The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has announced the winners of the 2017 Homeless Awareness and Sensitivity Poster and Essay Contest. This year, the 200 entries focused on providing the homeless with the proper services and the importance of treating them fairly.
“The contest is designed to engage students and teachers on ways to address homelessness and avoid serious consequences related to bullying the homeless,” said Ronald Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. “It was clear from this year’s entries that students are really contemplating how to provide the right kind of help.”
This year’s competition debuted a new essay category for students who have been, or are currently, homeless. It was also the first year that two middle-school students earned first-place prizes in the student poster contest: Jesus Bracamonte and Gabriela Marcano, eighth-graders from Ruben Dario Middle School. The third first-place winner was Felix Fernandez, a fourth-grader from Coral Reef Elementary School.
There were also two essay contests held for students who are homeless advocates and students that have been or are currently, homeless. The first essay winner was Jonatan Francois, a 10th-grader at Miami Norland High School, and the second was an anonymous 10-grader who lives at Chapman Partnership, a homeless shelter in downtown Miami.
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The honorable mentions included Aileen Hernaiz, an eighth-grader at Lawton Chiles Middle School, and Sarialis Gonzalez, an eighth-grader at Ruben Dario Middle. The runner ups included eighth-grade students Gretsy Moreno and Kaylee Hawkins of Ruben Dario Middle.
The winning students and their teachers and/or administrators each received an Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet, and the runner ups and honorable mentions received Target gift cards.
Lori Brener Scholarship Fund
The scholarship committee of the Lori Brener Scholarship Fund presented scholarships to the 2017 graduating class of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Miami during their graduation ceremony.
The Lori Brener Scholarship was created in memory of Lori Brener, a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer, and the daughter of Miriam Salazar, a chairwoman of the fund, to help students continue their education and become productive members of society. Students are selected based on their academic achievements and community service. Scholarship amounts range from $2,000 to $6,000 and are awarded based on family income and other financial aid the recipient receives.
Thamar Thebaud, Nicole Cruz, Jamilee Yern, Juwan Harding and Julio Burgos were this year’s scholarship recipients, and Mycah Richardson, Lilly Obando, Aaniyah Sellers, and Ifeoma Duru were given renewal scholarships for having good grades during freshman year.
Thamar will attend Miami Dade College, Nicole will attend the University of Central Florida, Juwan will attend Florida International University, Julio will attend Syracuse University, and Jamilee will attend the University of Florida.
Scheck Hillel Community School
Natalie Broide, an alumna of Scheck Hillel Community School, was honored by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, her second win in a row, for her interest in technology. In 2016, the same organization named her winner of the 2016 South Florida Regional Aspirations in Computing Award.
During high school, Natalie participated in technology conferences, including TECHNOLOchicas and CODeLLA; and was part of Girls Who Code, a national program that aims to teach coding to girls. About two years ago, she built a computer as part of her school’s International Baccalaureate Project.
Natalie graduated from Scheck in May and will be attending the University of Florida in the fall.
Ransom Everglades School
Ashleigh Johnson, a 2016 Olympic Gold Medal winner, and her sister Chelsea Johnson are teaching about 320 underserved students in grades 6 to 12 how to swim this summer as part of the Breakthrough Miami Aquatics Initiative.
Swimming lessons are being held now through July 5 at Ransom Everglades School’s Ansin Aquatic Center, 3575 Main Hwy., in Coconut Grove. The three-week program was designed by the Johnson sisters, both Ransom Everglades alumni, in collaboration with professional swimming instructors.
Both sisters participated in water polo during high school, and Ashleigh earned five state championships in water polo and swimming combined. Later, the Johnson sisters both graduated from Princeton University, and Ashleigh became the first African American to play on the U.S. Olympic water polo team.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and district representatives will host a back-to-school health and family fair at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 8 at the Fair Expo Center, 10901 SW 24 St., in Miami.
The fair will include vendors, giveaways, health screenings, and free backpacks. Parents and guardians can request assistance with school uniforms by registering and bringing an ID and a copy of the student’s recent report card.
For information or to become a vendor or sponsor, call 305-995-1913.
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