Three Broward County Public Schools 2015 Miami Herald Silver Knight winners happen to be from the Coral Springs and Parkland areas which says a lot about the quality of life and the public schools in these North Broward Cities.
The outstanding seniors were selected out of hundreds of nominees in Broward’s public and private schools. The student program has 15 categories of awards, including English & literature, general scholarship, journalism, mathematics, science and world languages, among other categories. A panel of judges selected winners in each category from, along with three honorable mentions per category.
Jennifer Gaver, Journalism, J.P. Taravella High School
Gaver was moved to action when her best friend was diagnosed with cancer. She went door to door to raise money to support her friend’s family. She sold beaded bracelets, hosted a battle of the bands and held car washes. To maximize potential, she teamed up with Kids of Love, a charity that provides support for children and families battling cancer.
In her junior year, she started a Kids of Love club at her school and motivated 50 teens to join. Over her high school career, she has raised more than $30,000 for childhood cancer. Jennifer is currently editing an animated school screenplay for a film to be produced next year. She is a National Honor Society district liaison, captain of her cheerleading team and an intern at the Coral Springs Sports and Activities magazine.
Lauren Bendesky, Science, Coral Glades High School
Bendesky was diagnosed with Stage IV pediatric cancer at 14. Once in remission, she created the Lauren’s Love Foundation to support adolescent cancer patients. In 2014, Lauren became one of five national ambassadors for the national St. Baldrick’s Foundation that works to support pediatric cancer research.
Through Lauren’s ambassadorship, she was invited to intern at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where she will return this summer. Lauren is an AP Scholar with Honors, was featured in a Scholastic Scope magazine cover story, and is a member of her school’s Key Club, National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.
Parker Abt, Social Science, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Abt, a guitarist and student of the School of Rock of Coral Springs, channeled his love of rock ’n’ roll into Rock Buddies, a five-week program that teaches children with special needs how to play music.
He founded the program in 2013 after working as a volunteer with Parkland Buddy Sports, an organization that offers sports programs for children with special needs. Abt has been named a National AP Scholar and National Merit Semifinalist. He is the founder of his school’s national history bowl team, captain of his debate team and three-time participant of a summer internship with Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson.
The purpose of the Silver Knights Award program is to recognize outstanding students who have not only maintained good grades, but have also unselfishly applied their special knowledge and talents to contribute significant service to their schools and communities. The Silver Knight Awards program was instituted at The Miami Herald in 1959 by John S. Knight, past publisher of The Miami Herald, founder and editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and 1968 Pulitzer Prize winner. Other winners and Honorable Mentions are found in the Miami Herald.