October 2017


1. SOFIA ALEXANDER, fifth grade, Howard Drive Elementary:
Sofia’s classmate got sick during class recently with a very bad asthma attack. He was crying and had to leave class abruptly. Sofia knew her classmate did not just feel bad, but he was also very nervous about his “racing heart” and embarrassed from causing such a disruption. Sofia made a get well card, colored it, and then asked all of her classmates to sign it so that they can present it to him when he comes back to school. Sofia did this act of kindness all on her own and helped bring sympathy and unity to her class.

2. MIA ARRIERA, third grade, Claude Pepper Elementary:
During the month of September, Mia’s school participated in activities to bring awareness to pediatric cancer. Mia wanted to do something very special yet again. This is Mia’s third time donating her hair so that children with cancer can receive their own wigs. The first time Mia donated her hair, she did it together with her mother. The second time she donated her hair was soon after her mother had died in her sleep from an aneurysm when Mia was about to begin kindergarten. Now in third grade, Mia is again donating her hair to help children that are sick. This time, Mia is also honoring the loving memory of her mom. Thank you Mia for being so kind and generous.

3. BRAYDEN CAO, eighth grade, Academy for International Education Charter:
Brayden’s school is currently participating in a fundraiser for leukemia and Brayden donated $50. When asked if he was sure about the amount of the donation, his response was unexpected and insightful. Brayden said he was donating that amount because it was the least he could do. He had recently lost a family friend to leukemia. He proceeded to say that he works odd jobs to make money and felt it was the right thing to do. Brayden hopes that one day cancer ceases to exist. This shows a very caring and compassionate young man. Other children in his position might not have done this act of kindness and humanity. Brayden definitely did the right thing.

4. ABIGAIL BRIANNA COLON, twelfth grade, Hialeah Gardens Senior:
Abigail is an amazing student and community volunteer. She is involved in many clubs at school including the Family Career and Community Leaders of America where she serves as vice president, Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America, DECA, and the Prostart Club. Academically, Abigail is maintaining a 4.039 GPA while taking AP and AICE courses. Her academic focus is in the Academy of Biomedical Science where she is in the Vet Assisting program which requires 500 volunteer hours at a vet clinic. Upon graduation, she will receive her Vet Tech Certification. For the past few years, she has received the Soaring Service Award for her exemplary community service. She is also a Silver Knights Nominee for her project C.H.A.M.P.S. (Creatures Helping All Maximize Peace) which she introduced last year at Hialeah Gardens Middle (HGMS). Once a week, Abigail meets with several special needs students and brings them to the school’s farm where she teaches them how to handle the animals. This has made a huge impact in their lives. Abigail’s passion for animals began in sixth grade at HGMS where she was in the Agri-Science Academy. She has won numerous awards and accolades for her work with the animals at the Youth Fair and even a state championship. Other community service volunteerism includes participating in several school-wide events at HGMS, Habitat for Humanity, and at her church. During Hurricane Irma, Abigail volunteered at HGMS, which was a shelter, distributing food to over 250 families. Afterward, she spent the entire week, from early in the morning to late evening, helping to restore the school. She also collected canned food at her high school to donate to the Puerto Rico food drive at HGMS. Although life has given her some hardships, Abigail has overcome. Some she is willing to share; others are too personal. Abigail’s brother decided to follow his dream of service and left Florida to do missionary work. This left Abigail feeling a huge loss. Her dream for her future is to attend the University of Florida and become the main veterinarian at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Abigail is always doing the right thing for herself and those around her including the animals she loves.

5. LAYLAH GACHETTE, third grade, Aventura Waterways K-8:
Laylah is a lovely role model for inspiration and strength. Recently, her mom’s house caught on fire and luckily no one was home. However, Layla lost a lot of her personal items and it was traumatic for her. She is currently staying at her dad’s house. Through it all, Laylah has been incredibly strong and positive. She is so kind to everyone even though she is sad inside. Laylah has been a true inspiration to all.

6. MASSIMO GONZALEZ, sixth grade, Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles K-8:
Massimo saw a post on social media of a young lady asking about the fastest way to kill herself. Knowing that this young lady might be in danger, he immediately contacted the school counselor to reach out and help her. What is really amazing is that Massimo did not even know this young lady. He was truly concerned about a stranger. Through his interference, the school was able to get the young lady and her family the support that they needed. We need more Massimo’s out there in the world!

