“How Can I Help Build a Better Community?” was the theme for the 25th annual Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Contest and the middle school student winners were honored recently at an awards ceremony at Books & Books in Coral Gables.
Sophie Ruiz from South Miami Middle School was the first place winner. Second place went to Connor Cunningham from Palmetto Middle School, and Audrey Barba from South Miami Middle School won the third-place prize. Winning teachers Alison Wood Griñan of South Miami Middle School and Mary Laughlin of Palmetto Middle School were honored as well.
The Creative Writing Committee received 172 essay submissions from eighth-grade students in Miami-Dade County.
Steve Liebowitz, life coach, author and Managing Partner of Wisdom At Work, was the guest speaker at the Books & Books event. Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Chair Connie Goodman-Milone was emcee and the winning students read their winning entries to a full house.
Lawrence Feldman of the Miami-Dade School Board made the medal presentations to the students and their teachers. He also awarded medals to the winners of the Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court Search Essay Competition. Royal Court Queen Aria Armstead, Princess Sophia Periera, and Princess Maya Elias assisted at the ceremony.
Sponsors of the event included South Florida Writers Association, Books & Books, Miami Art Museum, HistoryMiami, Friends of the Everglades, and vice chair Samantha Jones/Assurant Solutions.
DANCE IN THE GARDENS
Contemporary dancers will perform to classical music when artists with Karen Peterson and Dancers, Crosstown String Quartet, and the Miami String Project join in concert at the Pinecrest Gardens Banyan Bowl Amphitheatre, 11000 SW 57th Ave. in Pinecrest. The performances are at 8 p.m. on Feb. 2, and at 3 p.m. on Feb. 3.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and residents over 60. Call 305-298-5879 for more information or for tickets call 877-496-8499. Tickets are also available at the Pinecrest Gardens Box Office. Check the website for links.
“I love the collaborative spirit, and the dancers enjoy it too. I’m constantly pushing their boundaries,” said Artistic Director and Founder Karen Peterson.
The Karen Peterson and Dancers program features adult dancers with and without disabilities who create and perform "mixed-ability" productions. Founded in 1990 the troupe presents positive role models for the community and offers new visuals for traditional dance audiences. Performances are held year-round. Also at the Pinecrest Gardens event, young mixed ability dancers ages 15 to 22 will perform for the first time with the young musicians of the Miami String Project, ages 12 to 19.
Peterson said she is thrilled to present her new choreography with the Crosstown String Quartet and the Miami String Project in such a beautiful setting as Pinecrest Gardens.
“This gives our audiences the opportunity to view our premiere collaborations of live dance and classical music,” she said.
The performances will include music by Vivaldi, Bach, Britten, Grieg, Petersburski and Piazzolla. The second half, titled “In the Moment,” will feature the collaboration between the youth performers.
Karen Peterson and Dancers recently held a fundraiser for the dance program it hosts for 200 teens with special needs in Miami-Dade Public Schools. The 15-week residency is in its seventh year with students gaining new self-esteem each year, Peterson said.
Congratulations to Bethany Claunch, 16, for recently organizing an outreach event for 17 children at the PATCHES Center in Homestead. More than $500 was raised to benefit this worthwhile charity that provides care for children and their families challenged by complex medical needs.
Bethany is a senior at the School for Advanced Studies-Homestead that meets on the campus of Miami-Dade College. She lives in Keys Gate and plans to attend college next year in the northeast.
“Visiting PATCHES was a life-changing experience for me,” Bethany said. “I’ve always been drawn to helping kids, but seeing the children in need at PATCHES really touched my heart. I plan to major in nursing, so spending time with the PATCHES kids confirmed my career choice.”
The pediatric extended care facility is licensed to host up to 75 children with sub-acute and chronic conditions. The mission of PATCHES is to “provide nursing care to medically complex children and peace of mind to their parents.” To find out how you can help check www.patchesppec.org.
Bring a little harmony into your life with barbershop music at the upcoming “Spring Showcase and Membership Lunch” hosted by the Brandeis National Committee South Miami-Dade Chapter. The event starts with coffee and conversation at 10:15 a.m., Jan. 24 at Temple Judea on U.S. 1 and Granada Boulevard.
The program will feature members of the Miami Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, an international organization that promotes a cappella harmony in schools and communities. Along with the established Miami singers, Director of Music Gene Cokeroft will include a young barbershop group that is part of the Chapter’s “Youth In Harmony Workshops” program.
The luncheon will be catered by Michael’s and is open to the public. Cost is $22 per person. Hurry and contact Jackie Leone at 305-665-4832 or Barbara Bulbin at 305-274-0206. Reservations may be placed until Jan. 21.
Jeanne Jacobs, president of the Miami Dade College Homestead Campus will share her experiences at 12 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the Homestead Community Center, 1601 N. Krome Ave. as part of the Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture series. The event is free.
Jacobs became president of the Homestead Campus in 2005. She brought over 33 years of administrative leadership and teaching to the job. Her current community involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors of Homestead Hospital and trustee membership on the Executive Council of the Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce.
No reservations are required for the lecture. A simple lunch will be available for $10 beginning at 11:30 a.m. Call 305-230-9185 before 2 p.m., Feb. 1 to make a reservation for the meal.