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Local schools take 4 Silver Knights, 8 honorable mentions

MIAMI | Archdiocesan high schools won four Silver Knights and received eight honorable mentions in the annual competition sponsored by the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald.

The Silver Knights recognize academic achievement as well as outstanding service to the community among graduating seniors in public and private high schools throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties. This year, nearly 700 students were nominated for the award.

Three of the winners were from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale and the fourth was from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Miami. Christopher Columbus High School walked away with three honorable mentions, Belen Jesuit had two, and Aquinas, St. Brendan and Archbishop McCarthy each had one.

The winner from each county in each of the 15 academic categories receives a Silver Knight statue, $2,000 each in scholarships from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and 25,000 American Airlines Advantage miles. Another 90 honorable mentions — three from each county in each category — receive a plaque and $500.

Here are the 2019 winners and honorable mentions from Catholic schools. The descriptions are taken from the Miami Herald’s Silver Knight site:

  • Cameron Giraud, science, St. Thomas Aquinas: Started a Marine Biology Club at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School, which is next door to Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale. She created PowerPoints and hosted classes for students every Wednesday, covering everything from coral reefs to deep sea conservation, pollution and plastic on the oceans. She also was co-captain of the girls’ water polo team, worked two jobs to save money to travel with her high school biology club, and was inducted into the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society.
  • Michael Anise, speech, St. Thomas Aquinas: Created The Prime (Promoting Refugee Integration Mentorship and Education) Initiative at his Coptic Orthodox Church to help a growing number of Egyptian refugee children assimilate. He tutored them in English and other classes, formed a basketball team and coached them. He has been inducted into the National Honor Society, as well as honor societies in English, Spanish and science. He placed in the Top 50 of the National Debate Tournament, is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Commended Scholar.
  • Natalie Chevrel, world languages, Our Lady of Lourdes: A native of Venezuela, she founded the U.S. chapter of Juventud Por Venezuela, a student-led nonprofit comprised of more than 40 schools and universities worldwide that helps provide communities in Caracas with clothes, food, school uniforms and supplies, and has several programs to promote education and sports. She is president of the Key Club and Operation Smile, an AP Scholar with Distinction and was selected for the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony University of Rochester Award. She is in the Spanish Honor Society, on the Lourdes Varsity Track and Field team, and serves as a peer minister.
  • Brooke Giacin, vocational technical, St. Thomas Aquinas: Created Brooke’s Blanket Drive to gift cancer patients with blankets. Each blanket includes a handmade card, illustrated by first graders at Hawks Bluff Elementary. The blankets also contain a book, stuffed animal, socks or a notebook. She raised about $4,500 to make 130 blankets, which were delivered to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Rho Kappa History Honor Society, and was a 2018 U.S. Hunter Jumper Association and National Collegiate Equestrian Association medal finalist.

Honorable mentions:

  • Athletics: Daniel Gonzalez, Columbus, Miami.
  • Business: Rodrigo Nieto, Belen, Miami.
  • Digital and interactive media: Victor Arechavaleta, Columbus.
  • General scholarship: Justin Prats, St. Brendan, Miami.
  • Journalism: Isabelle Gain, Aquinas; Gerardo Perera, Belen.
  • Speech:Alexandria Egues, Archbishop McCarthy, Southwest Ranches.
  • World languages: Noah Defauwes, Columbus.

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