Students honored at 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards

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Members of The Jason Taylor Foundation’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network were honored at the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards, held in Daytona Beach, for helping to expand opportunities for minorities.

The bluapple Poetry Network has partnered with Homestead-Miami Speedway and Miami-Dade County Public Schools to host the Write Track Poetry Competition, which was created to challenge students to write and perform spoken word based on the theme of a NASCAR Championship. Following the competition, students have the chance to have their poetry recorded, produced, and featured at the Ford EcoBoost 300 Xfinity Series Championship.

In 2017, 13 Miami-Dade County students participated in the competition.

“Write Track Poetry not only broadens the horizons of youth and introduces them to a space and community they may have never been exposed to previously, but it also validates their stories and affirms them as students, writers, artists and people for years to come,” said Marnino Toussaint, bluapple Poetry Network’s Youth Engagement Coordinator. “As an organization, we are humbled by this Drive for Diversity Award and celebrate NASCAR for recognizing the importance of inclusion and those who work to consistently impact diverse populations.”

Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship

Cindy Aoun of Florida International University and Michael Brennan, a teacher at Nova Middle School, will be honored during the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s 2018 Global Showcase on March 22 at the Global Young Entrepreneur and Global Enterprising Educator awardees.

NFTE is an international organization that aims to promote entrepreneurship in underserved communities by building the business skills of students. Aoun, 20, will be awarded for her startup, Koi Infinity, a company that makes fashionable handmade jewelry with symbolic crystals and charms. In addition to the award, Aoun’s startup will be featured at the Global Showcase, and she will receive a grant that can be used to either expand her startup for fund her education at FIU.

Also, Brennan is being awarded as an educator that’s dedicated to helping students develop their entrepreneurial mindset by pushing them to achieve greater academic and career goals. He also teaches the NFTE curriculum to his students.

Hebrew Academy (RASG)

The Hebrew Academy (RASG) recently launched Labdisc, a portable lab created in Israel that allows students to conduct experiments featuring science, technology, engineering and math.

Labdisc allows students to collect data on things like air pressure, light, sound level, and GPS and is being integrated into the school’s scientific program.

“The portable Labdisc components will go with us into our new middle and high school building,” said Dara Lieber, principal of the school’s Fana Holtz High School. “We are so excited that our students can now have more experimental, hands-on learning.”

Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre

The Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, in partnership with The Children’s Trust, is now hosting auditions for the eighth annual Young Talent Big Dreams Talent Competition for Miami-Dade County students.

The free competition is open to children ages 8 to 17, and performance categories range from vocals to dance and spoken word. Participants will be judged by celebrities and professionals in the performing arts. The grand prize winner will receive $500 and a free trip and passes, for two, to the Teen Choice Awards.

Remaining auditions will take place at: the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center from 1 to 5 p.m. March 24; and the Miracle Theatre from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. April 7, and 3 to 7 p.m. April 8. The semifinals will be held on April 21 to 22 and the finals take place on April 28. For information and to register, visit www.actorsplayhouse.org.


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