A perfect blend of academics and athletics came together on Monday morning when the Dade Schools Athletic Foundation hosted the Annual Miami-Dade County Public Schools Scholar-Athlete Luncheon.
The event was held at the DoubleTree Convention Center Miami Airport Hotel and designed to honor and recognize some of Miami-Dade County’s top athletes — who also maintain high GPAs and other achievements off the field as well.
Many student-athletes brought home hardware and leading the way with top honors were Angela Moon from Miami Springs High School and TERRA Environmental’s Donald Groh. Moon was the winner of the Dade Schools Athletic Foundation Award for Female Student of the Year while Groh won the male award. Each received a check for $2,000 to go towards their upcoming college education.
“It’s awesome to see all of the academic work aside from the athletics pay off and it’s really an honor to be recognized this way,” said Moon a soccer and tennis star who carried a 5.18 weighted GPA at Springs and is headed for Florida State. “There are so many scholar athletes here today and to think I received this over all the others is so flattering.”
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“It feels wonderful,” said Groh who spent whatever spare time he had in the pool on the swimming and water polo teams while managing to carry a 5.39 weighted GPA and is off to Duke University. “It’s so difficult to maintain that kind of academic standing while spending so much time in the pool. You come home with hours and hours of homework and studying with very little sleep. I’m very grateful to my family for all of their support along the way.”
Asked if he would try and compete athletically at Duke, Groh kept things in perspective with a smile.
“I’m not really sure,” he said. “Because when you go to a school like Duke, you definitely need to be focusing on academics before anything else.”
A first-time award was also given out as South Dade principal Javier Perez was on hand, proudly standing on his new prosthetic legs, to hand out the Javier Perez Courage Award which went to Quaniya Williams of North Miami Senior High School.
It was two years almost to the day that Perez suffered catastrophic injuries including the loss of both his legs when he was hit by a drunk driver while attending his son’s baseball game at Tamiami Park.
Juan Carlos Monge, boys soccer coach at Felix Varela High School, was the Dade Schools Athletic Foundation Coach of the Year.
“Wow, what an honor and completely unexpected,” Monge said. “Coaching and teaching kids has, still is and always will be a passion for me and something I will continue to do with much love.”
Holmes Braddock served as the MC on Monday and keynote guest speakers were University of Miami head baseball coach Jim Morris and Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Other Student/Athlete winners:
▪ Orange Bowl Gold: Female, Alyssa Storey, Killian; Male, Cavan Wilson, Coral Gables.
▪ Orange Bowl Silver Winner: Female, Elena Sotolongo, MAST Academy; Male, Alvaro Espinoza-Hueck, Miami High.
▪ Orange Bowl Bronze Winner: Female, Alanna Alfonso, Cutler Bay; Male, Alejandro Pascual, MAST Academy.
▪ Junior Orange Bowl: $1,000 — Female, Destiny Cepero, Hialeah Gardens; Male, Jonathan Feliciano, Hialeah-Miami Lakes. $500 — Female, Mia Thomas, Southwest; Male, Levis Aguila Jr., Hialeah Gardens. $1,000 (Tennis): Female, Cindy Santana, South Miami; Male, Edward Luca, Mourning.
▪ First Tee Miami Achievement Award: Female, Alexa Rivas, Palmetto; Male, Logan Bryant, Palmetto.
▪ Kiwanis Club of Miami: Female, Dayana Gonzalez, Hialeah; Male, Amir Augustin, Central.
▪ DIBIA Dreams Award: Female, Karen Henry, Booker T. Washington; Male, Ritchel Calvaire, North Miami Beach.
▪ Lauren’s Kids Scholarship Award: Female, Sophia Renteria, Varela; Male, Quentin Harvey Jr., Booker T. Washington.
▪ Inner City Wrestling Awards: Alexis Urquiza, Southwest; Eunique Davis, Palmetto.
▪ BSN Sports Award: Female, Daylenis Clavijo, Braddock; Male, Wanya Williams, American.
▪ Marlins Foundation Award: Female, Jennifer Arias, Reagan/Doral; Male, Isaac Joseph, Coral Park.
▪ Affiliated Healthcare Center: Female, Shaquavia Warner, Edison; Male, Alfredo Arevalo, Braddock.
▪ Special Olympics: Female, Alexia Lugo, (Unified Partner Athlete), Palmetto; Male, Tony Medley (Inspirational Athlete), Palmetto