One student tutored Algebra 1 and geometry to children diverted from the juvenile justice system, posting teacher videos to help them retain their knowledge. Another presented magic shows to children in hospitals and special education programs, and created an anti-bullying campaign built around magic. A third baked hundreds of birthday cakes to give to children in need throughout the county.
These were among the accomplishments of the 45 Honorable Mentions in the 57th Annual Silver Knight Awards ceremony, held Wednesday at the James L. Knight Center in Miami. The awards, given by the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, honor outstanding high school seniors at Miami-Dade and Broward public and private schools. The schools nominate hundreds of seniors for the 15 academic categories of awards. A panel of judges picks winners in each category, along with three honorable mentions per category.
The students who earned the honorable mention accolades were impressive.
Mira Meyers, a senior at Carol City High and honorable mention in mathematics, was singled out for her work in teaching Algebra I and Geometry to students who had been given a second chance by the juvenile court system. Every Thursday in the summer, she would go to their facility and tutor her charges in math. In addition, she began ACT/SAT study groups for students at her school.
Arianna Tapia, after returning from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, returned to John A. Ferguson Senior High and began collecting more than 200 new and gently used shoes to give to the impoverished villagers she met. She’s also teaching dance to children of special needs; she was an honorable mention in music and dance.
Daniel Guberek, a senior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School and honorable mention in general scholarship, has taken his passion for magic and created a magic program for children in hospitals, in special education programs and at elementary schools.
Katherine Pfleger, a senior at Ransom Everglades School and an honorable mention in athletics, spun her love of baking into Bake A Wish Cakes, which bakes birthday cakes for children and young adults in need. Since founding the organization in 2011, which includes a website that solicits donations, she and others have baked nearly 1,000 cakes, all individually decorated.
For Kaylan Coke from Palmetto Senior High School, who received an honorable mention in the digital & interactive media category, community service was about giving women in the Agape Network a creative outlet. She started a creative writing class and published a literary magazine every month with the women’s work.
“I feel extremely honored and blessed to be recognized as a Silver Knight. I feel really proud of what I’ve accomplished, and the fact that other people feel that what I’ve accomplished is worthwhile is a truly amazing feeling,” Kaylan said.
Here, then, are the Miami-Dade County Honorable Mentions for the 2015 Silver Knight Awards:
Art: Ariana Bueno, Ronald W. Reagan Doral Senior High School; Taylor Davis, Coral Reef Senior High School; Yekaterina Kaydash, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Athletics: Guy Fernandes, MAST Academy; Terry Jefferson, Booker T. Washington Senior High; Katherine Pfleger, Ransom Everglades School.
Business: Ryan Amoils, Miami Country Day; Julian Lafaurie, Coral Reef Senior High School; George Ramirez, Coral Gables Senior High School.
Digital and Interactive Media: Kaylan Coke, Miami Palmetto Senior High School; Santiago Gutierrez, School for Advanced Studies; Shirley Plotnik, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Drama: Katelyn Bourke, Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School; Iara Dircie, Coral Reef Senior High School; Laura Katz, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
English and Literature: Nina Alvarado, Miami Southridge Senior High School; Andres Hidalgo, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School; Madison Ramirez, St. Brendan High School.
General Scholarship: Yaretson Carmenate, Medical Academy for Science and Technology (MAST) at Homestead; Daniel Guberek, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School; Maia Suazo-Maler, Palmer Trinity School.
Journalism: Gabriella Llano, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy; Angela Ortiz, School for Advanced Studies; Lina Zuluaga, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Mathematics: Esteban Gonzalez, Mater Academy; Joseph Levy, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School; Mira Meyers, Miami Carol City Senior High School.
Music and Dance: Francoise Giraldo, iPreparatory Academy; Rafael Pimentel, School for Advanced Studies; Arianna Tapia, John A. Ferguson Senior High School.
Science: Leila Abdelrahman, Coral Reef Senior High School; Fabian Aristizabal, Mater Academy; Nicole Newman, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Social Science: Nicholas Caine, Miami Beach Senior High School; Briana Graham, Miami Carol City Senior High School; Angela Rodriguez, Hialeah Senior High School.
Speech: Tyler Anderson, Christopher Columbus High School; Olivia Brown, Miami Carol City Senior High School; Parker Yagman, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.
Vocational Technical: Aurora Izquierdo, Miami Senior High School; Joseph Maura, South Dade Senior High; Ariana Ramsundar, Palmetto Senior High School.
World Languages: Luis Fernandez, Hialeah Gardens Senior High; Andrea Morales, South Dade Senior High; Dan Sicorsky, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.