1. Santiago Paz-Alba, fourth grade, Coral Reef Elementary:
Santiago was at the park when he found a debit card and driver’s license. Santiago took the lost items to the police and the items were reunited with the owner who happened to be a teacher at another school and was very grateful. Santiago demonstrated integrity and truly did the right thing.
2. Maria Alfonso, fifth grade, South Hialeah Elementary:
Maria has not always made the right choices, but recently she made a decision that changed a classmate’s life. A classmate confided in her about a situation going on at home. The classmate wasn’t sure how she was going to address the situation and she wanted some advice from her peers. Maria wisely thought the situation needed adult assistance and so she told her teacher about her classmate’s situation. As a result of Maria making the correct choice in telling a trusted adult about what was going on, she saved her classmate from further harm.
3. Hazel Clark, fifth grade, Keys Gate Charter School, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:
Hazel Clark is the epitome of a “Do The Right Thing” winner. Hazel has saved the lives of 2 of her fellow students. Despite personal struggles at home, Hazel continues to show up every day not only to do her best academically, but quite literally to save the lives of precious children. A few weeks ago, Hazel was approached by a friend saying that she wanted to kill herself and showed her multiple scratches on her arm. Hazel immediately reported this incident to the Dean, who was able to take quick and appropriate action. Again recently, Hazel reported that a fellow classmate confided in her that she was cutting herself. When Hazel told her that she should stop because she could die, the student told Hazel “that’s the point”. The troubled student proceeded to retrieve a razor blade from her backpack and offered it to the Hazel. This caused extreme alarm and concern. Hazel pulled her teacher aside to make her aware of the situation. The incident was reported right away to the proper authorities, and the student was discovered to have multiple cuts on her arms and legs. These two situations could have ended tragically but these students are here today because of Hazel’s courage and her unwavering ability to “DO THE RIGHT THING”. Some students would have kept quiet in this situation as to not be seen as a snitch or a bad friend, but Hazel was able to see past this not once, but twice. She knew what the right thing to do was, and she did it. Hazel is a life-saver and a true role model for her peers.
4. Marco Correa & 5. Daniela Curtosi, seventh grade, Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach K-8, Washington D.C. Trip Winners:
A friend reached out to Marco and Daniela to let them know that he was having suicidal thoughts. He was sending them pictures of him, a knife, and cuts on his arms. They came to see the counselor to call him down to her office. When they attempted to call him from class, they realized that he was not in school. The parent was contacted and she said he had a doctor’s appointment. She had left him home as she went to the supermarket. Mom ran home and when she got there the student was missing and was not answering his phone. Marco and Daniela pretended that they were going to skip school to meet up with him. He told them his location and because of them the police were able to locate him and take him to the hospital where he is going to get the help he needs. Thanks to their quick thinking and action, they were able to save a life.
6. Javion Florence, second grade, Colonial Drive Elementary:
Last month, Javion came to the aid of a student who was on a private bus with Javion and other children. Javion’s older brother was verbally abusing the student and causing her to cry. Javion told his brother to stop, but he continued. Javion notified the bus driver who was unfortunately unable to assist. The following morning, the student came to school in fear, trembling and crying. Javion then notified the Assistant Principal of the situation who then confronted Javion’s brother and alerted the bus driver. Javion came through for his classmate even though he was threatened by his brother not to do so. Javion has also turned his life around from last school year to become an academic and behavior success. He says, “I am going to get an A” and he does it! He is a friend to all from assisting students in the computer lab to turning pages for those who are not focused. He volunteers to open doors and is trusted upon to “tell the truth” when others will not come forward. Despite the possible repercussions from going against his own sibling, Javion had courage and stood up for another student who was being bullied. In the future Javion would like to become a police officer and by his commitment to the well-being of others, he is definitely on his way!
7. Kaitlyn Mesa, kindergarten, Henry M. Flagler Elementary:
Kaitlyn Mesa is a wonderful student who always tries her best in class. She follows directions and is attentive during class. Last week during recess, she found an I-phone and turned it in right away. She did not keep it or hide it from her teacher. After recess they were able to find the owner and return the phone. Her teacher was very proud of her as just last month they had learned that if they find something that does not belong to them, they should do their best to return it.
8. James Richardson & 9. Armando Suarez, fifth grade, Dr. William A. Chapman Elementary:
James and Armando prevented a physical altercation between two other students. They were able to talk the student down and using words were able to reason with the student. Both demonstrated maturity by getting involved without getting physical. James loves to play sports especially basketball and football. He would love to be able to play Pro basketball when he grows up, his back-up plan is to become a firefighter. He works to the best of his ability academically and is very helpful to his little sister in school. He makes sure she gets her school breakfast and is settled before heading to his designated waiting area. When asked why he got involved-he said, ” I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble”. He got between the aggressor who was a friend, and the other student while talking him down until help arrived. He has a good heart and always has a cheerful smile. Armando enjoys playing football and dreams of becoming a lawyer when he grows up. He has made the honor roll the past two grading periods and is aiming for Principal’s Honor Roll in the future. When asked why he got involved he simply stated that he enjoys helping. James and Armando serve as excellent examples of doing the right thing and deescalating a potentially dangerous situation.
10. Jennifer Troya, fourth grade, Rockway Elementary School
Jennifer overheard a teacher from a nearby middle school mention to her mother that a student in his Civics class did not have a computer/mobile device to work on assignments at home. The student would visit the library and wait for a computer in order to access class and assignments often times with limited audio and visuals. This student had much potential to succeed but without the device he was struggling this school year and unfortunately the parents did not have the funds to purchase a device for their child to use for schooling. Jennifer shared with her family that she wanted to help this middle school student and began to visit business owners she knew in the area and told them the story she had overheard about a student in need of a mobile device. She asked for donations from business owners and family members so that she could purchase a device for the student. She collected enough money to purchase the device and handed the middle school student his NEW mobile device. It is during challenging times that people should step up to help others and show kindness. For students learning remotely the most necessary resource is a mobile device and in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, Jennifer took a moment to stop and realize she had much more than others and through her efforts and acts of humility, she helped someone in need.