A 1992 Killian Senior High grad urged 37 Miami-Dade students “to turn your life into a success by doing what you do best —and sticking to it.” That was the advice from Dr. Billy Jones, divisional chair for Reading and Writing at Miami Dade College’s Kendall.
“Learn what you can, but apply that learning to make a significant impact on someone —just as you have been recognized for what you were able to do for yourself,” said Jones, a former English professor and leadership development teacher in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system for eight years.
Dr. Jones addressed the 28th annual Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) Operation Turnaround Awards Luncheon on May 13 as deserving elementary, middle and high school students were honored for scholastic excellence to achieve higher class standing, often overcoming personal hardships.
All students attending were advised by Jones to use their proven positive outlook “not only to help yourself, but to help others in your search for a philosophy for living.” “Every one of these students has a special story,” said Miles E. Moss, KFHA president, who emceed the program with Frank Cobo, former school board member. The event marked 28 years since its founding by the late Dorothy Cissel, Kendall resident, educator and community activist.
Honored seniors were Osuni Valdivia, Ferguson High; Geraldine Salinas, Coral Reef High; Christopher Alvarado, Felix Varela High; Courtney McGuire, Killian High, and Gilbert Mclean, Sunset High, each receiving $500 Operation Turnaround and $1,000 Miami Dade College scholarships. Middle and K-8 Center students honored were Fabian Gonzalez (Arvida), Jessica Turro (Devon Aire), Oshton Armstrong (Frank C. Martin), Daniel Sanchez (Glades), Mitchell Rodriguez (Hammocks), Stephania Diaz (Jane S. Roberts), Adam Suarez (Kenwood), Megan Cruz (Leewood), Myiesha Perry (Richmond Heights) and Devin Herrera (Winston Park).
Elementary students who received certificates at school assemblies included Alfred Salazar (Blue Lakes), Joran Ramos (Calusa), Madelyn Garcia (Claude Pepper), Anthony Fiallo (Coral Reef), Juliette Valdes (Cypress), Jorge Zubrigary (Devon Aire), Robert Fonte (Ashe), Joshua Flores (Beckham), DeSean Perry (Martin), Danielo Aguirre (Gordon), Brian Van (Roberts). Also honored were Chris Herrera (Kendale Lakes), Jonathan Canales, Lucianna Doria, Jimmy Hauser, Florianne Jacques, (Kenwood), Veronica Montalvo (Leewood), Oliver Lemus (Olympia Heights), Natalie Rodriguez (Royal Palm), Ryan Sierra (Lehman) and Virginia Sanchez (Winston Park).