1. Osmiel Caballero, eighth grade, Paul W. Bell Middle:
During distance learning, one of Osmiel’s friends disclosed to him that they were at risk for hurting themselves. Osmiel was concerned for his friend and gave his friend good advice in their conversation. However; he did not just leave it at that, he also reported it to the school. The friend was able to get help and stay safe thanks to Osmiel!
2. Daniel Chavez, eighth grade, Palm Springs Middle:
Daniel chose to do the right thing when one of his peers lost his Apple AirPods in the cafeteria. Daniel found the AirPods and turned them in right away. The student approached Daniel and was very thankful. While many students might have thought to keep such a pricey accessory for themselves, Daniel knew he had to do what was right.
3. Kasandra Diaz-Hernandez, second grade, Colonial Drive Elementary:
Kasandra is a polite and helpful student. She makes sure students are properly wearing their masks and assists so each student in her row is properly spaced in line. At home, Kasandra helps her grandmother cook and clean and is always by her grandmother’s side bringing her medicine every night. She also helps at home by picking up mangoes in her backyard. During the transition of students to in-person learning, one of her classmates was afraid and had tears in her eyes. The student did not speak English and the new experience was overwhelming. Immediately, Kasandra began to speak to the new student to comfort her. She volunteered to translate for her and the new student’s demeanor changed immediately. Kasandra’s compassion and care to help the new student truly made a difference and the student was more receptive to her learning environment. During these difficult times where students are learning to navigate a new and different classroom experience, Kasandra stepped up in a time of need. Kasandra knows that helping is always the right thing to do.
4. Andrea De Francisco, second grade, Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Elementary:
Andrea is a kind and caring young girl who believes in helping others. She has grown out her hair twice to be donated to make wigs for children battling cancer. She does this simply because she wants to help others. She works very hard and puts maximum effort in all her studies. Her teachers say she is a role model for others, following the rules and exemplifying outstanding character. Outside of school, she participates in a dance group called ProBallet. Andrea loves gardening and creating arts & crafts projects. She also has two dogs Rocky and Lola which she helps to take care of. Andrea’s mother says that if Andrea receives any treats in class she will save it to share with her family at home. Andrea truly has a heart of gold!
5. Isabella Giret, twelfth grade, School for Advanced Studies Wolfson:
For the last couple of years, Isabella has raised money to buy items that could be included in care packs that are donated to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or are in the process of recovering after surgery. Isabella regularly participates in support group meetings for women dealing with this issue and is strongly committed to making a difference in this area. She also volunteers with United Way and was selected as a Youth Institute Fellow for United Way. In this role Isabella helped create a resource website to fight against gun violence in Miami. In addition, she also volunteered for three summers at the veteran’s hospital and helped prepare disabled veterans for the national wheelchair games. Isabella shows true passion for helping her community.
6. Victoria Marquez, eighth grade, Lamar Louise Curry Middle:
Victoria intervened when she learned about a friend’s suicide attempt. She alerted her mother who called the police and her friend got the help she needed. Victoria’s willingness to speak up for her friend should be recognized. Thanks to young people like Victoria, we continue to increase mental health awareness and end the stigma. In addition, Victoria is an excellent student, earning mostly A’s on her first report card. She is also a part of the school’s IB (International Baccalaureate) Magnet Program and is in the Advanced Dance class, representing her school at performances. Victoria’s truly does the right thing.
7. Adriana Navarro, eleventh grade, Hialeah Gardens Senior High, Washington, D.C. Trip Winner:
Adriana has shown courage and dedication during an especially trying time for her. Her father passed away due to COVID-19 and her mother had to be hospitalized. While her mother recovered, Adriana was unable to see her and became the caretaker for her 6-year-old brother. She admitted that there were times that she did not have enough to eat. However, she made sure that her little brother ate and that she helped him be prepared to start first grade by reading to him and letting him draw and write. She also played with him to keep him busy. Despite these challenges, she has not complained or felt sorry for herself and made sure to complete her assignments. She wakes up at 4:30 am to help get her little brother ready for school and both get dropped off so that her mom can be at work on time. Her dream is to become a Veterinary Physician and she hopes to attend school at The University of Florida. She maintains a GPA of 3.5 and is involved in several clubs. Things are not easy for Adriana but she remains a well-mannered and positive young lady who is dedicated to persevering through difficult times. She is really doing the right thing, not just for herself but for everyone around her.
8. Yurisleidys Palacios, twelfth grade, Booker T. Washington Senior High:
Cadet Colonel Yurisleidys Palacios epitomizes the ‘Do The Right Thing’ mantra. Serving as Group Commander over the 176-student Air Force JROTC cadet corps at her school requires a keen sense of leadership, discipline, selflessness, & vision. Yurisleidys demonstrates her ability to lead by founding scholastic organizations such as the Citizens’ Science Program, organizing & hosting 30-40 person color guard practices, and creating progressive inner-corps tutorial mechanisms; while maintaining a 4.3 weighted GPA. Ever-advancing, Cadet Palacios interned 107 hours w/ Achieve Miami to help equip herself for her post college career in Aerospace Engineering, and dedicated 15 hours of community service with Achieve Miami Empower. Yurisleidys’ academic success has not come without struggle. As an immigrant from Cuba and one of the first to complete her level in high school, she has overcome many feats, including bullying & language barriers. This rising star has a heart of gold and the humblest soul. Cadet Colonel Palacios does the “Right Thing” every opportunity she gets and encourages her peers to do so as well.
9. Gwendolyn Roberts, seventh grade, Lawton Chiles Middle:
Gwendolyn demonstrated generosity, creativity, initiative and heart when she launched her own benevolent project, a specialty fashion shop, where she sells custom-made shirts. She uses the money she earns from this venture to purchase uniforms for students in need. Not only was she responsible for raising the necessary funds, Gwendolyn also visited the stores to purchase the uniforms, which were 3 sets per child, and made sure that every garment showcased the school logo she is so proud of. As a final stroke of her precocious and philanthropic spirit, Gwendolyn purchased Halloween masks for these less fortunate students. It was important for her to provide them with a spark of joy and belonging on this well-loved, childhood holiday. Her work ethic and her generosity exemplify what it means to do the right thing.
10. Esli Villareal, third grade, Colonial Drive Elementary, Rapids Water Park Trip Winner:
This past summer, during the covid pandemic, Esli was very concerned about the children who are her mom’s patients. She worried about their wellbeing and wanted to do something to bring comfort to them. She decided each time her family visited McDonald’s she would give her mom the toy inside the Happy Meal to give to a patient. For almost six months, Esli has collected more than 100 toys which her mom has given to a sick child or a child who was given a shot. Her efforts have truly made a difference as her mother reports that upon giving the toy to those children who cry or are feeling ill, it immediately puts a smile on their faces. Esli is small in stature, but has a huge heart! She also makes donations of clothes and shoes to children in Panama. Every Christmas, Esli gathers items to donate to needy children. Even in school, her teacher is amazed at Esli’s attention to other students’ needs. She is always offering her help to assist her peers to solve problems. She works hard on her assignments and challenges herself to be successful. She is a teacher’s helper who is always helping students follow the rules and keep up with their assignments and makes the classroom enjoyable and inviting. In any time of need, she is always searching for a way to make a difference by doing the right thing. Esli is still eating Happy Meals and donating her toys to this day and she will continue because she says, “It is the right thing to do!”