Silver Knights

Sophia Cruz-Peraza, Features Writer

Senior year is jam-packed with all sorts of fun trips, activities, and most importantly, applications. As students scramble to fill out applications for colleges and scholarships, there is one particular scholarship that stands out above the rest: the Silver Knight Award Scholarship. The Silver Knight Program recognizes students for their outstanding achievement, not only academically, but in community service activities as well. Students can be nominated in one of fifteen categories: Art, Athletics, Business, Drama, English and Literature, General Scholarship, Journalism, Mathematics, Music and Dance, New Media, Science, Science, Social Science, Speech, Vocational-technical, and World Languages. The Silver Knight Program is considered to be an award of high prestige– so naturally many of TERRA’s own are nominated for this award each year. This year’s nominees include seniors Arianna Medina, Avery Royston, Caroline Werner, Elisa Lastra, Gabriela Rodriguez, Genesis Saenz-Escalante, Julia Leone, Julia Talamo, Kaitlin Lyons, Karen Herrera, Katherine Seifans, Michael Goncalves, Sofia Aviles, and Sofia Rodriguez.

The Silver Knight Program provides the opportunity to win up to $2000, a Silver Knight statue, and a medallion. What separated the Silver Knight Program from other scholarship programs is that it rewards students for their involvement in community service, and is not solely based on grades and test scores. “So many scholarships award people for top grades, top GPAs, but this one really takes into account more than that; you have to be a top student, you have to have the brains, and you have to have the heart to work towards something that helps others,” said TERRA’s Silver Knight Coordinator Julie Vivian.

This year’s nominees managed to maintain high GPAs while taking challenging and rigorous courses, and dedicating their time spent out of school working closely with organizations to help people – especially children and young students – across Miami-Dade County and South Florida.

“Participation in community service does not just benefit those who receive your service. It enhances the service provider, teaching them the value of compassion and generosity while the entire community benefits from the added happiness and comfort the service provider brings,” said Gonҫalves who was nominated in the General Scholarship category.

Echoing that comment is Science category nominee Gabriela Rodriguez, who stated, “You aren’t only improving the community, you’re improving yourself. You become more aware of issues in the world and begin to care about them.”

Sofia Aviles, Vocational-technical nominee, also adds in her views on the benefits of helping others in regards to the community as a whole.

“Community service puts helpfulness, love, and respect into the community, allowing you to take away a humbling experience and a new perspective.”

Being a senior entails all sorts of activities and important tasks, and applying for the Silver Knight Awards program can certainly be a time-consuming process and should be pursued only by students who are willing to accept the challenge of taking on a service project.

“It is not about having a lot of community service hours. Silver Knight is for students with one big extended project, initiated by you and for an organization… You can tell the difference between the projects with the most time dedicated to them versus the ones that are thrown together,” Aviles said. However, there are many obvious benefits to participating in this program as well.

Vivian then reiterates the importance and obvious remunerations of participating in the program, “It’s the prestige, it’s cash, it’s the community involvement, it’s the networking. But again, it’s the recognition that a top organization would want to reward students for both the smarts and the desire to serve others.”