Last month at the bi-weekly City Council meeting, Councilwoman Lisa Davis, Seat 2 of Miami Gardens, honored four young aspiring student achievers from Miami Carol City Senior High School who were awarded the prestigious Miami Herald Silver Knight Award. The four young honorees, Jazmin Lightbourn, Stephanie Jennings, Ba’Carri Johnson, and Adrianna Mozell were recognized for being model students who excelled in their academic studies and successfully dedicated themselves to providing a service to the community in order to improve the lives of others.
Where they found a need, they met the need! They each had a vision of how things could be better, and rather than wait for someone else to do it, they took it upon themselves to make a difference and make an impact.
The Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards is one of the nation’s most prestigious student awards programs. Founded in 1959 by John S. Knight, past publisher of the Miami Herald, it recognizes high school students who not only excel academically, but also go above and beyond their own needs and desires to make significant service contributions to their schools and/or communities. A typical Silver Knight is well-rounded, with a high GPA (the minimum unweighted GPA required for nomination is a 3.2), they are heavily involved in school and in the community, they are often in leadership positions in various school clubs and/or student government, make various community service contributions, and organize one major project which they either spearheaded or demonstrated outstanding leadership in building and contributing too.
“It is so important we recognize our children for what they have achieved. This is a rewarding moment for the students of Miami Gardens who have been honored. It’s also a proud moment for their families and for Miami Gardens. It’s imperative that as a community we identify the talent these students possess; we must nurture and support their creative abilities,” says Councilwoman Lisa C. Davis, Seat 2, Miami Gardens.
Students selected to receive the Silver Knight Award receive many rewards including $2000 cash, a roundtrip airline ticket anywhere in the continental US, a medallion that can be worn at graduation and a Silver Knight trophy. While the rewards are enticing, the honor and prestige of the award are of the most importance.
The outstanding seniors selected to receive the award must first be nominated by their schools in one of 15 categories: Art, Athletics, Business, Drama, English Literature, General Scholarship, Journalism, Mathematics, Music, New Media, Science, Social Science, Speech, Vocational- Technical and World Languages. They must complete a lengthy application detailing their academic achievements, involvement in their school and community, and their major service project. They must also participate in an interview before a panel of three judges where they are assessed based on answers and character. One Silver Knight is chosen from each category for Miami-Dade and one for Broward; in addition, three Honorable Mentions, receiving $500 and a plaque, are selected from each county for each category.
The model young women honored by Councilwoman Davis are unique individuals with unique dreams and goals for both themselves and the community. Through their service and commitment we hope other students are inspired to help make their community a better place.
About the recipients:
Jazmin Lightbourn Silver Knight Winner in Drama For Jazmin, drama is not just a passion. It’s a lifeline. Growing up poor, her family often lived without electricity or water. When they lost their home, they moved to her grandmother’s back porch. Jazmin said she was abused, teased in school, angry and withdrawn. Then a middle school teacher introduced her to the theater and she found what she described as “the glue that held my broken mind together.” Life would still bring struggles, but two close friends refused to let Jazmin give up. Recognizing the importance of such support, Jazmin started a program called Building Bonds to help at-risk children through drama, for which she was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award. A gifted performer, she received a superior rating in voice and was selected as one of 12 students to perform at the Superintendent’s Benefit Gala last year. Jazmin Lightbourn has a 4.4 GPA and will attend Miami-Dade Honors College in the Fall.
Stephanie Jennings Silver Knight Winner in Speech
Tormented by a troubled childhood, Stephanie wanted to help other teens facing similar problems. She reached out to girls in her community, forming a support group called Birthing Imperishable Diamonds. Stephanie, whose mother faced life-threatening injuries when she was shot by a boyfriend, worked with teens to build their self-esteem. She provided counseling, tutoring, mentoring and support. The group, which expanded to three chapters, held retreats, went on picnics, studied together and formed bonds. Stephanie helped the teens express themselves through writing and art. Stephanie, who has served on the youth advisory board of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. She has also repeatedly placed in the state and regional SkillsUSA competitions. Stephanie Jennings has 3.8 GPA and plans to attend the University of Central Florida.
Ba’Carri Johnson Silver Knight Honorable Mention in Mathematics
Ba’Carri in the course of the last year has dedicated her time to the service of others, and she is excelling in the community because of her efforts. Ba’Carri is sharing her passion for mathematics through showing students in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods in Miami, northern Florida and in the Bahamas the importance of Mathematics and its practical application to their lives, through her community service project entitled Future Achievers in Mathematical Excellence (FAME). Ba’Carri is assisting students from African American, Hispanic and White ethnicities and they are intermingling and learning alongside and from each other. One thing Ba’Carri has learned is that poverty has no color restraints and that mathematics is universal and unifying. Currently, Ba’Carri is allowing the students to see that math can be fun and functional through a great deal of hands-on activities, which is an unusual and pioneering approach to teaching math skills. Ba’Carri is ranked number one in her class of over five hundred students, with a 6.68 GPA. Ba’Carri was elected by her peers to serve as the voice of the students as Miss Miami Carol City Senior High. She was first runner up for Miss Miami Gardens Scholarship Pageant serves as Key Club President, and sits on the City of Miami Gardens Junior Council as Director of Public Affairs. Ba’Carri is a Coca Cola Scholar, Gates Millennium Scholar, won the Princeton Prize in Race Relation because of the success of Project FAME. Ba’Carri Johnson has a 6.68 GPA and will attend Duke University in the fall.
Adrianna Mozell Silver Knight Honorable Mention in English
Adrianna’s inspiration to create her program, Kobe’s Kourage, was because of the courage Adrianna saw in her younger cousin Kobe who was diagnosed with Autism. Adrianna saw her cousin was displaying traits of Autism and she also bore witness to her family’s difficulty acknowledging Kobe’s uniqueness, therefore Adrianna decided to become a pioneer for Autism starting with Kobe. She tirelessly advocated on Kobe’s behalf, initially with getting him diagnosed, and after Kobe was diagnosis with Autism, Adrianna made it her mission to research and become educated about Autism. Adrianna then used that knowledge to spread awareness within her family. Adrianna realized as a part of her research her family was not a phenomenon, but there were a number of Kobe’s out there with families that were familiar with dealing with a child with Autism. With this information in hand, Adrianna decided to go into local elementary schools in her community that have programs focusing on autistic children, and work with them and assist their families with becoming comfortable with their child’s different abilities. Adrianna is currently in the process of creating a children’s book for autistic children. Adrianna Mozell has a 3.5 GPA and will attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in the fall.