1. JUSTIN D. BERROCAL, third grade, Coral Park Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:
Justin does the right thing on a daily basis. For the last several weeks, Justin has taken it upon himself to help one of his classmates who is autistic acclimate to the school. While the other student is reluctant to settle into his routine, Justin can be seen helping him prepare for the day. Justin quietly gathers his belongings and puts them where they go. He also helps the other student take out his morning work and homework, and even sharpens his pencils for him. Justin goes about these tasks without anyone noticing, and his classmate is unable to express his gratitude to Justin directly. However, Justin’s reward is the knowledge that he has helped another. Justin has been an amazing friend to his peer and accepts differences in others without judging or questioning. Justin is being recognized for his compassion and empathy towards others no matter what their learning style or background.
2. ALEX CABRERA, eighth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:
Alex has the gift of leaving an imprint everywhere he goes by his good actions, and notoriously caring ways. When Alex heard about a visually impaired student at the neighboring high school who created a community service project which collects toiletries and other items to give to homeless shelters during the holidays, he jumped on board. A role model to his classmates, Alex quickly spread the word and mobilized the entire student body to begin a collection of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and the like for those less fortunate. Without hesitation he rolled up his sleeves and got right to work in his endeavor to join forces and expand the community service project to as many schools as possible. Alex spent an entire month going classroom to classroom daily, collecting and reminding others of the most needed items. He then separated them into boxes accordingly to facilitate the distribution process. Alongside his mother and an assistant principal at his school, Alex hand-delivered the boxes to the young man at the high school making his community service project a dream come true. Because of Alex’s commitment and relentless efforts, the project is now being modeled in other schools. Aside from a generous heart, Alex is an A student who has successfully completed four high school credit courses as well as Honors courses. For the past three years, he has been a scholar in the International Cambridge Academy, a rigorous curricular-advanced academics program. Most impressively, he had already earned three college credits before even commencing his eighth grade year. Alex is also an avid AgriScience Program inductee who earned First Place and Reserved Grand Champion at the South Florida Fair Exhibition for his project to raise a market lamb. The project involved coming to school early each day to feed, exercise, and clean the lamb’s living quarters. The prior year, Alex raised a chicken which won at the Miami Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition. Furthermore, Alex is a stellar athlete. As an All-Star member of the school’s volleyball team, he was instrumental in leading his school to become North Region and District champions this year. Alex is truly deserving of the Do The Right Thing distinction.
3. DAVID CALZADILLA, third grade, Claude Pepper Elementary:
David’s school is currently holding a “Pennies for Leukemia” collection campaign. David collected over $50 in one weekend by speaking about leukemia to his family and friends who were visiting his house. David told them that the money is used for research to help children who are sick with leukemia and other blood disorders. David also committed to continuing his efforts to collect money until the campaign is over.
4. JUANMARCO DIAZ, fourth grade, Ethel Koger Beckham Elementary:
Juanmarco is a wonderful young man. His father is very ill and Juanmarco has had to deal with much stress and upset including changing schools due to his dad’s illness. However, Juanmarco always takes everything life gives him in stride. Recently, during his school’s Field Day, everyone was arguing over getting into certain key events. When Juanmarco noticed that a fellow student was upset, he volunteered his spot so that the boy could be in the event. During Field Day, he continued to be the best sport by running around giving everyone a high five after each event. Juanmarco is the type of young person who always does the right thing.
5. GABRIEL FRAGA, fourth grade, Ethel Koger Beckham Elementary:
Gabriel raised $250 for the Jump Rope for Heart Program to help the American Heart Association. He did this by himself through family and friend donations. Most students bring in $2 or less. Gabriel took this challenge on and tried to raise this amount in a short two weeks. He is an ideal example of someone who does the right thing.
