Award Winner

Award (42 of 60)

Melani Garcia

Seventh Grade, Hialeah Gardens Middle

On the afternoon of November 9th, a school bus full of students on their way home including Alejandro, Melani, and Emily, was involved in a terrible accident with four other vehicles, leaving one person dead and two injured.  A truck ran over a pedestrian, who died on the scene, and then hit several cars including their bus.  During a time of extreme stress, Melani, Alejandro, and Emily stepped up and ensured the wellbeing of their fellow peers.  Melani was interviewed and gave vital witness information including seeing a man and child in one of the other cars bleeding profusely.  Emily assisted the bus driver who was visibly shaken and also helped take photos and videos of the scene. Emily and Alejandro also helped a young lady who was in the front of the bus during the crash and was experiencing a panic attack.  They then led all the students to the back of the bus and Alejandro made jokes about missing his haircut appointment which helped ease the tension.  Emily then assisted with translating for police and the bus driver and helped collect all the students’ information before they were reunited with their families.  Despite the panic, shock, and confusion that set in, luckily all students on the bus were safe other than minor cuts.  Melani, Alejandro, and Emily prevented a very stressful situation from erupting into chaos on that bus. Their calm, reassuring demeanor and even jokes at times, kept their classmates safe.  These students were able to maintain their composure and focus on helping others, something very difficult to do under extreme circumstances.  For their ability to take control under duress, assist police, and lead others to safety, this trio of heroes is being honored.