On Thursday, May 26, the 2022 Silver Knight Awards were announced in person at the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami honoring the most outstanding and accomplished high school seniors from our community (Dade and Broward, academic school year, 2021–2022) in academics and significant service to their schools and communities.
The Silver Knight Award champions a high school senior’s character, academic achievement and the immeasurable community impact of their project designed, created and implemented to improve the millions of lives of Miami-Dade and Broward County residents of all ages.
Since its inception, this being the Silver Knight’s 63rd year, more than 20,000 students have been recognized; and over $1 million in cash awards have been presented.
Students are nominated in 15 categories, from Art, Athletics, Business, and Digital & Interactive Media to Drama, English & Literature, Journalism, Mathematics, Science, Speech, Vocational and Technical, and World Languages, among others.
Here are this year’s Silver Knight Winners:
Bella Neptune Peterson, English & Literature (Gulliver Preparatory) | Bella Neptune Peterson, Silver Knight in English & Literature for Miami-Dade, is dedicated to educating people about issues facing the trans community. Through their work with the Yes Institute, they launched a monthly newsletter, TransTalk, aimed at making trans issues more accessible, with an emphasis on activism. They have also been part of the Legacy Couples Project at the Institute, in which pioneers of the LGBTQ+ communities share their stories. And this Breakthrough Miami Council president is the lead writer for op-ed pieces at New Voters, a nonprofit that works to boost teen voter registrations.
Daniel Solomon, Music & Dance (Palmetto Senior High) | Legally blind since birth, Daniel Solomon, Silver Knight in Music for Miami-Dade, turned to music. He found his passion for the violin when he signed up for his elementary school’s orchestra program. Realizing the orchestra supply closet didn’t have a rosin — a necessity for string instruments to produce their sound — he began advocating for arts education. He founded Music at the Gardens, a concert series to raise funds for Palmetto Middle School’s orchestra. In high school, he merged that group with Pinecrest Sprouts Springs, which became Pinecrest City Music Project. Today, Pinecrest City reaches more than 500 elementary, middle and high school students weekly through its orchestra and residency programs. It was the first student-run organization to be awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Daniel also earned a Diller Tikkun Olam Award, a $36,000 scholarship granted to 15 young Jewish change makers from across the world.
Alexandr Kim, Business (Palmetto Senior High) | Alexandr and his chess partner co-founded Volunteering Miami, an online catalog of hundreds of volunteering opportunities that matches nonprofits with student volunteers. As managing partner, he recruited and trained 35 team members and connected more than 50 businesses and organizations with more than 400 students. He also forged relationships with council members at the Village of Pinecrest and established partnerships with five chambers of commerce across Miami-Dade County. “I believe that the role of business should be to provide utility to others,” our Silver Knight said on his application. “I have learned that the foundation of good business is the synthesis of many talents into one common aim.”
Sofia Tapanes, Digital & Interactive Media (Our Lady of Lourdes Academy) | After the onset of the pandemic, when in-person volunteering and visits at hospitals were halted, Sofia Tapanes, Silver Knight in Digital & Interactive Media for Miami-Dade, put her Story Time Smiles project into action at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. She produced more than 100 video recordings where she and others read aloud children’s books to the patients at Nicklaus, broadcast over the hospital’s TV channel. A Girl Scout Gold Award winner, our Silver Night’s Story Time Smiles is part of her school’s Intro to Computers course, in which students learn to record, edit and stitch the videos together.