1. JUNIOR APARICIO, eighth grade, Jose De Diego Middle:
Recently, during dismissal time, Junior saw a sixth grade student sitting on the floor and crying. He asked the student what was happening to him, but the sixth grader had trouble speaking and could not breathe well. Junior quickly went to call an administrator and did not leave the student’s side until the administrator assisted the student. He wanted to make sure that the student would receive the help that he needed. When help arrived, Junior assisted in carrying the student inside the school building. The school had to call the ambulance because the student was having an asthma attack. We are very proud of Junior for performing this heroic act of kindness.
2. GALILEA AVILA, seventh grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle:
Galilea is an admirable young lady who sets the precedence for demonstrating integrity, kindness, and what it takes to always do the right thing. Recently, she led the Out of Darkness Walk, an event held at the University of Miami to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Parading the banner across the entire university campus with empathy and honor, Galilea’s purpose was to send a message to the world that even one human loss is one loss too many. Galilea is also an active participant at all school events. Paying respect to our heroes, who better than Galilea to lead the Veteran’s Parade on November 9th. She also played an instrumental part in the school-wide demonstration showcasing homeless awareness. Walking for another great cause, Galilea continues to give her time unconditionally at the Live Like Bella fundraiser where $3,010 was raised for this cause. She has also participated in her school’s annual wear pink walk-a-thon to raise awareness for breast cancer. Leaving her footprints as a positive role model, Galilea is a proud member of DFYIT (Drug Free Youth In Town) and most importantly a positive influence for her peers. During Red Ribbon Week, Galilea did classroom presentations on the topics of cyber safety and prescription drugs. A leader at heart, Galilea is a stellar student in the International Cambridge, a rigorous curriculum at her school and has already taken one Dual Enrollment College Course at Miami Dade College. She is on the Principal’s Honor Roll every nine weeks earning all A1A’s and has had perfect attendance since kindergarten. Extremely active in all school activities, Galilea is part of her school’s Show Choir and Color Guard team. This bright young girl also enjoys playing racquetball and tennis and is on a swim and dance team outside of school. Dreaming of being a doctor when she is grown, Galilea stated that she wants to find a cure for cancer and help people to survive and live a happy healthy life. Twice she has found money on the school grounds and she immediately turned it in to administration. For all these reasons, Galilea is well deserving of this recognition for doing the right thing.
3. MELANIE FERNANDEZ, eighth grade, M.A. Milam K-8:
It is not often that we encounter a student who, on their own, takes the initiative to lead, participate, grow and learn, always helping others to meet challenges head on without hesitation. Melanie is that student. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and Builders Club, both which serve the school and community at large. For the past two years, Melanie has worked with these organizations to beautify the school and to enhance community awareness about the homeless and the hungry, taking part in canned food drives and such. Melanie is also responsible and dedicated to her studies with an incredible work ethic. Last year in her journalism class, Melanie took the lead and organized the sales and promotions of the yearbooks almost single-handedly. This year, Melanie provides the morning announcements as part of the Leadership Circle at the school, which is the equivalent of a Student Government organization. In the mornings before school, one can find Melanie aiding others in the computer lab. After hours, she works with low achieving and struggling readers. Melanie does this all the time and not for service hours. She volunteers because it is in her nature to help others. Melanie is not boastful and is, in fact, quite humble. She does the right thing every day, naturally and without wanting recognition.
4. SHOMARI JOHNSON, eighth grade, Country Club Middle:
Shomari is being honored because he is a very courageous young man. A physical fight almost took place at his school and the only reason it did not escalate was because Shomari detained one of the students who was about to fight. Shomari was very brave in doing so and his only interest was to keep all students safe. Shomari remained very humble while receiving praise from the administration for his great actions.
