High achieving athletes, coaches and families filled the Doubletree Hilton on Blue Lagoon on April 21, for the Annual Miami–Dade County Scholar Athlete Awards. Before the awards were presented, the crowd was inspired by Lauren Book, CEO of Lauren’s Kids, who had just completed that previous day the organization’s most notable awareness campaign, an annual 1,500-mile “Walk in My Shoes” advocacy and awareness walk from the Southernmost Point of the U.S. in Key West – coast to coast, community to community, all the way up to the steps of the Historic State Capitol in Tallahassee. With little skin left on her feet and on the way to seek medical attention, this brave, passionate took time to speak to these athletes going off to college and share some of her own story of abuse, survival and advocacy to show others that it’s not only OK to Tell – the title of Lauren’s memoir – but that it’s OK to heal. Lauren’s first book for children, Lauren’s Kingdom, has been instrumental in creating an opportunity for discussions about personal safety among caregivers and children.
Among the numerous awards presented that day, were several from the Junior Orange Bowl Committee presented to scholar athletes by Charles Knight, JOBC President-Elect. This is one of many outreach programs for the Junior Orange Bowl whose economic impact on Doral is impressive as their prestigious basketball tournament, held over several days in December, is one of many events that bring visitors and revenue to our community. Four scholarships are awarded to students who participate in either cross country, basketball, tennis, or golf, and two additional scholarships are awarded to tennis players. The following students athletes received awards this year:Larry Pye Jr. – Miami Northwestern, $1000 Tennis Scholarship; Stephanie Levine – Palmetto Senior High, $1000 Tennis Scholarship; Joseph Levy – Krop Senior High School – $1000 – Tennis; Elizabeth Hopkins – Miami Beach Senior High – $1000 – Basketball and Golf; Adrian Elkind – Felix Varela – $500 – Cross Country; and Lauren Gavulic – Ferguson High School – $500 – Cross Country.
While public schools were honoring their scholar athletes, the Independent Schools of South Florida, spearheaded by ISSF Executive Director Dr. Teri Logan, also held a massive luncheon with more than 800 guests to honor top achievers in 70 of the accredited schools who are members of the organization.
Among the guests at the event were members of the Coral Gables Woman’s Club who were thanked for their outgoing support hosting geography and spelling bees at their clubhouse every year. On hand to accept a plaque in thanks with this writer were CGWC Vice President Debi Van Stone Moore and Margie Shanti. Among the schools at the ISSF Luncheon was St. Stephens, an active place on Saturday May 2, when the church held its 2nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Garden Party where close to 100 people were lauded for doing the work of 500 in the numerous church ministries from HIV outreach, food for the needy, choir to free tax preparation for those in need. The beautiful event coordinated by Daisy Lewis Holcombe and church volunteers included a screen for watching the Derby, a movie area for children, a great buffet with recorded as well live entertainment by John Holcombe.
Finally, Ruth Jacobs and Judi Ashworth with members of the Women’s Cancer Association held another Derby Party at the Marriot Courtyard raising funds for cancer research. Ladies in festive hats, mint juleps, big screen for races and more made for a fun event. Congratulations to all on continuing this charitable affair.
Until next time, keep making each day count.
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