Students honored in 2018 Curtiss Explorers Essay Contest

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This year’s Curtiss Explorers Essay Contest was extra special because it is Glenn Curtiss’ 140th birthday. The Curtiss Explorers Club Contest, in partnership with the Miami-Dade Public Library System, is a research program offering kids the opportunity to make unique and fun historical discoveries while learning how to be research experts.

Winners were announced last month at the Historic Curtiss Mansion in Miami Springs, former home of the “Father of Naval Aviation” and Inventor Glenn Curtiss.

With guidance from teachers and librarians, students search for a forgotten person or animal in history that has made a positive impact on their community or our nation. The inspiration for this contest is Miami Springs’ very own unsung hero Glenn Hammond Curtiss.

Curtiss Mansion, Inc., also announced that Miami-Dade County was recognized by National Association of Counties (NACO) and granted a 2018 Achievement Award in honor of this program.

2018 winners and prizes are as follows:
• 1st Place – Sarah Currea (laptop)
• 2nd Place – Anabelle Ballate (iPad Mini)
• 3rd Place – Jayesh Agarwal (Bluetooth speaker)

Contest finalists received merchandise donated by the Miami Heat:
• Teresa Ariza
• Jayesh Agarwal
• Keren Cabello
• Kylee Swikehardt
• Sarah Currea
• Shokhjakhon Gaibov
• Anabelle Ballate
• Daniel Olivera
• Detriq Johnson
• Alyeria Taylor
• David Fernandez
• I’yari Swift

Serving as program mentor was Nadege Green, a Miami-based journalist for 10 years, who covers social justice issues for WLRN, the local NPR affiliate. She has been recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists, and received Florida AP Broadcaster Awards and The Edward R. Murrow awards. She previously reported for The Miami Herald.

Serving as contest judges were the following members of the community:
• Thais de Leon-Perez, Design Technology and Engineering Teacher.
• Grant Gravitt Jr., TV Producer/President Tel-Air Interests.
• Margie Lopez, Executive Director of The Miami Bach Society.
• Councilwoman Maria Puente Mitchell.
• Reverend Kit Robison, Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church.

Curtiss Mansion Inc. (CMI), a Florida-registered 501(c)3, was established in 1998 to preserve the home and legacy of legendary aviator and inventor Glenn Hammond Curtiss. It is a Smithsonian-recognized restoration and a National Historic Site. This Pueblo Revival home is the only surviving residence of Glenn Curtiss. The Curtiss Mansion is now used for a unique mix of fine and performing arts presentations, lectures, films, exhibits, youth activities, and private/corporate events.

The mission of CMI is to restore and operate the home and gardens of Glenn Hammond Curtiss, visionary aviator, inventor and developer, as an interactive technology-based educational center focusing on the inventions and contributions of Curtiss and other unsung American heroes; and as an architecturally unique, income-generating venue for celebrating life’s milestones.

The Curtis Mansion is located at 500 Deer Run, Miami Springs, FL 33166. For information, visit

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