Award Category Descriptions


Art Excellence should be demonstrated through creative ability in drawing, painting, sculpture, fabrics, photography, graphic design or any other medium in the visual arts. Service may include the teaching, inspiration or encouragement of others through the use of visual arts. Art nominees are encouraged to bring a portfolio of their work to the interview.

Athletics Excellence should be demonstrated through physical education or leadership and participation in individual and team sports in the school and community. A nominee may be a participant in sports not included in a school’s athletic program (i.e., archery, sailing, equestrian events). Service and activities may include managing recreation programs, coaching or assisting in athletic activity that contributes to the welfare of others.

Business Excellence should be demonstrated through accounting, entrepreneurial initiatives, marketing and distributive education or consumer education. Service and activities may include the application of office technology and business organization for the benefit of the community. Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) may be a major outlet for service.

Drama Excellence should be demonstrated through acting, singing, film, video or radio, dance in theatrical productions, or staging and directing such productions. Service and activities may include designing sets, writing original scripts, directing, performing music or otherwise assisting in choreography or technical productions that may address community concerns. Vocalists who are not involved in theatrical productions are better suited for the Music and Dance category.

English & Literature Excellence should be demonstrated through leadership or initiation of activities related to a fuller understanding of the English language, especially an appreciation for literature. Service and activities may include tutoring in basic reading skills, fostering a love of reading, or encouraging individual expression through written communication.

General Scholarship Excellence should be demonstrated through accelerated studies, such as research in science or mathematics; by tutoring in any academic area; or by encouraging participation in advanced studies and competition. A nominee must have superior academic achievements and must submit a complete high-school transcript that includes class rank or percentile, test scores such as SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement exams, and first-semester grades for 12th grade.

Journalism Excellence should be demonstrated by using writing, editing or reporting skills to benefit others in school, church or civic organizations, or through newspapers, magazines or electronic media in the community. Photographers may be better suited for the Art category unless their photos are used in news publications. Producers and technicians for television programs should choose the Vocational-Technical category unless they are involved in news writing and editing. Nominees may bring a yearbook or several editions of a student newspaper to the interviews, but no more than one edition of the newspaper may accompany the Entry Form.

Mathematics Excellence should be demonstrated by contributing to mathematical knowledge through individual or group research; by fostering interest in advanced mathematics; by tutoring in mathematics, or by using computer science to benefit the community.

Music & Dance Excellence should be demonstrated by performing vocal, instrumental music, or dance for the benefit of others, or by fostering wider participation and appreciation for music through school, church or civic organizations. Service and activities may include leading groups that share musical talents with the community. A nominee does not have to participate in a high school’s music classes or ensembles but must document advanced study of an instrument (i.e. vocalist, piano, harp, pipe organ). Music and Dance nominees are encouraged to bring a sample of their work (including the vehicle to play their sample) or other method of demonstrating their ability in this category.

Digital & Interactive Media Interactive media is the integration of electronic text, graphics, moving images, and sound, into a structured digital computerized environment that allows people to connect and utilize the data for appropriate purposes. Excellence in this area should be demonstrated by using digital and interactive media skills to create a product that is digitally distributed to benefit others in a school, civic or religious organization or by creating a digital product through text, pictures, animation, video, sound, web page development, social media, or the Internet for the community. The areas of television, film, music composition, and photography may be better suited for Drama, Art, Music & Dance, or Vocational Technical categories unless their digital and interactive media projects or major service contributions are a result of the student initiating, developing, and facilitating the creative process. It is encouraged that nominees bring a portfolio demonstrating the creative process for the product to the interview (including the vehicle to play their sample). Science Excellence should be demonstrated through advanced study or application of the principles of chemistry, physics, biology, botany, earth and space sciences, physiology and other specific areas, or by encouraging study in these areas. Judges will evaluate the service rendered through hospital laboratory research against the academic credits given a nominee for such research. Other service or activities may include promoting the preservation of the environment or working to save an endangered species.

Social Science Excellence should be demonstrated through the use of knowledge of American and world history, current events, political science, economics, or sociology for the benefit of others. Service or activities may include activities related to Student Government as well as local, state and federal government (i.e. issue advocacy, voter registration and political campaigns); fundraising or volunteering for social service organizations such as United Way and various health and human service agencies; and history education and preservation.

Speech Excellence should be demonstrated through debate or public speaking. Service or other activities may include organizing public forums, serving as a moderator or spokesperson, performing speech therapy, or encouraging individual expression through oral communication. A public speaker involved in advocacy of current issues but not having classes in speech or debate may be better suited for Social Science.

Vocational-Technical Sometimes mirroring programs found in career technical tracks, these students should demonstrate excellence through the use of skills i agriculture, business, computing, construction, creative, culinary, healthcare, human services, mechanical and technical fields. Services and activities may include participation and membership in clubs such as Youth Crime Watch, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Technology Student Association (TSA), Junior Engineering Technological Society (JETS), Cooperative Education Clubs of Florida (CECF), and Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA). Graphic design students whose major service contributions or projects include web or multi-media components might be better suited for the Digital and Interactive Media Category. World Languages Excellence should be demonstrated by advancing the study of world languages or using a language, as a writer, translator, or interpreter for the benefit of others. A nominee is engaged in the study of any language other than English, even if it is the study of a nominee’s native tongue. Judges will consider the level of advanced study and the extent that the language is “foreign” to a nominee. Service and activities may include promoting better national relations and multicultural understanding, using the world language to help others.

Read more About the Silver Knight Awards stories from the Miami Herald

  • 2013-2014 Coordinator Guidebook

    Welcome to Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards program. We look forward to your school's participation in this exciting program that recognizes outstanding high school seniors. To facilitate this, we have prepared simple guidelines that explain the program and the steps involved in its establishment and implementation.

  • What is a Silver Knight?

    The Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards is one of the nation’s most highly regarded student awards programs. The purpose of this Awards program is to recognize outstanding students who have not only maintained good grades but have also unselfishly applied their special knowledge and talents to contribute significant service to their schools and communities. The Silver Knight Awards program was instituted at The Miami Herald in 1959 by John S. Knight, past publisher of The Miami Herald, founder and editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and 1968 Pulitzer Prize winner.

  • Qualifications & Nomination Process

    The Silver Knight Awards program is open to 12th-grade students in public, private and parochial schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties with a minimum 3.2 unweighted GPA. Class rank and /or percentile are no longer required. Only students with this academic requirement in addition to strong records of service to their school and community should be nominated. Students in vocational and adult centers must be nominated by the public high school to which they would be assigned by residence. Schools may nominate one student per category. Nominating students is the responsibility of each high school.

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