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Hall of Stars - May 2014

Video Highlight

The Unstoppable Scholar - Erika Bello-Pardo

St, Brendan Catholic High School, 12th grade
Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, District 12

Erika discovered her passion for soccer in Miami-Dade County, but, in 2011, she had a severe knee injury that resulted in nine months of physical therapy. This injury was followed by a training accident that required her to undergo surgery on her left forearm. Although her determination and discipline helped her recover from her injuries, she could not return to play high level sports. She then decided to focus on developing herself as a student, focusing on her academics and serving diverse community organizations.

Erika has since participated in the Greater Miami Chamber Commerce’s Youth Leadership Program and the Baptist Health Volunteer Program. She also served with Voto Joven and the Se Habla Venezolano Foundation, managing social media resources to support digital political activism and motivate Venezuelan voters.

At her school, she participates in the English, Science, and Social Science Honor Societies, French Club, Training Team, and Photography Club. Through her regular column in the school’s newspaper, MySeniorYear, Erika also helps immigrant high school students and their parents learn more about the life of a Senior student in Miami-Dade County by providing information on scholarships, college applications, the SAT and ACT, and community service hours.

 Erika plans to attend Florida International University in the hopes of continuing to serve the sports community by becoming a doctor of Sports Medicine.

The Emerging Leader - Naveed Lalani


School For Advanced Studies, 11th grade
Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, District 9


Naveed is very involved in his mosque, the Ismaili Center of Miramar, where he is a youth leader and has been selected to lead the congregation in prayer. His outstanding leadership led him to be selected to travel to Dallas, Texas, to lead a congregation of 8,000 people in prayer.

In July of 2013, Naveed was selected as one of 64 Muslim high school students from around the world to participate in a month-long trip to Mombasa, Kenya, to participate in a project known as Global Encounters. There he interacted with students from 13 different countries, including Afghanistan, Canada, Iran, Syria, and Uganda, among others, and became interested in providing support services to the disabled.

At his school, Naveed is involved in the Robotics Club, National Honor Society, Tennis, Mu Alpha Theta Honors Math Club, Sports Club, Photography Club, and the Rocketry Club. Additionally, he works part-time in his family’s business.

Naveed hopes to attend MIT to pursue a major in Computer Engineering and to one day work for Apple.

The Pursuer of Excellence - Katherine Ceballos

Miami Springs Senior High School, 12th grade
Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, District 6

Katherine has a 5.14 GPA. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Health Occupations Students of America, Medical Hawks, and her school’s Color Guard.  She is also Vice President of the Miami Springs Senior High Anchor Service Club, which won the International Outstanding Anchor Club of the Year Award for 2013. Through her leadership, the club of 73 students contributed over 4,500 hours of community service, completed 80 service projects last year, and collected an estimated $14,000 worth of supplies such as canned food and toys for various charities.

Katherine has also initiated Let’s Build It!, a playground project at the Academy for International Education Public Charter School; spearheaded multiple efforts to help prevent brain-related injuries, including performing Brain-minders puppet shows during the Brain Fair at the Museum of Science and at local elementary after-care programs; and chaired the distribution of patriotic ribbons and flags at the Memorial Day and Veterans Day Services in both Hialeah and Miami Springs.

Katherine is also a photographer. She won first place in the Coral Gables Photography Competition in the Teen Architecture category. Her artwork has also been exhibited at Miami Springs City Hall. She intends to use her artistic gifts to pursue a career in Photography.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:56:47 PM

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