6. MEGAN JEANLIUS, first grade, Colonial Drive Elementary:
Megan is a one-of-a-kind first grader with high ambitions to “do the right thing.” There isn’t anything she won’t do to please and help others. Megan assists her grandmother who cares for hospice patients in her home. Megan is eager to polish nails, comb hair, make beds, etc. What sets Megan apart from other children her age is her desire to help others in need. Last month Megan raised $50 selling lemonade and donated the money to an organization that supports women who are victims of domestic violence. Megan also helps the homeless by filling purses with personal hygienic items and distributing them to women in need. Additionally, Megan is a shining star at the IC Talent Dance Studio. She is the youngest of 30 dance students, but one of the best in her class. Megan has great discipline and a strong work ethic. She achieves anything placed in front of her. No wonder Megan achieved Principal’s Honor Roll this nine-weeks. Megan definitely deserves to be a Do The Right Thing achiever!
7. SAMADI QUILES, fifth grade, Somerset City Arts Conservatory:
Samadi has a friend that was very depressed. Her friend was in the process of inflicting harm to herself. Although other students were telling Samadi not to say anything, she did the right thing by reporting the incident to the school’s nurse. Due to Samadi’s intervention, her friend was referred to the school counselor who met with the student the same day. Samadi saw something and said something even when others were telling her not to. For this reason, Samadi is being honored for doing the right thing.
8. ROBERT M. THOMAS, fifth grade, Norma Butler Bossard Elementary:
Robert is a real miracle and a blessing to all whose life he has touched. He has a smile that can brighten any room he walks in to and the kindness in his heart will heal any sadness, pain, or anger felt. Robert is a miracle baby who has overcome many obstacles in his short life with the courage and faith that many lack. His middle name is even Miracle. Robert is a special education student and has received speech and resource service since a young age. Today, despite all of his challenges, he has persevered and has demonstrated much academic and social growth. Not only is he an avid reader, he consistently puts forth maximum effort in all subject areas. His academic growth is not the only reason Robby deserves the Do the Right Thing Award. Robert shows kindness to all, not only through his words, but through his actions. He sets up the room in the morning daily and puts love notes on the board to make his teacher’s mornings special. He also goes out of his way to compliment and assist his peers. Outside of school, Robert is involved in Boy Scouts and in church. He thanks God for all his accomplishments and displays that love and faith for all to see. Lastly, despite his health, educational, and financial issues, Robert is a loving, resilient, amazing young boy who endures through all obstacles not letting anything get in his way of achieving his personal goals.
9. ALEJANDRA VAZQUEZ, fourth grade, Claude Pepper Elementary:
The month of February highlighted the value of kindness in all Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Alejandra’s school has been recognizing students and classes that have completed acts of kindness. Alejandra did a unique thing and created a “Kindness Pledge” with a little help from her older sister. The pledge is written on a five foot tall banner and contains details about kindness. This pledge is a follows: “I pledge to myself, on this very day, to try to be kind, in every way. To every person, big or small, I will help them if they fall. When I love myself, and others too, that is the best that I can do.” It then goes on to state: “What is kindness? Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon one another. If somone is in need, lend them a helping hand. Do not wait for a thank you. True kindness lies within the act of giving without the expectation of something in return.”Alejandra then describes acts that are kind on the rest of the banner. Her pledge has been copied and made into cards that have been given to everyone at her school. It is heartwarming to hear other students talking about Alejandra’s pledge and how they are going to follow the pledge to be kind.
10. ISABELLA SOFIA VILLAVERDE, eighth grade, Florida Christian School:
Isabella exudes responsibility through her involvement in school, extracurricular activities, and church, where she longs to participate in missions to spread God’s Word. She diligently participates in youth group, Bible studies, and worship services. She is passionate about helping people with the goal of becoming a doctor. Her actions are evidence of her desire to know, walk in truth, and be used by the God in areas of her life. Isabella has grown into a young lady who truly models spirit and love. She is a member of the Junior Honor Society, and has been a part of several community service projects. Isabella has donated clothing to Goodwill, and has distributed turkeys at Thanksgiving to over 1,000 homeless in Florida City. She brightens the day of the elderly by visiting the senior citizens in a local assisted living facility. Isabella has proven herself to be diligent in her studies as well as an honest, hard-working young lady who is worthy of being nominated for Do The Right Thing.