March 2018


1.  JEREMY ANTROBUS, fourth grade, Nathan B. Young Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:

Jeremy is trying to make a change for the better. As a fourth grader, he is looked up to by the younger students and he tries to guide them in the right direction. Not long ago, Jeremy was riding his bike around the perimeter of the school when he saw a younger male student pull a knife out on a female student and watched in horror as the male began to chase the female. Without thinking of his own safety or the consequences of his next move, Jeremy asked the student to stop and put the knife down, warning him he could hurt someone. The student then threatened to slash his tires. With little fear, Jeremy asked again. The student once again denied. Jeremy then quickly approached the student and managed to get the knife away. While not the advisable course of action due to danger to oneself, Jeremy showed true bravery. The mother of the female student retrieved the knife from Jeremy and thanked him for saving her daughter. The next school day, the mother came in to report the situation and tell the administration about Jeremy’s heroism. This positive recognition for Jeremy means everything hopefully giving him the confidence to continue doing the right thing. That day Jeremy was not the usual suspect; he was the hero.

2.  DANIEL BOTELL, fifth grade, Colonial Drive Elementary:

Through the past four years Daniel has been a Do The Right Thing student in the making. From earning Honor Badges in the Boy Scouts for picking up debris from polluted waterways and county parks to helping younger scouts that needed assistance, Daniel wants to be of service to all. Daniel is a proud member of his school’s Safety Patrol, helping others stay safe by walking in the hallways and tying the shoes of small children so they won’t trip and fall. He even worked his way up to be selected as a captain. Recently, Daniel and his friend noticed a man following them around in the park. He became cautious, wondered about the man’s intentions, and was worried the man might do something to him and his friend or take their bikes. After a while, Daniel and his friend were walking away from the park when they noticed the same man break into a car and steal a backpack. Daniel and his friend immediately reported what they had witnessed to the victims and gave a description of the man. They also helped search the neighborhood for the suspect while waiting for the police. Year after year, Daniel has always maintained high grades in his Gifted class and has earned Honor Roll awards for his academics and citizenship. He has volunteered to participate in the after school Water Bottle Rocket Club and has participated in Saturday STEM events. At home, Daniel cares deeply for his father who suffers from cancer, glaucoma, and a broken back. He helps his dad with medication, and takes care of him on a daily basis including tucking in his blanket at night. Daniel is a conscientious student who is passionate about his school, family, and community.

3.  SAMANTHA CHAVEZ, eighth grade, Hialeah Middle:

Samantha is a sweet, hardworking student who has always been on the Honor Roll. She continues to excel in her rigorous courses. She studies hard in hopes to one day become a successful business woman. Samantha is also very involved in her school’s Science/SECME Club where she partakes in multiple experiments and robotics competitions. Sadly, at the young age of four, she had to endure serious family issues. Due to the controversy, Samantha’s mother shut her out even though the court allowed her mother visitation. Sadly, the last time Samantha saw her mom was three years ago on her birthday. Samantha continues to reach out to her mother in hopes of reconnecting with her one day. No matter how many times she calls or texts, Samantha is always ignored. Luckily, Samantha has an amazing, kind, and loving stepmother, but she still yearns for the attention of her birth mother. Despite all the negativity and stress occurring in her life, Samantha continues to rise above and succeed academically and emotionally. She led a food drive at her school with the help of the school counselor in hopes of making an impact on the lives of homeless children. For her selflessness in always putting others first, Samantha is a true Do The Right Thing candidate.

4.  WAYNE DANIEL, fifth grade, Colonial Drive Elementary:

Wayne did not always do the right thing when he was younger but has now matured into an honest and caring young man. An older boy was bothering Wayne and his friend by cussing, making fun of their clothes, and being physical towards them. Wayne decided to stand his ground trying to ward off the negative comments and aggression. When Wayne’s friend was being pushed around, Wayne tried to defuse the situation to protect his friend and then finally notified his teachers. Wayne also did the right thing when he and a friend noticed a man break into a car and steal a backpack. He ran up to the victim’s house and notified the homeowner about what he had witnessed. Together with his friend they searched the neighborhood to try to locate the suspect while waiting for the police to arrive. Wayne is very helpful in the classroom, sweeping, straightening up, and cleaning desks. Before Wayne’s grandmother passed away, he helped wash dishes, mop floors, and clean bathroom. He also helped her walk because she had poor eyesight. For his positive change, Wayne is a great Do The Right Thing candidate.

5.  THOMAS HECKER, eighth grade, & 6.  MIA PERATA, eighth grade, Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beack K8:

March 14th was the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting. It was also the date that school walkouts were being planned nationwide. Thomas and Mia felt that a walk-out would not benefit the school or the students who might use it simply as an excuse to get out of class. Thomas and Mia really wanted to take this time to remember and pay respect to the lives that were lost and the people that were affected but also give their peers a platform to speak their minds. They decided to set up a 30-minute middle school presentation all on their own that included members of the volleyball team, basketball team, and the cheerleaders and student speakers. This was an event set up by the kids, for the kids, and everyone really appreciated what they were trying to do. The message that they sent was stronger than any walk out could have been.

7.  ANGEL MARTINEZ, third grade, Riverside Elementary:

On the morning of March 19, Angel found a tool that could be used as a weapon at his school. He quickly ran over and turned it over to his teacher. This was an act of someone who wants to keep his school and peers safe. In a day and age where students are encouraged to “See Something, Say Something,” Angel did just that. He most definitely deserves the Do The Right Thing honor.

