out and had poor academic results. This year, Christopher has put extreme effort into his educational studies. Recently, he split up two students who were about to fight. Earlier this year, Christopher became captain of his football team. During one of his games, a teammate was injured and had to go to the hospital. While waiting for the ambulance, Christopher never left his teammate’s side and wanted to leave the game and go directly to the hospital with him. Christopher visited him at the hospital bringing him books that they read together and ensured him everything was going to be okay. This is a testimony to a wonderful nine-year-old boy who has picked himself up and others by “doing the right things!”

7. RENE PUENTES, tenth grade, Hialeah Gardens High School:

As a member of the Law Enforcement Police Academy, Rene does the right thing every day. He participates in all of the school activities representing the program in his uniform, looking sharp and professional. Rene is an excellent student who also participates in the Law Academy and JROTC where he helps to plan activities that honor veterans and officers in the community. The Law Academy has been planning on creating a court room in the classroom. Rene paved the way in gathering a team of students to remove stored items, desks, and closets and repaired and painted the room. He dedicated time during his lunch time and after school to make sure that the room was ready for the new courtroom furniture. Moreover, Rene keeps his eyes and ears on the goings on around his school. He has been helpful in identifying students through social media that have been in fights. Rene has also helped to prevent a fight by reporting to the school resource officer that he overheard some students talking about a planned fight. Thanks to Rene’s report, the fight was prevented. Rene is always helping others and does so quietly and graciously.

8. JUAN TORRES, eleventh grade, School for Advanced Studies West Campus:

Since the ninth grade, Juan has been spending time with kids who have Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy because he enjoys helping them learn new things. His first experience was with a boy with Downs. He tried teaching him people’s names, how to say hello, numbers 1-10 and simply spending time with him so he wouldn’t feel lonely. Juan then started helping the children with Cerebral Palsy by carrying them when they needed to be changed and also helping the kids learn on their tablets with eye sensors to see if they could recognize commands and talk with others. Juan enjoyed these experiences so much that he then volunteered with Special Olympics where he worked with the special needs kids in athletic competitions. Later Juan got involved in Student Emerging Leadership Program with other teens and they created a campaign called disABILITIES designed to spread awareness that special needs children should not be just defined by their disabilities. Juan is making a difference in our community.

9. DENIS URBINA, third grade, Riverside Elementary:

Denis is a well behaved and very helpful student in charge of assisting in the cafeteria and around school grounds. Recently, he noticed a girl brought a small blade which was something that could’ve been very dangerous. He brought it to the attention of the appropriate school personnel to save her and others from harm. We’re very proud to have him represent Do The Right Thing.

10. LARRY WILLIAMS, sixth grade, The SEED School of Miami, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:

Recently, police officers were contacted by Larry in reference to a three-year-old child found in the middle of the street unattended. It turns out no one was home. Officers responded and checked the child to confirm everything was okay. They commended Larry for intervening in the situation which could have had dire consequences considering the child had almost gotten hit by a car. Larry had grabbed her hand and pulled her to the sidewalk. Larry also said that she was crying and he gave her his phone to play on. Larry went on further to say he knocked on the door several times and no one answered. If it wasn’t for this brave 13 year-old who saved this little girl, this story could have ended in a tragedy.