Coral Gables High senior wins Prudential Financial 2017 Spirit of Community Award

Annie Farrell of Coral Gables High School was recognized by Prudential Financial as the high school state winner in the 2017 Spirit of Community Awards.
Annie Farrell of Coral Gables High School was recognized by Prudential Financial as the high school state winner in the 2017 Spirit of Community Awards. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Annie Farrell of Coral Gables High School was recognized by Prudential Financial as the high school state winner in the 2017 Spirit of Community Awards. The national program recognizes two students from each state for their community service.

Annie organized three college preparation workshops to help foster-care students of Casa Valentina, an organization that houses young people who have aged out of the system with the college application process. She also recruited two counselors from the University of Miami, three Miami Herald reporters and the education director of a local cultural arts center to help her host the workshops.

Annie — the daughter of Miami Herald photographer Patrick Farrell and Jodi Mailander Farrell, senior director of foundation relations for Adrienne Arsht Center — was nominated by Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida in Miami. She will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and a free trip in May to Washington, D.C.

Judges also recognized several Distinguished Finalists for their community service and awarded them engraved bronze medals. Local finalist included Maisy Lam of Palmetto High School, Leslie Purvis of Doral High School, and Katherine Quesada of American Heritage School.

Maisy founded Foster Hope, Foster Thanks to provide groceries to 65 low-income families for Thanksgiving. She also provides cookies and toys for children year-round.

Leslie created a website, called, to help people improve their cognitive skills after a stroke. Worksheets were created in English, Spanish and French.

Katherine founded Friends for Fosters to provide resources, such as duffel bags and toys, to foster children. Her fundraising efforts include writing letters and hosting bake sales.

Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School

Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School‘s eighth-grade robotics team placed fourth in the Florida First Robotics Competition at The Benjamin School in North Palm Beach. The competition was the South Florida Regional Qualifying Tournament, part of the First Lego League program.

Sebastiaan Bak, Michael Sanchez, Isabella Cardoso, Michael Gonzalez, Alexa Gonzalez, Sofia Kunkel, Vicenté Tomé, Agatha Zapata and Luis Victores met weekly to practice for the competition, and to make sure that their robot could complete all obstacles within 2.5 minutes.

The team focused on finding a solution to the decrease in honey bees. They created a kit that would help create gardens that will increase pollination for honey bees. The kit will be sold to the community.

The team will compete in the South Florida Regional Tournament at Boynton Beach Community High School on Feb. 25.

Barbara Goleman High School

Ryan Franquiz, an alumnus of Barbara Goleman High School, will participate in Hamilton College’s Academic Year in Madrid for the spring 2017 semester.

The program offers liberal arts-oriented classes and the opportunity to enroll into the Madrid University system directly. Students must speak Spanish at all times, in and outside of class.

Franquiz is a junior at Hamilton, and majors in government.

South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union

Miami-Dade high school students recently visited the South Florida Educational Credit Union for National Job Shadow Day.

Juniors and seniors from Miami Jackson, Southwest Miami, Coral Gables, North Miami Beach, G. Holmes Braddock, William H. Turner Technical Arts, Coral Reef, and Hialeah Gardens high schools learned about careers in the credit union industry, met with department managers, participated in an interview workshop, and learned about internship opportunities for the summer.

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

The Black Student Union Club of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart hosted a student panel discussion based on Black Women in America to jumpstart their black history month activities.

Kaela Makins, Kintisa Hallmon, Meagan Hepburn and Tatyana Minnis mentioned the experiences they’ve had as members of a diverse community and how they can learn from their experiences.

The panel was moderated by Felecia Hatcher, founder of Code Fever and Black Tech Week.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Adrianne Richardson at