Silver Knight Nominees: Class of 2022


Alan Morffi

Celebrating their Silver Knight nominations, the group of Gables seniors stand together.

Alan Morffi and Allison Cajina

Awarded to students in Miami-Dade and Broward County every year, the Miami Herald Silver Knight Award and scholarship is given to students who go above and beyond in their community by organizing service projects that center around their passions.

This school year, six seniors at Gables who demonstrated problem-solving skills, natural leadership and perseverance in overcoming challenges, were nominated to receive the prestigious award.

Abigail Felan

Abigail Felan is a civically engaged cross country runner who has a passion for politics. After organizing a community service project where she campaigned for people to receive COVID-19 vaccination, Felan was nominated for the Silver Knight Award in the speech category.

Beginning in May 2020, Felan spoke over Zoom to classes about the importance of receiving the vaccine in hopes of clearing up any misinformation being spread through the media.

“I wanted people to be aware of the positive impact they could make by simply vaccinating themselves against the virus because COVID-19 is here to stay. Some students let me know that I actually convinced them to vaccinate themselves,” senior Abigail Felan said.

As for the application process, Felan felt stressed due to the time constraints caused by strict deadlines. However, she explains that she was “grateful” to have the support of New Voters, a student-run organization with which she works closely. The founder and president of the youth organization, Jahnavi Rao, aided Felan with her recommendation letter and her colleagues provided resources and support for her campaign.

“I checked my email during a cross country practice. Once I saw I was a finalist I started screaming and jumping. Once my teammates realized what was going on, they began jumping and screaming in excitement for me too. It was a wonderful moment,” senior Abigail Felan said.

Thankful for the platform and prestige the award has given her as well as the support and recognition from her own community, Felan awaits to see if she will be a final recipient.

Benjamin Pla

Nominated for the General Silver Knight scholarship is senior Benjamin Pla, who caught wind of the Silver Knight award through his older brother who introduced him to it. Although the scholarship was unfamiliar to him at first, he knew he wanted to partake in this process once the College Assistance Program advisor, Ms. Driver, held information sessions explaining the process.

Pla’s community service project, the Student International Pathways Program, provides internships for high school students with consulate offices.

Since he began, Pla has been able to pair 24 high school students from different schools around Miami with eight different consulates, including the Israeli, Polish, Macedonian, Slovak, Czech and more.

“Previous to this program I didn’t really see any internships available for high school students. I had my own troubles trying to get internships with offices who would not respond and wanted to ease the process for others who are looking to become involved,” senior Benjamin Pla said.

The Silver Knight award has allowed his program to receive recognition, allowing the project to thrive in new ways.

Lauren Gregorio

Answering the in-depth questions that the scholarship asks was really a quick and easy process for me since my project was and continues to be something I am passionate about,

— senior Lauren Gregorio

Lauren Gregorio, who was nominated for the Social Sciences category, partnered alongside New Voters to create two virtual summits in order to pre-register high school students to vote. Through New Voters, Gregorio was able to bring aboard several political organizations willing to provide internship opportunities to students who were interested.

Having become drawn to the scholarship when she learned that it was entirely community service-based, Gregorio quickly applied. Though the nomination process seemed intimidating at first, Gregorio knew her passion would lead her in the right direction throughout her journey.

To Gregorio, being a Silver Knight finalist means showcasing leadership in innovative ways. Silver Knight requires your project to be something that makes an impact on your community, something Gregorio feels to be honorable.

Working further on her passion for promoting civic engagement, Gregorio has no plans to stop working on her mission any time soon.

DeeAnne Montero

An aspiring journalist, Deeanne Montero was recently nominated as a finalist in the journalism category.

After organizing BreakFree, a club whose main goal is to destress students by giving them an opportunity to participate in engaging activities such as journaling, dancing and arts and crafts, Montero knew she could use her project to apply for the scholarship.

Having hosted BreakFree Zoom meetings throughout the course of the pandemic, Montero has seen firsthand how her work has helped relieve students of their struggles.

When it came to the nomination process, Montero felt a mix of emotions. Leading up to the process, she was intimidated by the thought of the various other community service projects she would be up against.

Despite her worries, Montero was proud to see her commitment and dedication pay off and get recognized. To Montero, being named a finalist was an opportunity to showcase the behind-the-scenes of her hard work towards making her community a better place.

“I felt the proudest of myself because even the thought of being a nominee for such a prestigious award proves how my commitment and effort into this project paid off,” senior DeAnne Montero said.

Ana Maestre

Aurora Eclipse is a financial startup company catered towards aiding women. Founded by International Baccalaureate student Ana Maestre, her organization has led her to become a finalist in the Business category.

Maestre was able to make Aurora Eclipse a reality through her partnership with the Chapman Partnership. This non-profit organization has given her the opportunity to teach women how to begin a business giving them the tools needed to help them succeed on their own.

An immigrant child of a single mother, Maestre was inspired to start her project because she wishes to help those such as her mother who became financially stable through a self-started business.

“The application process made me feel excited but extremely nervous at the same time because not only was the interview nerve-racking but also waiting for the results was stressful,” senior Ana Maestre said.

Understanding the economic struggles immigrant families go through, Maestre has taken the role of helping women and their economic prospects in a new country. Maestre plans on studying nursing in college while continuing to further Aurora Eclipse and its mission to aid women in need.

Jana Faour

Organizing a mental health awareness club called Gables Vibe Check, senior Jana Faour is a finalist in the Music & Dance category.

Where students use dance as an outlet to soothe themselves from stress, Faour leads biweekly activities in hopes of creating a safe space for students through her passion for dance.

A Gablette who currently spends her time preparing the Mr. Coral Gables pageant, Faour also holds a leadership position on the Gables Earth Board as Treasurer and is the Co-President of the National Honor Society.

Faour hopes to study mental health awareness and psychology in the near future and is ultimately excited for the opportunity ahead of her as a Silver Knight finalist.

“Silver Knight has put me in a great position to continue my community effort, now it’s time to work hard and further my project,” senior Jana Faour said.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic stripped these seniors of their sophomore and junior experiences, the finalists managed to persevere and accomplish their goals. Being a Silver Knight finalist gives these students a platform to share their passion with their communities, and the possibility of earning a $2500 scholarship, aiding their passage into university.

Tags: silver knight, scholarships, nominees, award, features, finalists, seniors,