5. SHAWN KOURI, twelfth grade, Hialeah Senior High, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:
Shawn is a student with autism who is also visually impaired, yet sees the world through rose colored glasses. He wishes for world peace, and an end to poverty and hunger. Shawn is a straight A student, has been on the Principal’s Honor each grading period, and participates in the job leadership program. He is always respectful to his peers and adults alike and tries to help others. His community service speaks for itself. This past summer, Shawn went to Los Angeles with his family and was horrified by the number of homeless people he saw, especially those his own age. While there, he made a care package for a homeless teenage girl and also gave food to the homeless. When he got back to Miami, he asked his mom if they could make care packages for the homeless here and that was the beginning of a wonderful project. Shawn is now in charge of making bags for the homeless and got his entire school involved. His community service has also included picking up trash on the beach, donating money to various organizations each month such as St. Jude’s, Schools in Africa for girls, Recycling Project at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, and the Autism Walk. Every Christmas, his family does a project or gives a donation to Project Smile or the Hallee Project and has collected money for a church in Nicaragua. Shawn belongs to different organizations including the Lighthouse for the Blind, Division of Blind Services, and Agency for Persons with Disabilities. His work experience includes going with his Mom to visit group homes, talking to the clients, and doing clerical work. He has also worked at Lighthouse for the Blind and Miami-Dade Wolfson Campus as a receptionist as well as Parent-to-Parent in Kendall doing office work. At school he has worked the cash register for the class supply store and is presently making and selling cookies for the cookie business. He also works in the school’s main office copying papers and assisting the secretaries. At home, Shawn is very helpful doing chores such as washing dishes, assisting with dinner and house cleaning, and helping his grandmother, to name a few. He is now managing his own finances, does his own banking, pays for his own medications and other necessities as well as buys his own gifts for others. Shawn participates in Special Olympics at school and has done bowling, basketball, bocce, softball. His most outstanding achievement occurred last year when his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was truly amazing on how deeply involved Shawn was in his mother’s treatments and care. Shawn accepts all challenges and nothing stops him from becoming the best he can, never letting his disabilities slow him down. He truly touches the lives of all that come in contact with him.
6. MICHAEL LOPEZ, twelfth grade, John A. Ferguson Senior High:
It is not every day that students make an effort to be honest especially when a large amount of money is involved. Michael found $100 in the hallway and turned it in so the rightful owner could be found. This shows incredible honesty and integrity and Michael is being commended for doing the right thing.
7. SEBASTIAN RICARDO, eighth grade, Glades Middle:
Recently, Sebastian was walking in the cafeteria and noticed a taller boy choking a younger boy. Sebastian immediately pulled the boy off of the other student. He stopped the quarrel and prevented any injuries from occurring. Sebastian not only saw something and said something, he did something!
8. AMANDA SUAREZ, eighth grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle:
Amanda is very active at school and in her community. She already has four high school credits completed which include Honors Geometry and Honors Biology. Amanda has made the Principals Honor Roll almost every semester since first grade even while taking higher level classes. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, the school softball team, and the elite nautical class. She hopes to join other clubs this year. Amanda spent her entire summer vacation volunteering at her school in the office answering phones, filing, and helping new students and their parents. Amanda describes herself as shy and even a little scared upon entering middle school, however, thanks to her artistic and painting abilities, she was able to meet other students and make more friends. During Amanda’s seventh grade year, she painted a mural on the wall that led to her school’s farm. Day after day she worked on the mural always with a smile. With that project completed, Amanda has been asked to do a mural for drama and the PE classes. Amanda also volunteered to help with the Live Like Bella fundraiser to help kids with cancer. She made the banner advertising the school’s sock sale and walk-a-thon. Amanda is a very talented, responsible, sweet, and kind young lady, always willing to help anyone in need
9. JIMMELIA SYDNEY, third grade, Nathan B. Young Elementary:
A few weeks ago on their way to school, Jimmelia’s brother found what he thought was a real gun on the ground at their apartment complex. He picked up the gun and began showing it to his friends. One of his friends urged him to put the gun in his book bag and take it to school. Jimmelia immediately took action! She began talking to her brother and eventually convinced him to throw it in the lake. Instead of being a bystander and agreeing with the others in the group, Jimmelia had the courage and the strength to stand up and do the right thing.
10. GAMAURI WILLIAMS, third grade, Colonial Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:
Gamauri started this school year by witnessing his teacher drop five dollars which he quickly retrieved for her. Gamauri goes above and beyond to cooperate in his classroom by sharing his books and supplies. His teacher is very grateful for his honesty and kindness to his classmates Gamauri is also to be commended for “doing the right thing” by coming forward against bullies. Gamauri was spit on and instead of confrontation, he told an adult. While Gamauri was bringing that student to the cafeteria monitor, another boy was seen pushing him. Gamauri again did not confront and both boys received punishment for their unkind actions. Gamauri’s kindness extends beyond the classroom to his neighborhood. Gamauri helps his elderly neighbors by bringing out their garbage containers to the curb. He also picks up litter in the neighborhood and takes care of stray dogs so they won’t run in the street. Above all, Gamauri has demonstrated the true heart of a Do The Right Thing winner by giving of himself for another person’s well-being. Gamauri’s sister suffered a severe brain injury and was in the hospital all summer. Gamauri could have been playing outside with his friends, but he chose to be with his sister in the hospital. Every day, Gamauri would help his sister to swallow by assisting on a machine that would help with suctioning. Gamauri still visits his sister almost every day to be by her side and helps her live in the best way he is able. Gamauri demonstrates the true attributes of Do The Right Thing as a conscientious and caring child to his community and most importantly to his family.