1. YANNESIE CORRALES, third grade, Lenora B. Smith Elementary:
Yannesie decided to report that a student from another class was being bullied. She was especially worried as she said that this student was getting bullied all the time, was afraid, and therefore would not tell anyone. She told her counselor that it was not right what the kids were doing to her and it had to stop. Yannesie is receiving a Do The Right Thing award because she spoke up for someone who was afraid to speak up for herself. She showed courage and compassion by finding someone whom she trusted to put a stop to the bullying. Many students can use Yannesie as an example of doing the right thing even when no one is around.
2. COBY GARCIA, seventh grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:
Recently, a brave young man remembered to follow the golden rule of “see something, say something.” When Coby found himself in the dangerous situation of witnessing another student take out a weapon to show other students, he immediately proceeded to inform an adult from the Student Services Department. A hero indeed, Coby is a noble, sweet, and intelligent young man who excels not only academically but is a caring, loving human being and outstanding member of the student body. Coby is on the Honor Roll each quarter and is currently taking two high school courses. Not only is he an elite member of the Biomedical Academy, Coby is also completing his third year in the veterinarian AgriScience Academy to earn his certification. An athlete at heart who’s involvement in sports has been throughout most of his young life, Coby is a vital part of his school’s basketball, cross country, and volleyball teams as well as an integral part of the school’s acclaimed drumline. Leading the march in numerous charity walks and fund-raising events, Coby has been involved in the Breast Cancer Walk, Live Like Bella Walk to cure pediatric cancer, Cystic Fibrosis Walk, Homeless Brigade, and the Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention, just to name a few. Coby is the vice president of the Drug Free Youth In Town (DFYIT) Club, and shares with peers his knowledge of the dangers teenagers are faced with, including the use and abuse of illegal substances, mental illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, bullying, cyber bullying, and misuse of social media. His most amazing experience that left an everlasting impact on him was when he volunteered at a local elementary school in the autistic unit. Coby was paired up with a child who suffers from autism and escorted him throughout his career day. Coby surely represents the message and meaning of the Do The Right Thing Program.
3. JASMINE MENA, tenth grade, Brucie Ball Educational Center:
Jasmine is a 16 year old sophomore student who received help at the Concept House, a rehabilitation residence for those in need of substance abuse treatment. She recently completed treatment and is now mentoring others at the facility. As a toddler, Jasmine had the ideal family being raised by both a loving mother and father. But when Jasmine was just three years old, her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with multiple personalities. Her mother separated from her father and took Jasmine to live at her grandmother’s house New York. Unfortunately, Jasmine’s mother and grandmother were not able to continue caring for Jasmine and considered putting her up for adoption. As Jasmine’s mother’s condition worsened, her grandmother asked her father, who lived in Miami, to take full custody. It was hard and painful for Jasmine to be raised without her mother and as she got older, she began to rebel against her father. Jasmine began using substances, got herself into many problematic situations, and hit rock bottom. She was finally placed in a rehabilitation program for five months. During her time in rehab, she was closely monitored, supervised, counseled, and structured. Jasmine states, “What I have learned is that I cannot blame my past on others. I can’t give up on myself just because my mother isn’t there for me. I should be very grateful that I have my father who has never given up on me, he has always provided me everything I needed, he has always been like a mother and father to me since he raised me to be who I am today. I am so happy to be enlightened and to find my spiritual self again.” Jasmine is currently in a drug prevention program called A-List where she supports and motivates adolescents in order to prevent the use of illegal substances, self-harm, and emotional and mental health problems. For her incredible strength to overcome her circumstances and turn her life around, Jasmine is being recognized with a Do The Right Thing award.
4. GABRIEL PITTMAN, eighth grade, Cutler Bay Middle:
Gabriel is leader at his school with excellent grades and disposition making him an ideal candidate for Do The Right Thing! He is a member of Guitars over Guns and president of the Chess Club at his school. He is also a proud student of the COAST magnet program. Gabriel is actively involved in keeping marine life clean and free of litter. He has already participated in cleaning our shorelines with other students in the COAST program. Gabriel is doing the right thing by caring for the environment.
5. CYNTHIA QUISPE, ninth grade, Pace Center for Girls Miami:
Cynthia is a prime example of the ripple effects that can happen when one embraces the values that Do The Right Thing is trying to highlight. Cynthia came to her school, an alternative outreach center, struggling with attendance and an overall lack of motivation. Since her arrival over 14 months ago, Cynthia has improved her attendance and grades and joined Student Government where she is now SGA president. She went from almost no speaking to speaking in front of the entire center. Cynthia has not only has done the right thing for herself but also for others, advocating for activities and programs around the center that increase student investment and engagement. Whether she is making a flyer, editing a speech, or planning an event, Cynthia uses her own time and creativity to make it special. In class she motivates others by seeking excellence, turning in precise work and then offering to assist others. She also sets a good example by using positive language around the center, reading when no task is placed in front of her, and honoring her school’s policies and procedures. Cynthia actively works to earn service hours by helping the staff complete tasks after school and is also one of the first students to sign up for community based projects like feeding the veterans at the Fisher House. While in SGA, she witnessed two acts of stealing. Both times she did the right thing and reported the incident. Cynthia also helps others around her understand why it is important to give people a second chance and honor their mistakes by keeping them private. Cynthia is very diplomatic; she does not judge others’ poor choices but will gently point how their behaviors don’t serve them offering solutions instead of complaints. By Cynthia setting out to do the right thing for herself, attend school, improve her grades, and build her self confidence, she has ended up doing the right thing for her entire school community.
