“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.