September 2018


1. AMELIE ACOSTA, eighth grade, Somerset Oaks Academy:

2. LITZ GUTIERREZ, twelfth grade, & 3. WILLIAM TEJEDA, twelfth grade, American Senior High, Washington, D.C. Trip Winners:

Litz and William witnessed an attempted hit and run car accident and did the right thing by jumping in to help. When a car crashed into another car and the driver at fault attempted to flee the scene, his car ended up in a canal. As rescue was arriving, Litz and William took the initiative, jumped into the canal, pulled him out of the car and to safety. They assessed the victim, took his vital signs, and began successful CPR. The accident aired on the local TV station. Luckily, Litz is in the Nursing Assistant Program at her school and the knowledge obtained from the medical program helped her and William to save the life of the hit and run driver. Additionally, thankfully the driver of the other car that was hit was not injured.

4. SADIA LOPEZ, eighth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle:

Sadia is a distinguished Honor Roll student who also exemplifies good behavior and attendance, Once an immigrant student herself, Sadia felt early on the loneliness of being unable to communicate with peers, and just how difficult it can be to feel accepted at school. She was only eight years old when she came to this country and experienced feeling like an outcast due to not speaking the English language and coming from a different culture. She remembers being bullied by her peers at school for those reasons and struggled to adjust. Today, Sadia is a thriving and has befriended a brand new student who arrived from China remembering what it is like to be new to this country. Her friend only speaks and understands Mandarin and cannot understand a word from other students or adults, nor can they understand her. Sadia’s main concern has been to be there for her, reassure her, and show the kindness necessary for her to feel at ease. Sadia has made it a point to memorize her schedule so that she can meet up with her during class changes. She also introduced her to all her friends who now assist is Sadia is unavailable. Sadia also communicates with her friend through an app on her phone which translates from Mandarin to English, and vice versa which has been instrumental in helping them communicate. Sadia is teaching her friend basic words in English, and they work together on homework through the app. She has truly made an impact in this girl’s life and is paying it forward. At school, Sadia is an Honor Roll student and is even taking a Mandarin Chinese Foreign Language class this year to continue to help her friend. At home, Sadia is an excellent daughter, sister, and grandchild. Always helpful, she takes care of her very active little 10-month old brother while her parents have to work. Although she suffers from scoliosis, and lives with an almost constant pain and discomfort, she does not allow it to get in the way of her responsibilities towards her younger brother. Sadia is a truly selfless and compassionate young lady who consistently behaves in an exemplary fashion, and has already made a difference in many people’s lives at her young age.

5. MILA LOREN LOPEZ, second grade, David Fairchild Elementary:

Mila wrote a very special diary entry last month and stated that she had one birthday wish that would make her very happy. She mentioned that love is important and that she loves helping the less fortunate. She stated that it would make her the happiest little girl if she could go feed the homeless. Mila asked her mother to take her to visit the Chapman Partnership in downtown Miami that very same day. She served snow cones to the homeless children who were celebrating birthdays and when they left, Mila felt that she had truly made a difference in the world. Not only does Mila have a heart of gold, she maintains excellent grades and received Superior Honor Roll every semester last school year. Mila is a true example of a young lady who does the right thing.

6. SHELDON MAYWEATHER, seventh grade, Miami MacArthur Educational Center:

Sheldon witnessed another student being bullied and thrown to the ground by two students. The two bullies got that student’s ID, lanyard, and house keys away from him. After witnessing this, Sheldon saw an opportunity to get his friend’s belongings back and he did, without violence. Not only did Sheldon retrieve his keys and ID but he staved off a possibly worse situation in which the student was becoming very frustrated and would have gone into the classroom to fight the bullies. Sheldon acted as a big brother as the school security guard stated, and he continued to calm his angry friend and get him into class without further incident. Sheldon deserves this award for his selflessness and kindness, qualities you don’t normally see.

