January 2019

1. EMILY CELESTRIN, eighth grade, & 2.  DYLAN GARCIA, seventh grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle, Washington, D.C. Trip Winners:

One night, Dylan began to get text messages from Emily who was worried for another friend who had texted her that he wanted to die due to a recent break-up. Dylan immediately asked Emily to send him screenshots of the conversation while Emily continued to text and console the other student. Dylan then sought help from the counselor, who happens to be his mother, and shared the alarming news. After overcoming several hurdles in reaching the young man’s parents, an intervention finally happened at midnight and a tragedy was averted thanks to Dylan and Emily’s care and concern. Both Emily and Dylan are members of the Castaway Club and hold the position of Vice President in the DFYIT Club. This school year they founded the 1-2-1 Peer Counselors Club whose members are trained to counsel peers in need. Both have participated in countless walks such as Live Like Bella, Breanna Vergara 5K, Autism Walk, Homeless Awareness Brigade, and the Cystic Fibrosis Walk. Emily is on the Principal’s Honor Roll and is involved in many extracurricular activities which include Colorguard, Volleyball, Bowling, Student Council, Teacher assistant, and Yearbook. Dylan is on the Superior Honor Roll and is involved in numerous activities including Volleyball, Bowling, Basketball, Tennis, Drumline, Teacher assistant, and Yearbook. Last school year he established The Jaguar Pantry, where cereal boxes and snack bars are collected and distributed, after learning some of his friends were hungry and in need. During Christmas, Dylan volunteered at the Village South by bringing toys and playing with the children living there. Most recently, Dylan intervened in a situation which was quickly escalating into a fight and got the young ladies to stop and work things out. On another occasion, he noticed some very deep cuts on a friend’s arm. Dylan immediately reported this situation to get help for his friend. Both Emily and Dylan have made a huge impact on their school, their community, and those around them. They are truly making a difference in this world and are doing the right thing each and every day.

3. NOELIA DELEON, sixth grade and 4. LEYANI GARCIA, sixth grade, Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8:

Noelia and Leyani went to see the counselor one morning because they were very worried about a fellow student. The girls expressed how concerned they were about a classmate who was hurting herself after having seen marks on her arm. When they asked her what happened, she said she cut herself because she is sad and hates her life. Noelia and Leyani tried to tell her how great she is and it wasn’t good to cut herself. She then informed them that she also burns her stomach. Once they realized the type of help she needed was beyond what they could or should handle, Noelia and Leyani found a trusted adult. Due to the girls’ courageous intervention, a life was potentially saved. Noelia and Leyani are both wonderful students who truly did the right thing.

5. LUIS DIAZ-LORA, fifth grade, Frederick Douglass Elementary:

Luis saw a younger student being bullied by an older student and tried to stop it. When the argument turned physical, Luis attempted to break up the fight and showed a great amount of self- control when he was also hit. Luis is being honored for standing up for what is right and doing the right thing.

6. RONALD GONZALEZ, fifth grade, Colonial Drive Elementary:

Ronald is an excellent role model and high achiever who is always respectful of others. Recently, Ronald stood up for a student who was being bullied on the playground by another student who is much larger than Ronald. Ronald confronted the bully and urged him to leave the other student alone. The bully pushed Ronald down and Ronald hit his head causing it to bleed. Ronald had to be taken to emergency care and has since recovered. He chose to be a true friend when it mattered. Ronald is also always willing to volunteer to help his peers during class time. Ronald did the right thing when others might not have had the courage to do so.

7. KEVIN LEYVA, third grade, Meadowlane Elementary:

Kevin is truly an old soul who is compassionate, focused, selfless, and mature. On many occasions he has chosen to be the bigger person and allow others to have their way. Kevin was recently involved in a gift exchange in his homeroom. He noticed another student was sad because she had not received a gift. Kevin went to her and gave her his gift because he says he has other toys and the girl does not. In addition, in the cafeteria Kevin can be seen offering his snacks to those students that hadn’t eaten or simply because he knows they like that certain snack. Kevin is very loyal and a true friend who is mature beyond his years. He never “tells” on anyone. Instead, he goes to them and advises them to be careful so they don’t get punished. Kevin struggles with a learning disability and is the ESE program at his school. Although he struggles academically, he puts forth maximum effort in his school work. Kevin has amazing character and is a true role model who was proudly nominated for the Do The Right Thing award.

8. MILAGROS ORTOLA, twelfth grade, MAST Academy:

Milagros is an extremely mature, responsible, and intelligent young lady. She lost her mother two years ago to cancer, and since then has taken on the responsibility of raising her younger siblings. Milagros is always punctual and very self-directed. She is a top student academically, is always willing to lend a helping hand, and participates and volunteers countless hours in her community. Milagros is extremely worthy of this award!

9. JIMMY WRIGHT, sixth grade, Kinloch Park Middle:

Jimmy did the right thing when he reported a life threatening incident. While in the restroom, Jimmy saw students opening a book bag and showing off an item inside which happened to be a pellet gun. As soon as he was able, Jimmy reported the incident to the teacher and the administration took control of the situation. Because of Jimmy’s heroic actions, no one was injured and the students responsible were apprehended.

10. ETHAN ZAGER, fifth grade, Colonial Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:

Through the years, Ethan has maintained consistent high academic, citizenship, and attendance honors. Since second grade, Ethan has volunteered to stay two hours after school on numerous occasions to produce quality artwork and essays for his school’s participation in various endeavors. Ethan also volunteers at the Coral Reef Nursing Center where he helps the elderly residents and assists them with writing or playing games. Ethan wants to spend time with the patients there who no one visits and he is happy because they call him their adopted grandchild. Ethan also volunteers at the Miami Coalition where he spreads awareness about animal adoption and is an alter server at his church. He donates his toys and stuffed animals to an orphanage sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Hospital. At home, Ethan cleans his grandmother’s room and helps take care of her. Through Ethan’s experiences at his school’s cooking class, he is able to cook meals at home. Also, Ethan has participated in the Garden Club and helped his mom start a tomato garden. Whether it is helping children afterschool at the YMCA or volunteering to help in the community, Ethan has excelled and expanded his warm heart to anyone in need.