6. ERNEST RAY, eighth grade, Ruth Owens Kruse Educational Center:
Ernest is 13 years old and currently a foster child living in a group home. He has lived in several homes and has not had a stable home life. Due to these hardships, including being removed from his biological mother, he was placed in a Separate Day School. Regardless of these chaotic experiences, Ernest never hesitates to greet the staff at his school with a smile and a friendly hello. He is polite and well-mannered, always referring to adults as “yes sir” or “yes ma’am.” Ernest is an excellent student who consistently gives 100 percent in all of his assignments. He is motivated to learn and to perform to the best of his ability. Ernest has quickly worked his way up the level system and is now eligible to attend the inclusion program at his middle school. On several occasions, Ernest has stood up to students who were bullying other students or disrespecting a staff member. He never hesitates to tell the truth. The hardships in his life have not made him bitter or angry but have motivated him to become a better person and to treat others with kindness and respect. For all of these reasons, Ernest is being nominated for doing the right thing.
7. ANGELA SANTALO, eleventh grade, St. Brendan Senior High:
Angela has always been a very dedicated student who has a commitment to excellence in all that she does. From a very young age, she has been involved in dance and performing. She has juggled countless extracurricular activities while still maintaining the highest of academic achievements. She is an honor student who takes a challenging course load of honors and AP classes. As a freshman in high school, she won a scholarship to attend Camp Cardiac at the University of Central Florida to learn more about the heart. This year she was selected to attend the Barry University Medical Careers Camp. This past summer she was also selected to be a part of the Free Enterprise Leadership Challenge at Palm Beach Atlantic University where she won first place for the “Laws of Life” Essay competition citing the importance of faith and hope. When Angela was in second grade, she and her family had a devastating fire in their home. It took almost a year and a half to rebuild everything. Her parents tried to keep life as normal as possible for Angela and her two brothers. They continued with their school and activities, despite the loss. Their mom made certain that they focused on all that they still had and used creativity and art to keep them busy. During this time, they also noticed how many people truly cared for them and helped them. Angela has a kind and compassionate heart. She is empathetic and wants to help others and art is very much a part of her life. Angela has been dancing since she was two and is a member of the Medical Sciences Academy, National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Social Science Honor Society, Art Honor Society, European –American Club, Grace Club, and Drama Club at her school. She enjoys the opportunity to meet new people and learn. She is not afraid of challenges. Recently, Angela and her older brother started a non- profit called Art for Others with the purpose of bringing art to everyone through awareness and information about art venues in Miami. She organizes and coordinates the dates and venues and informs students to attend. In addition, she and her brother host art workshops for needy children and bring them much needed art supplies that Angela collects. She motivates her classmates and friends to become excited and make a difference. Angela has been able to influence many students about great art in our community such as Wynwood, Coral Gables, Viernes Culturales, the great PAMM museum, and Art Basel. She does the right thing and inspires others to do the same.
8. ELVIN SAUCEDA, seventh grade, Academy of International Education Charter:
In the past month, Elvin’s school has had an issue with students using social media in an inappropriate way. These students were using their accounts to scare students in the school as well as make threats to the school. Elvin was one of the few students in the school to come forward and help by reporting any information he knew. Many students knew what was going on but kept it quiet. Elvin stood up and made sure he informed the administration about what he knew. Thanks to Elvin choosing to do the right thing, his school was able to resolve the issue.
9. ERYN SINGER, first grade, Colonial Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:
For a first grader, Eryn has made a big impression on those who receive her unbelievable caring and kindness. Last month, Eryn was in a car with her parents when they witnessed a rollover accident. While Eryn’s parents were caring for the woman driver, Eryn gave comfort to her daughter by holding her and singing. Eryn is always seeking out those in need and her compassion is unlimited. At summer camp, she noticed a boy who was upset because he did not win a prize. Since she already had stuffed animals at home, she offered the boy her prize. On another occasion, she saw a homeless man asking for money. When she did not have money to give him, she gave him her hotdog instead. Eryn is also observant of her dog’s appetite for her neighbor’s balls or frisbees that come over her fence and always tries to throw these items back. Unfortunately, on one occasion, the neighbor’s ball was destroyed and Eryn decided to give the children one of her own. Eryn is very compassionate of all animals and saves her chore money to donate to Friends Forever Pet Rescue every other Saturday. A few months ago, Eryn found an endangered tortoise and brought it to a pet sanctuary at Larry and Penny Thompson Park. On the home front, she helps her mother by cooking, folding laundry, and sweeping. In the classroom, Eryn is just as helpful, straightening book bags of other students without being asked. Eryn is the one student who will let others get in front of her to get a drink after recess. She is very generous with her supplies to others who are in need. Eryn also recently came to the aid of a student who was ill. She retrieved a wet towel and put it on the student’s head and stayed with the student until she went to the clinic. During the first week of school, Eryn gave her teacher a small bag with a little crystal charm in it. She explained that the charm signifies protection. Eryn’s mother further explained that after seeing the car accident and hearing about the Dallas police shootings, Eryn wanted to do something nice for police officers. She felt compassion for police officers and she and her mother decided to make the protecting crystals for police officers in Miami and take them wherever they go. Her teacher keeps his charm with him every day, thinking of Eryn and how a little first grade student can bring so much love and support to others.
10. LAUREN WALDEN, sixth grade, Frank C. Martin K-8:
Lauren is a student who has integrity and principles. She is a member of the Memory Club, Priority Club (faith-based), and Recycle Club, as well as the class Treasurer. She likes to dance, sing, and do gymnastics. Lauren found a wallet with $50.00 inside and didn’t hesitate to turn it in to the administration. Lauren reflects the attitude that is held so highly in the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) in which she is affiliated. As it states in the IB mission statement, Lauren is definitely one of the “…caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world…” For being an exemplary student and human being, Lauren is being honored for doing the right thing.