Graduates with special needs shine at town hall

Education By Angela Llovet, Reporter Thursday, August 5, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic made the 2020-2021 school year a difficult one for students around the world.

Miami Lakes officials said it was especially important to recognize students with special needs who graduated from their respective schools.

The town issued a proclamation to honor the students. Four graduates also received certificates that recognized their dedication in pursuing their diplomas.

“For me, special needs is near and dear,” said Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano during the July 13 ceremony held prior to the town council meeting.

“Graduating is difficult for all of us,” she said. “So the fact that we have some graduates that are extra special in this room makes me very, very, very proud.”

The honorees were Sophia Cardoso, a graduate of Barbara Goleman Senior High School who also has her own cooking videos on Instagram; Johnny Linares, a Keiser University graduate; Kysean Anthony Thompson, who graduated from Hallandale High School, and Sarah Brun, who received her diploma from Miami Sunset Senior High School.

Ruano and Vice Mayor Luis Collazo both thanked Mayor Manny Cid for sup- porting the town’s initiative to make Miami Lakes a place that welcomes everyone.

Each of the graduates went to the front of the council chamber to receive their certificates and thank their families.

Johnny Linares, a fan of the Miami Dolphins, said, “I wanted to thank God for giving me an opportunity that I wanted to have.

“And most importantly, I will do my very best to succeed in my career,” Linares said. “And that career of course has to be video gaming.

“Let’s go Fins, and Fins up!” he said.

Clarimar Zeledon, president of Gigi’s Playhouse, a non-profit Down Syndrome Achievement Center that opened in April in Miami Lakes, said, “Having Gigi’s Playhouse in a community like Miami Lakes has been incredible, they have brought us so much love in the community.”

Zeledon said the four graduates are going to accomplish many goals. Collazo said Cid hosts an annual event that supports the activities of the town’s Special Needs Advisory Board.

This year, the “Totally 80s and 90s Mayor’s Charity Gala” will be held Sept. 25 at the Roberto Alonso Community Center.

For more information go to and search for Miami Lakes Mayor’s Gala.

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