South Florida’s eighth-grade writers took on the daunting topic “In Light of Natural Disasters and Conflict in the World, What Does Peace Mean to Me?” for the 30th annual Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Contest.
There were 111 submissions this year in the writing event co-sponsored by the South Florida Writers Association. The 11 finalists and top winners were celebrated Feb. 11 at Books & Books in Coral Gables.
“We are all so proud of the winners. They took on a challenging topic in a meaningful way,” said Connie Goodman-Milone, Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing director, in an email. Samantha Jones served as chair of the event with Cecilia Zamora-Stevenson as vice chair.
Maria Arango of Miami Arts Charter School was announced as first-place winner. Valentina Delgado of St. Louis Covenant School won second place. Lianet Jimenez of Hialeah Gardens Middle School won the prize for third place.
Jen Karetnick of Miami Arts Charter School, Meghan Davis of St. Louis Covenant School and Odell Rivas of Hialeah Gardens Middle School were the winning teachers.
Guest speaker at the ceremony was Miami Herald columnist Bea L. Hines, who “inspired us all,” Goodman-Milone said.
The winning students read their work to a full audience and received award checks from the South Florida Writers Association. Their essays will be published in the Author’s Voice newsletter.
The Coral Gables Community Foundation also supports the awards. The teachers were awarded through the South Florida Writers Association, and Books & Books gave gift cards for the winning students and teachers. Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books received a commemorative appreciation plaque at the ceremony for his support of the writing contest.
Also attending the ceremony were Junior Orange Bowl President Michelle Benitez-Bermudez, and the Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court with Princess Lauren Dominguez, Princess Megan Dominguez, and Little Sister Angela Guerra assisting in the awards presentation.
Play kickball for charity
Imagine trying to breathe through a straw. That’s how cystic fibrosis patients often describe their disease.
You can help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raise funds at a family-oriented kickball tournament where participants join a team and engage in a day of athletics, CF awareness, and competitive spirit.
Kick CF with Bryant McKinnie & Friends Celebrity Kickball Tournament, presented by A Auto Tech and TravelWithSharon.com, will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Palmetto Bay Park, 17535 SW 95th Ave.
The event is supported by a group of NFL and college football alumni, and also some active players. The winning team will play against the football alumni in the tournament championship game.
Scheduled to appear are Bryant McKinnie, Antrell Rolle, Jonathan Vilma, DJ Williams, Brett Romberg, Edgerrin James, Olivier Vernon, Roscoe Parrish, Larry Johnson, Brent Grimes, Jordan Lucas, Damien Berry and Mo Sykes.
Teams consist of 8 to 12 people. Registration cost for an adult and family team is $600. Teen team registration, ages 14 to 18 is $450. Youth team registration, ages 8 to 13, is $450. Registered guest tickets are $15. For more call 786-255-0363 or write Jerry@CureCFMiami.org. Register a team at https://kickcfmiami2018.passioncff.org/. Food will be served.
Cystic fibrosis is a rare genetic disease, and 60 years ago most children did not live long enough to go to elementary school. Now, thanks to Foundation-based research and care, the median survival age is 40.
Villagers’ Garden Tour
Sign up for A Rendezvous in the Redland, The Villagers’ 2018 Garden Tour, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at two expansive and multidimensional properties. Members of The Villagers will guide tour-goers through the South Miami-Dade Redland sites at 21900 SW 157th Ave. and 28100 SW 182nd Ave.
Participants will find a vast collection of orchids, Asian-inspired accents, water features, a restored hardwood hammock, paths, pools and tropical plants.
“We are doing something very different this year and know our guests are going to love it,” said Loyda Lewis, president of The Villagers in a release. “Patch of Heaven Gardens is expansive enough for an entire tour on its own, with 20 spectacular acres and several beautifully furnished buildings, and the private gardens of the owner of RF Orchids are stunning. It’s definitely worth the drive south.”
Visitors drive their own vehicles to the venues. Wear flat comfortable shoes. Wheelchairs, walkers and strollers cannot be accommodated. No smoking or commercial photography allowed. Tickets are $30, advance purchase and $35 the day of the event, if not sold out. They are available through members or online, with a $2 service fee, at http://thevillagersinc.org/. Proceeds support historic preservation.
Parent talk about social media
Everyone can join the community at Miami Palmetto Senior High School when the PTSA hosts attorney Lori Smith at a parent-education event called “The Parents Playbook: How to Help Your Teen Avoid Costly Mistakes Online.”
The free presentation is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7460 SW 118th St., and will cover “the most common mistakes high school students make online; the legal implications of social media mistakes; new Apps to be aware of and the biggest concerns on school campuses; how online behavior affects school enrollment, college admissions, and sports recruiting; and how parents can monitor children to avoid school disciplinary issues,” organizers said in an email.
Smith will provide resources and will stay after the presentation for a Q&A. Earlier, she will talk to Palmetto students about their perspectives on social media and managing their online worlds. This is part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ ongoing efforts to promote Positive Digital Citizenship.
A 1995 graduate of the University of Florida School of Law, Smith has spent the last five years as a frequent lecturer in Florida on social media usage by teens and tweens. She is a shareholder in the Orlando law firm of Zimmerman, Kiser and Sutcliffe.
Author talk at Alper JCC
Paul Goldberg, author of “The Yid,” will discuss his newest novel “The Chateau,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Alper JCC Futernick Art Gallery, 11155 SW 112th Ave. The event is $10 and includes refreshments.
According to Publishers Weekly, the book is “a salty, witty, tragic comedy about Russian Jewish immigrants, Florida retirees, condo living, elderly sex, old folks who scam the early bird dinner special and more.”
Visit early to see quilts by local artist Nancy Billings in the gallery. This event is being hosted with Books & Books. For more, visit www.alperjcc.org or call 305-271-9000 ext. 269.
If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at email@example.com.