Friends and Neighbors

More than 170 eighth-graders write essays exploring ‘How Can We All Get Along”

Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Competition for eighth-graders in Miami-Dade County at Books and Books in Coral Gables on Jan 4, 2014.
Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Competition for eighth-graders in Miami-Dade County at Books and Books in Coral Gables on Jan 4, 2014.
Mitchell Zachs /

Special to the Miami Herald

Miami-Dade County eighth-graders stepped up to the challenge to write on the theme “How Can We All Get Along?" for the 26th annual Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Contest.

Three winning essays were chosen from among 176 submitted. The top entries and the young writers were celebrated at a recent awards ceremony held at Books & Books in Coral Gables.

Congratulations to first place winner Adriana Trueba from St. Louis Covenant School.

Katherine Garcia from Hammocks Middle School won the second place prize and Danelle Antelo from Miami Arts Charter School won the prize for third place. Their encouraging teachers were honored as well. They are Meghan Davis of St. Louis Covenant School, Maggie Izquierdo of Hammocks Middle School, and Jen Karetnick of Miami Arts Charter School.

Steve Liebowitz, author, life coach, and Managing Partner of Wisdom At Work, was the special guest speaker at the awards ceremony. The students also read their essays to a very proud crowd of family, teachers and friends. Creative Writing Contest Chair Connie Goodman-Milone was the emcee at the ceremony.

“The wisdom of these young writers is wonderful,” Goodman-Milone said. “They give us hope that we can come together and get along."

The Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court Queen Camila Romero, Princess Skyler Odin, Princess Alexis Santana, and Little Sister Celine Alvarez assisted at the awards presentation.

TD Bank is the title sponsor of the Creative Writing Contest with the South Florida Writers Association serving as co-sponsor. The committee sponsors include the South Florida Writers Association, Books & Books, HistoryMiami, Pérez Art Museum Miami, and Friends of the Everglades.

For more about getting involved with the South Florida Writers Association visit


The Village Council in Pinecrest recently honored the memory of resident William Wilder with a street in his name. Southwest 113th Street from Southwest 72nd Court to Southwest 73rd Court will now be known as William Wilder Way.

Wilder, who passed away in October 2012, made a lasting impression on all who knew him, said longtime neighbor Gil Levine.

“His three children and work as a captain pilot with Eastern Airlines kept him busy. But when he was home, he found time to get out and play with the children and chat with neighbors,” Levine said in a release. “His wife Onie would often open the door to little persons who would ask if Mr. Wilder could come out and play.”

Wilder moved to Pinecrest in 1965. He had served in the U.S. Navy during World World II and then piloted the iconic Goodyear Blimp. He was a pilot for 28 years with Miami-based Eastern.

His friend Levine petitioned the Village Council for the street name honor. He said Wilder was especially helpful to neighbors. After retirement he stayed busy in his beloved Pinecrest neighborhood.

“Bill was always out busying himself with yard and maintenance of his home and even the chores of his neighbors, who knew he could always be called upon for a helping hand,” Levine said.


New bricks to honor troops were recently placed at the Veterans’ Memorial in Losner Park in historic Downtown Homestead. The names include three soldiers and one Marine who died in the line of duty, and two Navy veterans.

The names added to the wall are U.S. Army Staff Sgt Charles Geronimo, of Hialeah, who was killed in Vietnam on May 12, 1968; U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Steve E. Byars, of Lorida, Fla., who was killed in Vietnam on March 23, 1969; U.S. Army Spc. Gerardo Campos, of Homestead, who was killed in Afghanistan on June 2, 2012; and U.S. Army Spc. Bernard Hill Jr., of Homestead, who was killed in Germany in an accident on April 24, 2012.

The names of the Navy veterans added are Navy Chief Petty Officer Bobby L. Loudy, of Homestead, who served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars; and John Askins, of Homestead, who served from 1967 to 1971 with duty in Vietnam in 1969.

The Masonry Class of the Homestead Job Corps Center, under the direction of instructor Terry Devine, positioned the memorial bricks in their places of honor. Workers with the City of Homestead Parks and Recreation Department make sure to respectfully maintain the Veterans’ Memorial at all times.

If you wish to remember a family member, friend or loved one who served honorably in uniform you may do so by purchasing a memorial brick for $50.

Applications can be submitted at the Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum, Tuesday through Saturday 1-5 p.m., or by contacting Bob Jensen at 305-248-0976 or at

The bricks are installed once annually and engraving takes time. Orders should be placed as soon as possible.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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