7. LAUREN-BROOKE MCDONALD, third grade, Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8:

Lauren took the initiative of helping a classmate in need. During lunch, one of Lauren’s friends told her someone was in the bathroom crying and trying to hurt herself. Lauren went into immediate action and asked which bathroom and why wasn’t anyone helping her. Lauren went into the bathroom and observed the student putting her lanyard around her neck tightly. When Lauren asked her why was she upset and why the lanyard was around her neck, the girl laughed and said she was just playing around. Lauren became uneasy and spoke with her teacher about the young lady’s actions. Lauren then took it one step closer and contacted the school’s assigned police officer. The officer and teacher contacted the counselor because of their concern for the other student. Lauren is being commended for taking action in helping a student in need by reaching out to three adults for assistance.

8. ISABELLA MUNOZ-BURGOS, fourth grade, Dr. Manuel C. Barreiro Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:

Isabella deserves to be honored because she found the courage to stand up against the majority of her class to inform the counselor about bullying. She did not allow the fact that many students were calling her a tattletale. She alerted an adult to a very serious situation that would not have been known about since it occurred during Music Class. Thanks to Isabella the student that was targeted felt she had a friend and the proper adult was able to intervene before the situation became more serious. Isabella is a standup individual and if more kids were like her, other students would think twice before teasing, harassing, bothering, and insulting students. It took even more courage on Isabella’s part because out of 42 students, 20 of them were involved. She is truly a wonderful young lady and deserves to be recognized for standing up against for a fellow classmate against a large group of their peers.

9. ROGER PARKER, second grade, Miami Park Elementary:

Roger is a well-mannered child with an extremely pleasant disposition. Roger gives above 100% of his ability every day. He speaks to everyone and greets all with a smile. Roger was born with Neurofibromatosis 1. This condition causes tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Last school year, Roger experienced 9 surgeries back to back and had to start over by crawling. After being hospital bound for 3 months, he had to be home schooled. His mother brought him to visit his teachers, classmates, security monitors, and other faculty and staff members and Roger could not wait to be able to return to school. He is now back at school and back to himself using his walker. At school he participates in physical and occupational therapy once a week. Despite his physical and academic limitations, Roger continues to excel. He won the “Homework Special Star” award for completing the most homework assignments so far for the first nine weeks. Roger has a bubbling personality as he continues to put forth maximum effort daily and everyone at his school is amazed at his progress. Roger is doing the right thing daily by being an awesome role model for his peers.

10. VICTORIA TEJERO, eighth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle:

Last school year, Victoria heard about an incident where a group of students witnessed another student engage in self-harm. Although she didn’t witness it herself, she knew this young lady needed help. Immediately after class she nervously went to the counselor and explained that all the young ladies’ friends were talking about what they saw but none spoke up. After the counselor followed up, it became clear that the young lady needed immediate assistance which she received thanks to Victoria coming forward. Additionally, during Start With Hello Week, Victoria did a campaign in the cafeteria during all lunches where students signed a pledge to Say Something and wore teal ribbons to raise awareness about self-harm and mental illness. Victoria is already planning her campaign for this school year as well. Victoria has been very active in the DFYIT Club for the past three years and is now the president of the club. She has also participated in countless community service projects within her school and in the community. At school, she has done over 70 classroom presentations in the areas of mental health, acceptance, and tolerance, drugs, alcohol, bullying, and cyber safety. Victoria has participated in the Cystic Fibrosis Walk two years in a row, the Live Like Bella Sock Hop and Walk at school, and the Wear Pink Day Walk to raise awareness of breast cancer, to name a few. She has volunteered at The Village South bringing toys to the children who live on campus during their parent’s rehabilitation from drug and alcohol abuse. Victoria is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, The Castaway Club, and the Law Academy and is an active member of her school’s Color Guard team. Academically, Victoria has always excelled. She will enter high school with six high school courses completed. While others don’t step foot on school grounds over the summer, Victoria dedicated her time to volunteering in the main office by assisting parents, students, and staff with clerical work. Victoria has made a positive impact at her school and no doubt will continue to do so.