Supt. Jose Dotres keynotes for meeting sponsor Sunny Isles Beach Tourism & Marketing Council
There’s something very special about a meeting when students not just ‘share’ the podium, but take over the podium! That was the case when one Student Leader from each of the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce’s (AMC) eleven partner schools was chosen by their schools for the honor of helping to run the AMC’s annual Student-Run Breakfast Meeting.
Ibis Romero, Executive Director of the Sunny Isles Beach Tourism & Marketing Council, was happy to sponsor this very special Breakfast Meeting at the beautiful Trump International Beach Resort that featured Miami-Dade School Superintendent Dr. Jose Dotres as the keynote speaker. Her organization promotes tourism and marketing for Sunny Isles Beach and the hotels located along the 3 ½ mile stretch of beautiful sandy beaches. Romero had her tourism leader, David Whitaker, President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, there to present gifts to the Student Leaders and congratulate them.
A dozen Student Ambassadors from the AMC’s partner schools lined the path from the hotel’s entrance to the registration table, welcoming over 150 guests with enthusiastic “Good Mornings!” or “Welcome to Sunny Isles Beach!”. Their big smiles told it all…they were so proud to be there and they made every guest feel very special.
As guests poured into the Ocean Ballroom, one of the AMC’s Young Stars, pop powerhouse Cameron Wheeler was singing, accompanied by Master Pianist Moises Herrera. The agenda was exceptionally full, and at the stroke of 7:55am, little Arianna Hazen, a third-grader from Sunshine State Academy, took the podium to give a very loud and enthusiastic, “Good Morning, Aventura!” Immediately, all the other Student Leaders rose , and in unison said, “And a hush-sh-sh went over the crowd!”. The room became quiet as Arianne continued on with her opening remarks, doing a simply great job!
Following Arianne was 11th grader Sofia Edelberg from Don Soffer Aventura High School, who handled the welcoming remarks with poise and confidence. Ashley Carson, a 12th grader from Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High had the opportunity to introduce the first half of the extremely large head table, handling name pronunciations like a pro! And so competently introducing the other half of the Head Table of 30 VIPs was 8th grader Jaina Louissin from David Lawrence, Jr. K – 8 Center. Grace Leadership Preparatory Institute’s 12th grader Rickey Williams, III had the honor of introducing all the special guests in the audience, and he handled each and every introduction perfectly. Then it was time for Jonah Koopman, 8th grader from Aventura City of Excellence School (ACES), to invite the first adults to the podium for the Aventura Police Department’s “Officer of the Month” award. Miami-Dade Comm. Sally Heyman spoke first about her support for law enforcement and annual donation to the Police Officers Assistance Trust in honor of all the Officers of the Month, and presented Officer Rome Espada with a certificate. Police Chief Michael Bentolila explained why Officer Espada was selected for the award as Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman, Vice Mayor Rachel Friedland, and Commissioners Denise Landman and Billy Joel joined them for the congratulations.
The history of the AMC is long and strong, and Sebastian Suels, a 7th grader from the Norman S. Edelcup Sunny Isles Beach K-8, did a masterful job of the presentation. Shkyla Pierre, an 8th grader from Aventura Waterways Preparatory Academy, spoke most professionally about the AMC’s committees that keep the AMC running. Keiamber Verna, a 12th grader from North Miami Beach Senior High completed the AMC committee reports with a beautiful smile and enthusiasm. Pablo Manzo, a 12th grader from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, handled all the new member introductions, ensuring that each and every new member felt special with their intro.
The last student presenter was Jacob Lafortune from the Victory School for Autism and Related Behaviors. Jacob did a wonderful job of introducing and thanking meeting sponsor Ibis Romero and presenting her with a plaque of appreciation.
Romero spoke about the mission of the Sunny Isles Beach Tourism & Marketing Council, and gave special recognition to former Sunny Isles Beach Mayor Norman Edelcup who placed her in that position many years ago. She introduced David Whitaker who covered career opportunities for students in the tourism and hospitality industry. He then had the honor of introducing Superintendent Dr. Jose Dotres, who had a long history with Miami-Dade County Public Schools before being selected as Superintendent after a nationwide search. After recognizing School Board Member Lucia Baez-Geller, Dr. Dotres led the applause for the students who obviously worked so hard to be able to handle themselves so professionally in front of such a large audience. He was happy to announce that M-DCPS has changed their summer school to now include programs and more ‘hands-on’ experiences for the students to increase interest and participation.
Florida Senator Jason Pizzo took the podium to congratulate all the students present and spoke about internship opportunities with his office and the impact that students have on the legislative process.
The Breakfast Meeting program ended with the Student Leaders’ traditional closing poem that thanked their parents, guardians and educators who guided them through the years. In the audience there were tears, there was laughter and there was a tremendous sense of pride in these amazing young people who worked hard to accomplish their goals, meet challenges head-on and express their appreciation to everyone who helped them on their journey.