7. ALEX LIMA, eighth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:
Recently while in the school cafeteria with over 600 students, Alex observed two young men having a verbal altercation which began escalating. He noticed how quickly many of the students were forming a small circle around them instigating the fight and even recording it. Alex immediately went to the administration, informed them of what was occurring, and was able to stop anyone from being hurt. Alex has perfect attendance and has accomplished Superior Honor Roll and regular Honor Roll the entire school year while taking two 10th grade courses as well has straight A’s in conduct. As a stellar member of the Agri-Science Academy, Alex recently jumped in to help unload a truck full of heavy hay for the school’s in-house farm. In addition, as a crucial member of the Biomedical Academy, Alex is always ready to participate, travel, and compete in this prestigious organization earning various accolades to date. His interests also include playing football, staying fit, and being the snare for the Drumline. Alex also gives back to his community by participating in the Live Like Bella Walk held each year to raise funds for pediatric cancer as well this year’s Culinary Arts Department Fashion Show. Alex’s personal life hasn’t been easy. He has always felt a void in his heart since his biological father left when Alex was only a month old. Now at thirteen years old, Alex did his own research and is trying to locate his father. As he candidly put it, at this point in his life, it is not about reconnecting but just letting his biological father know he exists and that his absence from his life did matter. Alex has big plans for the future with his desire to be a neurosurgeon. His inspiration is very close to home as he has witnessed the struggles plaguing his stepfather who has debilitating back injuries. Currently, Alex lives with his mother, stepfather, and younger brother and feels extremely fortunate to have a caring loving family that supports him in every way possible. For his strength, resilience, and ability to stand up for others when hundreds sat back, Alex is a true Do The Right Thing honoree.

8. MYA PERRY-CRAWFORD, third grade, Colonial Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:
Mya started at a new school last February because her mom lost her job in Atlanta and along with her brother and sister, they became homeless. Mya’s grandmother is now taking care of Mya and her siblings while her mom is still in Atlanta trying to work and have enough funds to bring her family back. Meanwhile, Mya talks to her mom every day, remains upbeat and understanding and hopes to be reunited sometime in 2018. Mya is a compassionate, mature young lady with many friends. However, she suffered a set-back when she fell ill worrying about her mom. The stress triggered her sickle cell anemia and she missed days of school. Mya was able to recover and bounce back but unfortunately, these painful episodes can occur without warning. Mya is very helpful to her grandma who suffers from arthritis. She washes dishes and keeps her room clean. Mya also assists her great grandfather with his walker. At church, Mya sings in the choir and performs in plays. When Hurricane Irma hit the area, Mya assisted her family in preparing for the storm. After the storm, her house did not lose power so she encouraged and helped her family share the ice water and food they had wanting to make sure her neighbors were all right. When school resumed, Mya helped with whatever was needed. The music teacher was trying to form a school chorus, but was unable to recruit enough students. Using her infectious smile, wonderful voice and positive influence, Mya recruited enough classmates and friends to start the chorus. Now, during the month of October, Mya has donated each day to the United Way activities and encourages her friends to do the same. Mya is truly a stand out student who has overcome a difficult period in her life. Although there are uncertain times ahead, Mya continues to amaze those around her by doing the right thing.

9. EMMY SAKALO, first grade, Coral Reef Elementary:
Emmy is spunky, full of smiles, loves learning, and wears her heart on her sleeve. Her first love is her big sister Maddie and then her dog Baxter. Emmy constantly shows her compassion and empathy towards others. She realizes she is more fortunate than many people who live in our community and has an unending desire to give back whenever and wherever she can. Several times a year, Emmy is involved with United Way outreach programs. Recently, she helped paint a mural at the Overtown Youth Center. She also planted a garden and assisted with the clean-up of the grounds at Scott Lake Elementary School. Following her love for art, Emmy also made crafts for the elderly to enjoy during the holidays at the Dr. Armando Badia Senior Center. In addition to her community activities, Emmy personalizes her giving back. When driving by a homeless person, she is always quick to ask how she can help after she reads the sign they are holding. At the holidays and even after her birthday parties, Emmy helps put together plates of food for the homeless, always curious about their situation and if they have someone who cares about them. Throughout the year, Emmy goes through her toys and books and asks to donate them to other children, choosing of her favorites so other children can enjoy them as well. Her maturity is remarkable and as Emmy continues to grow and learn, the hope is that she never stops helping and caring about others.

10. IZABELLA SANTIAGO, second grade, Academy for International Educaton Charter:
Izabella is new to her school this year and has endured some extremely difficult circumstances in her short life. Izzy, as she affectionately called, is only seven years old, but has already switched schools two times prior to this school year. Most traumatic was her loss of her father unexpectedly within the last six months. Izzy is so resilient and has already had to deal with Dad Drop Off Day and explaining to the others that her dad passed away. She carries his picture and is very aware of his absence but mom and the rest of her family try hard to help her cope in a positive way. Izzy continues to adapt well at school and is doing very well academically despite the difficulties she has had.