School Scene: St. Brendan High students adopt families, donate food for holidays

The students of St. Brendan High School students have been involved with San Juan Bosco’s Leadership Learning Center in Little Havana since 2007. Students have been mentors and tutors at the learning center and have donated food, clothing and school supplies.

This year, student government leaders of St. Brendan High decided to adopt families for Thanksgiving. Forty-one classrooms, along with school clubs and honor societies, donated goods to fill Thanksgiving boxes for families in need. Each box was decorated and included canned vegetables, a five-pound bag of rice, black and red beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, biscuit mix, aluminum foil, a roasting pan, olive oil, seasoning, desert, evaporated milk, instant flan, and a Winn-Dixie gift card for a turkey. A total of 100 boxes were completed.

St. Brendan students will also be working with San Juan Bosco students for the Christmas season.

Miami Lakes Educational Center

Alejandra Mendoza, Salwa Raza, David Pacheco and Julissa Higgins of Miami Lakes Educational Center received early acceptance into prestigious universities.

Alejandra, a Questbridge Scholar, earned a full tuition scholarship to Columbia University; Salwa, a Posse Scholar, was accepted to Mount Holyoke College; David was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Julissa was accepted to Harvard College.

Hamilton College

Sean Smith, son of Clifton Smith of Miami and Sheila Smith of Miramar, recently received a grant from The Steven Daniel Smallen Memorial Fund at Hamilton College. The fund was created to encourage student creativity by providing funds for projects that show originality and imagination. Sean plans to use the award toward his project Black Sheep, which will investigate the relationship between photography, philosophy, race and gender.

Sean is a senior majoring in art; he graduated from Robert Morgan Educational Center.

Jackson High School

Students of Jackson High School will learn ways to use STEM curriculum — science, technology, engineering and math — in agriculture and food production through a $20,000 grant from Verizon. Jackson is one of 80 schools to receive funds from the $1.6 million Verizon Innovative Learning grant program that aims to help schools that are under-served in STEM resources.

Assistant principal Ana Barreto; associate superintendent of the Education Transformation Office Pablo G. Ortiz; state Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami; Miami-Dade County School Board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall; and instructor Agostinho Ferreira received the check on behalf of the high school.

G. Holmes Braddock High School

Naomi Cabrera and Jonathan Lopera of G. Holmes Braddock High School were recognized by Miami-Dade County School Board member Marta Perez during her town hall meeting in October. Perez gave Naomi the Academic Achievement award, and Jonathan received the Outstanding Effort award for their achievements.