Jose Amat III (Westwood Christian School), Jordan Fishman (Miami Country Day School), Alexander Toledo (Somerset Academy-South Miami), Alejandro Vargas (Somerset Academy-Silver Palms) and Tatiana Wainer (Scheck Hillel Community School) were honored on the court as the Miami Heat/Miami Herald February Academic/Sportsmanship Team Players in conjunction with Gatorade at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Youth league coaches, team reps, school coaches, administrators, teachers and family members nominated South Florida recreational, travel league, elementary school, middle school or junior varsity basketball players who exhibit sportsmanship and display good grades or improvement in the classroom.
They were congratulated by Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, former Miami Heat coach Ron Rothstein and Miami Heat center Amar’e Stoudemire during warm-ups before the Heat’s game against the Indiana Pacers.
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Each honoree received two game tickets, a Heat T-shirt, an award certificate.
About the honorees
Jose Amat III, 12, is a sixth grader at Westwood Christian School. He plays basketball for his school and is a member of very good AAU travel basketball team, the South Florida Disciples. He is also an ‘A’ student.
Stephanie Klahorts, English teacher at Westwood Christian School, said: “Never one to do something half-way, Jose daily strives to be all that he can be by attacking every new opportunity with enthusiasm and determination.”
Janet Flores, math teacher at Westwood Christian School, said: “It is a delight and joy to teach Jose. He’s always willing to both help and serve others. I firmly believe he truly is becoming a Godly young man.”
Jordan Fishman, 12, is a seventh grader at Miami Country Day School.
Jordan led the Miami Country Day School middle school girls’ basketball team to a 20-0 record, a first in program history. She was named tournament MVP as the Spartans capped off the perfect season by winning the South Florida Middle School Conference Tournament. In the tournament, she combined for 26 points, 14 steals and eight assists.
Jordan was called up to the high school varsity team for the post-season and played a little in the FHSAA state tournament, which MCD won for the third consecutive season at the Lakeland Center.
Miami Country Day School head coach Ochiel Swaby said: “Jordan has a tremendous passion for the game of basketball. She has proven herself to be disciplined in the classroom as well. The determination I see in her will take her far in life.”
Jordan just started playing for the Mo Steel travel basketball team, based at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach.
Academically, she made the Head Master’s List, earning straight A’s for two consecutive nine week periods.
Terri Pasqualin, English teacher at Miami Country Day School, said: “Jordan is tenacious in her desire to learn. She is dedicated, focused and can push through lessons when other students may find it hard to stay in the moment. She is a great role model in the class for self discipline, and she possesses an impressive work ethic.”
Alexander Toledo, 11, is a fifth grader at Somerset Academy in South Miami.
He plays basketball on the fifth and sixth grade team. Unselfish, he always thinks of passing, before taking a shoot, and he helped the team reach the semifinals. Off the court, he maintains a 4.00 grade point average and is on the Honor Society for elementary schools.
Alexander also displays sportsmanship on and off the court.
Reyna Blanco, a Reading, Language Arts & Social Studies fifth grade teacher at Somerset Academy Elementary School (South Miami), said: “Alexander is a young man of intelligence, integrity and talent who displays tenacity in all he does. He is an exemplary student who is successful both on and off the court. His positive attitude and accomplishments in the classroom have helped him serve as a leader and role model for his teammates.”
Angelina Chimenti, a teacher at Somerset Academy Elementary School (South Miami), said: “Alexander Toledo is an exemplary student. He takes pride in his school work and works hard toward success. He is a role model to his peers and a well-rounded young man with shining attributes.”
Alejandro Vargas, 12, is a seventh grader at Somerset Academy (Silver Palms) in Homestead.
He is an amazing basketball player for the YMCA and the Town Miami basketball team. He is also an excellent student at Somerset Academy and an even better person. He is polite and considerate of others.
Alejandro is one of the most caring and well behaved boys. He is a team player with excellent sportsmanship. He is the model of how every player should behave. In addition, he manages to maintain good grades.
Tatiana Wainer, 13, is a seventh grader at Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami Beach. A very good student, she played for her school team as well as the Mo Steel girls’ travel basketball team based at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach.
Scheck Hillel Athletic Director Cindy Lyon said: “I have had the honor of coaching Tatiana Wainer since fourth grade. In middle school, as a sixth grader, she played volleyball and basketball. In seventh grade, she surpassed the middle school level and played on the high school varsity basketball team. She also has been playing club volleyball and travel basketball. Tati is very talented and passionate. Her dedication to Scheck Hillel athletics is amazing. I am so proud of her many accomplishments.”