Honorable mentions: Alexa Halvorssen, Miami Country Day School; Rosa Acosta, South Dade Senior High School; Lauren Perez-Maiy, Florida Christian School.
English & Literature
Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School
Born in Capetown as the daughter of a political refugee, Gabi moved to Miami with her family at age 5 and found comfort in literature. That passion motivated her to help students who struggled with reading and to engage others in the classics. She led a weekly FCAT tutoring program through her role as president of the English Honor Society and hosted a book club. Her poetry about her immigration from South Africa won her a Scholastic Art and Writing Competition gold award, and her belief in the power of words has driven her toward politics and law. Last year, she was awarded a Best Position Paper for her work on human rights in the Miami Model United Nations Conference. She is an AP Scholar of Distinction and a National Merit semi-finalist and hopes to pursue a law degree.
Honorable mentions: Karen Azevedo Fernandez, Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School; Kelsey Parker, Westminster Christian School; Sandy Rodriguez, Miami Lakes Educational Center.
Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School
Watching his grandfather return from serving in the Navy and then undergo a series of minor amputations at a VA hospital led Stephen to research prosthetics and push a support drive for homeless veterans. He volunteered in labs at the University of Miamis Miller School of Medicine, where he conducted tests on soft tissue specimens and co-authored a paper on the biomechanics of muscle, fat and skin. He also spearheaded the Help Our Veterans collection drive to collect and distribute care packages to South Floridas homeless veterans, and created a program to foster relationships between students and nursing home residents. He is president of his schools National Honor Society, Science Honor Society and speech and debate team. Stephen is an AP Scholar with Distinction.
Honorable mentions: Alice Serfati, Ben Lipson Hillel Community High School; Lucia Baca, Coral Reef Senior High School; Brenda Abreu Molnar, Terra Environmental Research Institute.
Juliana Margarite Lopez
Coral Reef Senior High School
Juliana was tutoring Fairlawn Elementary students for whom English is a second language when she realized the after-school sessions, taught in Spanish, were fostering expression and raising awareness in the community about Hispanic culture. So last year, she and two classmates collaborated on an annual Spanish literary and art magazine for their school, called Humánitas. The publication is an affiliate of her schools Spanish Honor Society devoted to raising awareness about Hispanic heritage and promoting interest in literature and the arts. Juliana is the consulting literary/art editor. She has volunteered at Sunset Elementary, the unique Adult Day Care Center, and at Mercy Hospital, and is an active member of the Coral Reef chapter of Best Buddies. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction.
Honorable mentions: Megan Ely, MAST Academy; Sabrina Rodriguez, Hialeah High School; Briana Boone, Northwest Christian Academy.
Miami Palmetto Senior High School
A trip to the Chinese countryside when she was 10 changed Alexandras life. At every stop, beggars in rags asked for help, which she was unable to give. Vowing to empower others by first empowering herself, Alexandra co-founded SANUZA Charity Group. Through the organization, she raised thousands for the Miami food bank La Casita and Centers of Hope, a school and services hub in Guatemala. She provided Thanksgiving meals, clothes, books and toys to the needy, and school supplies to Haitian students. In 2011, received the Presidents Volunteer Service Award for her service at Miami Childrens Hospital. She is president of her schools chapter of Amnesty International and vice president of the Key Club. Alexandra is a National AP Scholar and winner of the Brown University Book Award.