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Hall of Stars - January 2014

January Scholars
From left to right: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Sophia G. Pereira, Commissioner Lynda Bell, Maria Tascon, Patricia Passwaters, Board of County Commissioners Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, and Commissioner Jean Monestime.

The Emerging Leader - Patricia Passwaters

Coral Gables Senior High School, 12th grade
Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, District 6

Patricia is the founder and editor-in-chief of her school’s online newspaper - , an editor for their literary magazine Catharsis, the President of the Journalism Honor Society, Student Council President, Treasurer of the Creative Writing Club, and a member of the National Honor Society.

Through the online newspaper, she oversees a staff of 32 students and ensures that daily posts are accurate, current, and relevant. The online newspaper provides a valuable link between her school and the community- with one click students can see what the school has to offer while allowing them to communicate with one another, and residents can also reach out to the school to ask for volunteers and language should not be a barrier.

She is also the Student Council President. In this position, she has coordinated a summer camp for incoming freshman to give them the tools they need to be successful in high school, organized recruitment from six middle schools, and planned and executed her school’s United Way campaign.

Patricia’s attention to detail and leadership make every event she is charged with a great success, and make her a wonderful role model to the entire student body. Next year she hopes to attend a university that has a recognized Communications program.

The Unstoppable Scholar - Maria Tascon

Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High Biscayne Bay, 12th grade
Commissioner Sally A. Heyman, District 4

As a 9th grader, Maria was not interested in school, but, at the end of her 10th grade year, she decided she wanted more out of life and, in order to do that, she needed to do better in school and get more involved.

Maria then became a member of the Career Education Clubs of Florida and was elected State Vice President, making her the first student in her school’s history to become a state officer for a student organization. She later ran for President of her school’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and won.

As a member, she was chosen as one of only two high school students in Miami-Dade County to participate in the Miami Intercontinental ICH Academy Internship Program. She spent four months learning about hotel operations by shadowing the managers of each department in the hotel and received outstanding reviews. Maria now speaks regularly to students both in and out of her school about the importance of getting involved and how her experiences have changed her life.

Maria has gone from a student who took regular classes, to one who takes Honors and AP classes, and is scheduled to begin Dual Enrollment classes this month (January) at Florida International University in the College of Hospitality. She plans to major in Marketing with a focus in Food and Beverage.

The Pursuer of Excellence -Sophia G. Pereira

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, 9th grade
Commissioner Lynda Bell, District 8

Sophia is a straight “A” student (a 4.0 GPA) with a positive attitude. She is a member of the Debate Team and was awarded the Outstanding Youth Award by the United Way.

Sophia is very civic-minded and chose to become a vegetarian because of her love for animals at the age of 10, one of the first signs that she would become the type of person who put their thoughts into action. She is the President of The Friend Circle, a program dedicated to offering friendship and acceptance to children with special needs regardless of their disability.

She spends time cooking, playing sports, and teaching guitar to two autistic twin boys every week. She also volunteers with the Jewish Federation of Greater Miami, visiting sick children and adults, and delivering food to the needy.  In her spare time, she plays Junior Varsity Volleyball at her school and  League Basketball with the Temple Beth Am team, and studies the cello and guitar.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:55:14 PM

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