In an effort to recognize deserving South Florida youth who promote the values of the Be a STAR anti-bullying program, World Wrestling Entertainment tag teamed with the Miami Herald for a contest in conjunction with a WWE show at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
The nominees exemplified the Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) mantra.
Be a STAR was founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE in April 2011. The mission is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness.
Be a STAR promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect because everyone is a star in their own right.
WWE superstars and divas often make school visits throughout the country (and even internationally) throughout the year, discussing how they dealt with bullying and stereotypes growing up and even into adulthood. They encourage students to Be a STAR -- including be positive, ignore cyber-bullying, help others and tell someone (an adult and a friend) if bullying occurs.
Coaches, family members, friends and teacher nominated South Florida youth, describing how that youth has been a STAR at home and/or school, in the neighborhood or within a activity, club or sports environment.
• Here are some stellar South Florida Be a STAR nominees:
From Deborah Waks: “My 10-year-old son, Sean Greene, personifies what it means to be a STAR. Sean is an intelligent and highly sensitive young man who was elected president of his 4th grade class based upon his platform -- no bullying allowed. Sean spoke on the topic with the full authority of a child who in 3rd grade stood up to children who were being bullies toward a young boy with autism whom he had mentored and befriend since they were both 5. Sean told them to stop being mean and that people with autism are the same as anyone else; it’s just that their brain works a little differently. Sean then told the adults at school what happened. This lead to a school- wide discussion about respect and tolerance for people with disabilities.
“This year, at a new school, Sean became a member of the Future Educators of America Club. Sean would go into a 2nd grade classroom where there were children who had been main-streamed from Special Ed, and he would help tutor these kids and assist with special projects. His patience and kindness with these children have never wavered.
“Sean has been an amazing example of a young man who exhibits the utmost of respect, kindness, tolerance and understanding of those who have differing abilities. Throughout the school year, he has maintained straight As, been a member of the safety patrol and competed in Taekwondo where he qualified for Junior Olympics. He has done all of this while being an example to his classmates and Taekwondo teammates of what it truly means to be tolerant and respectful of those who are different.
“I hope that Sean will be considered for the honor of being a STAR. He is most certainly a star in the eyes of his family and friends.”
Sean, who just completed fourth grade at Whispering Pines Elementary School, is from Cutler Bay.
Be a STAR also promotes positive messages. So much of what we do and say is there for others to see via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.