Honorable mentions: Cassie Haley, Western High; David Roberts, University School of Nova Southeastern University; Kimberlee Johnson, J.P. Taravella High.
English & Literature
Cypress Bay High School
After reading about foster children aging out of the system and entering adulthood with their belongings packed in garbage bags, Alli and three friends found a way to start them out with dignity: suitcases. They founded Project 1841 (which stands for 18 year olds, four girls, one cause), raising money through bake sales, T-shirt sales and other efforts. They have helped more than 300 teens make the transition when leaving foster care, filling suitcases with toiletries, pillows and other basic necessities. Among her many activities, Alli has also been a leader in the American Sign Language Club, has organized fundraisers for a camp for underprivileged children and writes an education blog.
Honorable mentions: Amy Goodner, St. Thomas Aquinas High; Ilana Wolpert, Pine Crest School; Jody-Ann Powell, Plantation High School
While teaching nutrition at a local Boys and Girls Club, Anna heard about Adarsh, a school in India caring for children with cerebral palsy and autism. She contacted the school's principal and since 2007, Anna has traveled to Adarsh every summer to work with toddlers and their mothers. She raised $3,500 for Adarsh by running a henna tattoo booth at American Heritage's annual multicultural fair. The money helped start projects including a neurovisual rehabilitation program and an outreach van equipped with therapists to treat children unable to attend the school. Anna is also president of the National Honor Society, an AP Scholar with Distinction and the recipient of the faculty's Outstanding Student Award for three years.
Honorable mentions: Jared Harrison Odessky, Nova High; Courtney Librizzi, Coral Springs High; Kimberly Danae Ellis, St. Thomas Aquinas High.
Struggling with dyslexia, Gabrielle turned her disability into an inspiration for others. Writing was her most difficult challenge, but rather than avoid it, she persuaded the yearbook editor to let her join the staff. Eventually named senior editor, Gabrielle realized her experience could help others. She decided to start a yearbook at The Victory School, which assists and educates children with autism. While steering her own yearbook, Gabrielle devised assignments for The Victory School's students, hired a photographer, edited copy and designed the book. She raised money for the project by selling ads and soliciting donations. A dedicated volunteer, Gabrielle is also a member of the Quill and Scroll National Journalism Honor Society.
Honorable mentions: Kristen Celeste Garcia, Saint Thomas Aquinas High; Paula Catalina Garcia Patino, Pompano Beach High; Kristen Suarez, Pembroke Pines Charter High School.
McArthur High School
Zulieth was able to turn her tutoring skills into a successful business. But when she heard about low-income elementary school students struggling to prepare for the FCAT, she launched a free program to help them. She developed a special curriculum that was expanded to other schools, and recruited more tutors. Among the students who benefited was a 19-year-old student struggling to graduate. "I was being held back because of this one math class, " he wrote. "It was like I was falling into darkness." Zulieth, he continued, "was my beacon of light." She has also collected toys and food for the needy and tutored her varsity football team. She is director of her church's youth choir and its sign language group.