8.  MARK MERWITZER, twelfth grade, School for Advanced Studies Wolfson:

Mark is the 2018 Silver Knight nominee in Social Science for his school due to his extraordinary volunteer work in the community including his personal mission to make texting while driving a primary offense in the State of Florida. Mark has worked tirelessly over the past two years on this initiative which he started all on his own at the age of 16. In the process, he has earned 1,500 hours of community service. Mark garnered the support of the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners which made it one of their legislative priorities this year. Mark flew to Tallahassee on numerous occasions to lobby the Florida House and Senate to pass this legislation. He spoke before almost every committee and convinced 90% of the legislators that the passage of this bill would save thousands of lives each year. Mark fought very hard to pass this legislation and the Florida House approved it by a vote of 112 to 2. Sadly, a few weeks ago, a state senator committee chair decided he was going to stop the bill by not allowing it to come to a vote on the floor of the Senate. Had it gone to the floor for a vote, it would have passed overwhelmingly and the people of Florida would be safer as a result today. However, Mark does not give up easily and will continue pushing for this legislation at the next session. Mark accomplished more by bringing this legislation as far as he did than many professional lobbyists that are paid six figure salaries. The amazing thing is that Mark did all of this while attending one of the most academically challenging high schools in Miami. Mark is in the top five percent of high school seniors in Miami graduating in the Class of 2018 with a GPA of 4.51 taking almost all advanced courses. Due to his leadership, Mark was selected by the City of Palmetto Bay, where he lives, to serve as Vice Chairman of the Palmetto Bay Youth Involvement Board. Mark will receive a two-year Associate in Arts degree from Miami Dade College before he graduates from high school on June 1st. For all of his amazing accomplishments, Mark is certainly a Do The Right Thing winner.

9.  MARIA SANCHEZ, ninth grade, South Dade Senior High:

Maria is an outstanding student who is wise beyond her years. Aside from her stellar grades and her commitment to excellence, Maria is very involved in her school community. She is a future officer of the International Thespian Society at her school, and is sure to be leading the theatre magnet program and many other organizations in the very near future. She is a natural born leader, and has been dedicating much of her extra time to help her community and her classmates. Maria is one of five children, and has been raised by a single mom. She is a humble teenager who takes nothing for granted. She is consistently courteous and polite to everyone around her and is always willing to help anyone in need. At this year’s district theatre competition, Maria excelled in her competition categories and earned the opportunity to represent her school at the state competition in Tampa. The trip is extremely expensive, and she was initially unsure if she would be able to find the financial means in order to attend. However, Maria attended every fundraiser and personally sold hundreds of muffins after school through the booster club and raised enough money to cover all of the costs. It quickly came to Maria’s attention that there was a fellow theatre student who had recently come into a dire financial situation at home and was going to be unable to attend the state competition. Maria secretly continued fundraising and worked with her mother to raise the necessary funds in order for her classmate to attend. Not only did Maria work to make sure that her mom was not burdened with extra financial struggles, she stepped up and helped someone else in need that was extremely grateful for her grand gesture. With tears in her eyes, her classmate was left speechless when she found out what Maria had done for her. Maria is a shining role model that we don’t often see in our society. She is a giving, kind, intelligent, and strong young lady, a true example of what it is to do the right thing.

10.  MELANIE VASQUEZ, eighth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:

On a daily basis crisis is adverted at schools because of students reporting things immediately. On February 7th, Melanie was on her second day of making classroom presentations for Start with Hello Week. The presentation she was doing was Say Something created by Sandy Hook Promise which teaches students how to spot warning signs and what to do if they encounter alarming information. As Melanie was walking to her next classroom to present, she was approached by a sixth grade student who had seen her presentation and informed Melanie that there was another student who had said she wanted to die. Melanie immediately ran and approached a young lady who was sitting on a bench sobbing, mumbling things, and texting. Two other girls were with her. Melanie quickly spoke to the young lady and tried to console her although at first she didn’t respond and continued texting while her friends told Melanie what was going on. Melanie then quickly contacted the Trust Counselor to explain the situation. At this point, the student was texting a suicide helpline and now was screaming that she wanted to die. Immediate interventions were rendered to the young lady to keep her safe. Since then the student has returned to school and Melanie has reached out to her to make sure she is okay. Academically, Melanie has obtained Principals Honor Roll every grading period and will be entering high school with five high school credit courses completed with straight A’s. Melanie is in the National Junior Honor Society, a part of the Jaguar Dance Team, Volleyball Team, and Castaway Club, which is a fishing club. She has been a Peer Counselor in the DFYIT Club for 3 years and is currently the Vice President. She has participated in many community service events at school such as: Live Like Bella Walk-a-Thon, Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, and Wear Pink Day. She has been doing classroom presentations to her peers for the past three years on the topics of drugs, alcohol, bullying, depression, cyber safety, say something, and kindness just to name a few. For the past 2 years she has volunteered at The Village South bringing gifts and spending time with the children that live there while their parents are in rehab. Last year her school created The Gardens Boutique, a place for needy youth to get prom dresses, shoes and accessories, etc. Melanie was there from the beginning helping with cleaning, painting, organizing, and decorating the boutique. She also donated several beautiful gowns. Melanie also volunteers at her local church and on a yearly basis goes to Nicaragua where they do cookouts to feed the poor. For helping to save a life, as well as all her other amazing abilities, talents, and compassion towards others, Melanie is being honored for always doing the right thing.