The Town of Miami Lakes, its Education Advisory Board and The Graham Companies honored 12 students during the second annual Awards of Excellence.
The town and the board noted accomplishments in seven categories. An educator was also recognized.
“There is a strong commitment to education, a strong commitment to making the schools a better place for students and the Town of Miami Lakes has always done that with the Education Advisory Board,” Miami-Dade Public Schools North Region Supt. Verena Cabrera told The Miami Laker.
District 4 School Board member Roberto Alonso also attended the event held May 11 at the community center named for his late father Roberto Alonso, Sr., a former Miami Lakes vice mayor.
“It’s really an honor to be here to celebrate the amazing achievements of our students,” Alonso said.
The Graham Companies also awarded its annual Miami Lakes Future Leaders Scholarship, to three students.
“This is a very exciting night for us,” said Andrea Graham Rechichi, vice president of corporate relations for The Graham Companies. “We come from a long line of family members who really believe in higher education.”
Mayor Manny Cid gave proclamations to eight teachers who are retiring.
“Our appreciation from our community is that we’re forever thankful,” Cid said. “You’re all doing the work that’s setting the foundation for our community to be successful.”
Cid calculated that the retirees spent a combined 241 years teaching in the Miami Lakes area.
The teachers spoke briefly, including Paul Kynerd of Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College, who said, “It’s been an epic adventure. I haven’t woken up one day in the last 20-something-odd years that I have been working at Lakes Tech that I didn’t want to go.”
The other retirees are Glenda Algaze and Cindy Shahboz, from Miami Lakes Educational Center; Camille Ciriano, Barbara Goleman Senior High School; Alexis Garcia, Miami Lakes K-8 Center; Miladys Gonzalez and Maria Hidalgo from Bob Graham Education Center and Michael Russo, Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School.
The EAB named Milagros Alvarez, a third-grade teacher at Miami Lakes K-8 Center, the Outstanding Educator of the Year. She was chosen by colleagues.
This year’s award winners are:
Athletics: Kevin Garcia, 12th grade, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
Community Hero: Sophia Inguanzo and Susanna Inguanzo, 12th grade, Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School
English Literature: Cailyn Sanders, fifth grade, Miami Lakes K-8 Center and Julianna Correa, 12th grade, Barbara Goleman Senior High School
Fine Arts: Laura Sosa, 12th grade, Barbara Goleman Senior High School
Journalism: Valeria Perez, eighth grade, Bob Graham Education Center and Julianne Mooney, 12th grade, Barbara Goleman Senior High School
Local Advocacy: Olivia Martin, eighth grade, Bob Graham Education Center
STEM: Logan Castillo, eighth grade, Bob Graham Education Center and Melanie Fernandez, 12th grade, Miami Lakes Educational Center.
Winners of The Graham Companies’ Future Leaders Scholarship are Andrea Vega of Barbara Goleman Senior High School who received a $1,500 check and Sophia Inguanzo and Susanna Inguanzo, who are sharing the $1,500 award. The twin sisters attend Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School.
Teachers, guidance counselors and coaches nominated students and the EAB chose the winners who received plaques by Vida Custom Designs.
Paellas by Mich provided dinner which was served by students in the Lawton Chiles Middle School Culinary Program. Vicky Bakery served treats.
Presented by Headquarter Toyota, sponsors included The Graham Companies; Specialty Smiles; Ana G. Mendez University; Galloway Logistics; Modern Home Care; AC Graphics Digital; Virtutem Populo; Unicity Auto Parts; Vicky Bakery and Giving Gators.
The EAB members are Chair Hector Abad; Vice Chair Mario Pinera, Jr.; Board Secretary Emily Garcia; and board members Daylin Garcia; Claudia Luces; Kevin Menendez Macki and Jessica Mendoza.
The town’s committee liaison is Aisle Pastora.
Shown in the large group photo, from left: Melanie Fernandez; Julianne Mooney; Logan Castillo (back row); Cailyn Sanders; Julianna Correa (back row); Olivia Martin; Laura Sosa; Sophia Inguanzo and Susanna Inguanzo May 11 at the Roberto Alonso, Sr. Community Center. Students Kevin Garcia and Valeria Perez were absent. Photo by Alexandra Herrera.