Arvida Middle School students win essay contest, trip to DC

Pictured (l-r) are Eduardo Ramos, Holland and Knight partner; Roma Rowe; Barbara Jensen, Arvida Middle School teacher; Randall Elkind, and Carlos Martinez, Miami-Dade County Public Defender.

Eighth grade students Roma Rowe and Randall Elkind at Arvida Middle School in West Kendall will have a special summer vacation this year.

Honored from among more than 800 students from 13 Miami-Dade middle schools, the pair — along with their parents and teacher, Barbara Jensen — will join other students from across the United States for a special recognition of “Do the Write Thing Challenge” essays in Washington, DC, July 14-18.

Funded by the National Campaign to Stop Violence in America and the Kuwait-America Foundation, the initiative encourages young people to write about the effects of violence in their communities with the goal of reducing youth violence and improving the health of our families and communities.

Written as essays, the answers by Rowe and Elkind to three questions on ways to reduce community violence were judged as the top entries throughout Miami- Dade’s middle schools.

Rowe’s entry was a fictional dialogue between two school friends, one convincing the other bullied by her schoolmates to report the incident instead of keeping the matter to herself.

Rowe has been honored at Arvida Middle School with a trophy for outstanding art and one of her drawings has been published in the nationally distributed Kids Era magazine. A resident of north Kendall, Roma, 14, is the daughter of Roger Rowe and Patricia Favaron.

Elkind’s original free verse poem reflects on his growing maturity to set himself apart from violent reactions, noting, “I’ve written poetry before and was inspired by my teacher and a creative writ- ing course that I’ve taken.” A resident of the Hammocks, Elkind, 13, is the son of Dr. Bret and Kika Elkind.

Sponsored locally by the Holland and Knight law firm, Rowe and Elkin, along with 20 county finalists, were honored May 15 during a ceremony at the Conrad Hotel with the Miami-Dade County Public Defender as guest speaker. The national awards ceremony will take place on July 17.

Holland and Knight, with more than 1,000 lawyers and professionals, is active in 17 U.S. offices, Abu Dhabi, Beijing and Mexico City.


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