For Palmer Trinity School students, community service is more than a graduation requirement; it’s a way of life. This year, two exceptional Palmer Trinity Seniors were honored at the 2015 Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards ceremony.
Palmetto Bay, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/09/2015 -- The Silver Knight Awards recognize extraordinary students who go beyond the classroom to unselfishly contribute significant service to their schools and communities. This prestigious award is only presented to 15 students in Miami-Dade County and 15 students in Broward County.
Waleed Mneimneh – Athletics Silver Knight Award Winner
Palmer Trinity School Senior Waleed Mneimneh was the recipient of the Silver Knight Award in the category of Athletics. Growing up in Lebanon, Waleed's parents had a hard time finding assistance for their son Tarek, who was diagnosed with Autism. The family decided to move to the U.S. in order to provide a better life for Tarek.
When they first arrived in Miami, the Mneimnehs were referred to the University of Miami – Nova Southeastern Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. UM-NSU CARD is well known in the South Florida community for providing support and guidance to families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Waleed was determined to give back to this organization for all of the help that they provided for his brother and family.
In 2011, as a freshman at Palmer Trinity School, Waleed launched the PTS Autism Awareness Club. In its first year, the club had recruited 80 members and raised $15,000 to benefit UM-NSU CARD through its first annual Flag Football Tournament. An avid tennis player, Waleed launched the Ace for Autism Tennis Tournament in his sophomore year to continue his fundraising efforts. In just 4 short years, the Autism Awareness Club raised $100,000, which has gone to help UM-NSU CARD support over 8500 families in South Florida.
"It was a very special thing, I never thought I'd be able to accomplish that much and Palmer Trinity helped me realize my dream of being able to honor my brother and support the Autism Community," said Waleed.
As a recent PTS graduate, Waleed now looks forward to attending the University of Miami as an Economics Major and a member of the UM Varsity Tennis Team. "I wanted to stay close to my brother because I'm one of his closest friends and it would've been really tough for him if I left," said Waleed, "I'm also really excited to be joining the UM Tennis Team." Waleed plans to continue to host the Ace for Autism Tennis Tournament as well as intern at UM-NSU CARD next fall.
Maia Suazo-Maler – General Scholarship Silver Knight Honorable Mention and 2015 Outstanding Youth Award Finalist, United Way of Miami-Dade
Palmer Trinity School Senior Maia Suazo-Maler was recognized with an Honorable Mention at this year's Silver Knight Awards, and was named a United Way of Miami-Dade 2015 Outstanding Youth Award Finalist. During her time at Palmer Trinity, Maia learned to apply her passion for mathematics to the exciting world of computer programming. "I've always had a passion for Math, but it was Mr. Stanard's Computer Programming class at Palmer Trinity that really inspired me to get on the computer track," said Maia.
In middle school, Maia built a website called "Study Tools" to help her fellow students prepare for tests. As a junior, she became president of the math honor society Mu Alpha Theta and created a website that offered online math tutoring services to Palmer Trinity students.
After receiving the prestigious Red Cross Youth Spectrum Award at the end of her junior year, Maia met Red Cross Board Member Josie Goytisolo, who introduced her to a newly formed youth program called "Codella." Codella teaches economically disadvantaged Latina girls ages nine to eleven computer coding. In partnership with Centro Mater Child Care Services—an organization that assists at risk youth in Little Havana—Maia began teaching website design classes to students each Friday.
This summer, Maia is working at a 4-week Codella computer camp at Centro Mater to teach students multimedia, web design, hardware, and social entrepreneurship. In the fall, she will be attending Harvard and will cross-register with MIT in the spring with a strong focus on Computer Sciences. Maia hopes to use the connections she will make at Harvard and MIT to continue to enhance and grow the Codella program. "Wynwood looks like it may be the next Silicon Valley, so I hope to return after my graduate degree to be with my family and work in this exciting innovative industry."
About Palmer Trinity School
Palmer Trinity School—a coeducational, Episcopal day school—provides a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that integrates knowledge, compassion and social responsibility, an essential goal of the school's mission. Palmer Trinity School serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in grades 6-12.
For more information about the school, visit http://www.palmertrinity.org/home
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