March 2019


1. KELLY ARMENTEROS, seventh grade, Everglades K-8 Center, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:

Last month, Kelly’s friends were horse playing around and one of the students involved lost her footing and hit her head on the wall. Immediately, the student fell to the ground. Kelly reacted and was able to catch her before she hit her head a second time on the ground. Kelly ensured that her friend was as comfortable as possible and laid her on her back. The student was unconscious and unresponsive. Kelly realized that this was serious and that she needed immediate help. She quickly assessed the situation and took over. Kelly asked nearby students to go and get help while she stayed with her friend supporting her head on the floor until school staff and support personnel arrived. Kelly is a 12 year- old who handled this serious situation in a mature manner. The next day when the administration thanked her, she replied that that is what friends do for each other.

2.  BENJAMIN BAKER, eighth grade, Frank C. Martin K-8:

Benjamin always has a good attitude towards life and others, even when it has been challenging. Recently, a friend texted Benjamin and told him that she had harmed herself by cutting her arm multiple times with a blade. The very next morning before school started, Benjamin sought help and showed the counselor the messages. He was worried about his friend and wanted to make sure she got help. It was observed that in Benjamin’s text messages to his friend, he was very positive and supportive of her reminding her that she was fabulous and cared for. The following day, Benjamin sought out the counselor to make sure that his friend was okay and that she was getting taken care of. Benjamin showed a true caring nature and is being commended for his willingness to speak up for his friend when she could not.

3.  NATALIA BAUSA, sixth grade, & 4.  SARAH ESPINOSA, sixth grade, Cutler Bay Middle:

Natalia and Sarah heard of a violent threat to the school. They went to the principal after confirming the details. The principal addressed the situation and the incident was averted. No harm came to anyone. The principal told both girls that they had done the right thing.

5.  MELISSA CRUZ, eleventh grade, School for Advanced Studies Wolfson:

Melissa is a top student who initiated a project to help autistic children by teaching them how to draw. She has obtained the necessary supplies and has started working with two autistic girls at the Crystal Academy in Coral Gables where someone in Melissa’s immediate family attended a few years ago. As time goes on, Melissa wants to involve more autistic children in her project. She believes that if the other children see these two girls having fun drawing, that they will want to join in too. Melissa is starting out by introducing the two girls to their own personal sketchbooks. Melissa loves art and knows that these autistic children will love it too once they learn the basics. One of her long term goals is to enlist the help of the autistic children at the school to paint a mural on the wall of Crystal Academy.

6.  SOFIA DJURINSKY, twelfth grade, Brucie Ball Educational Center:

In November 2016, a brain tumor was detected in Sofia’s right temporal lobe. Sofia had surgery to remove the tumor in March 2017.  More than 1 ½ years later, in October 2018, Sofia suffered a hemorrhagic stroke which resulted in brain injury and weakness on the left upper and lower extremities of her body. After two months in the hospital, Sofia started working hard with rehabilitation therapies.  During this time, she also started to receive schooling through Brucie Ball Educational Center Hospital Homebound Program making remarkable progress in recovering her movements and cognitive abilities. Sofia is now a senior who has accomplished much in her high school years.  At her high school, she is in the International Baccalaureate French Academy, has attained a Weighted GPA of 5.319 and is on the Principal’s Honor Roll all four years. A top student she has received numerous awards and honors including: The Posse Scholarship Finalist (2018) and the Brown University Book Award (2018). For four years, Sofia volunteered at Shake-A-Leg Miami where she mentored kids and adults with different capabilities in water-sports activities, helping them overcome physical and psychological barriers. Sofia was also a junior counselor with the Diller Teen Fellows Cohort 5, a leadership program which invites a select group of Jewish teens from six continents in 32 communities to step up, lead their communities, and repair the world. Sofia overcame many health obstacles and continues to strive for academic excellence.  Sofia is looking forward to continuing her studies upon graduating from high school.

7.  LUNA GARCIA, sixth grade, Frank C. Martin K-8 Center:

Luna is a caring and thoughtful young lady. She is always on the lookout for her friends and their safety. She came to see her counselor because she was concerned about a post a friend had posted on social media about being ugly and thinking about suicide. She was worried her friend would harm herself and wanted to make sure an adult knew so she would get help. Thanks to Luna, the school was able to address this with the student. Last year, Luna also spoke up about a student in her class who was harassing another classmate because the classmate had made some comments about being sad and thinking about suicide. Luna is so thoughtful that she deserves to be recognized for her amazing character.

8.  SUZETTE RODRIGUEZ, seventh grade, M.A. Milam K-8 Center:

Suzette is an excellent student and good citizen. She is taking all Advanced/Honors Courses, is a member of her school’s National Junior Honor Society and Music Academy where she plays the keyboard and has won numerous awards and honors. She also serves as an Office Aide helping administrators, students, teachers, etc. on a daily basis. Sadly, Suzette has been a victim of bullying and therefore, has made it a daily goal to spread kindness to all. This comes in the form of a smile or even a simple “Hi” and she is always willing to lend an ear to a fellow student who needs a shoulder to lean on. She is conscious of the serious problem of bullying in schools and has offered her friendship to others who have been bullied. Suzette is the kind of person who stands up to bullies and informs a school official if she sees bullying happen. In the future she would like to be an attorney so she can help victims of crimes and wants justice to be served according to the laws. On the home front, Suzette enjoys being with her family and friends, doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to music, and gardening. Suzette’s faith is very important to her as well and she volunteers at her church working with 2 to 5 year-old children. Suzette is an amazing individual with a good heart and she exemplifies what The Do Right Thing Program is all about.

9.  SOPHIA TORRES, eighth grade, Frank C. Martin K-8 Center:

Recently, Sophia’s good friend went through a difficult time where she wanted to harm herself. Sophia followed her friend to the bathroom as she suspected something was going on when the friend asked for a pencil sharpener with a blade. Sophia would not leave the bathroom without her and encouraged her to go see the counselor. Sophia walked with her friend and stayed with her for moral support as her friend opened up about harming herself. The following day Sophia followed up with the counselor to make sure her friend was okay. A few days later, Sophia, once again, went to the counselor to let her know that the same friend was talking about the Momo Challenge and how she wanted to try it. Sophia was worried that her friend would really try. Sophia has demonstrated such care and maturity in looking out for her friend’s safety and well-being. She is an amazing young lady.

10.  DANIELA VASQUEZ-PEREZ, fifth grade, Laura C. Saunders Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:

Daniela is an honest young lady with a good heart. She has the ability to stay away from trouble and help her friends when she sees them in trouble. Her outlook on life and excellent behavior make her a special student. Daniela is always helpful to her teachers and fellow students. Recently, she bravely told her mother that other classmates were inciting her and other girls to act inappropriately and hurt themselves. Her mother contacted the counselor immediately and the counselor intervened. Even at such a young age, Daniela knew what she had to do when faced with a difficult situation. Daniela was nominated for being courageous and vocal and knowing right from wrong.