Many of this year’s Miami Herald Silver Knight winners are well-acquainted with adversity — through their own families’ personal heartaches or the struggles of those living halfway around the world.
But a telling theme emerged Wednesday night at the 55th annual Silver Knight Awards ceremony: Rather than become despondent over life’s unfairness, these high school seniors vowed to make a difference, and that spirit of determination has led to some far-reaching accomplishments.
Take Silver Knight Science winner Renuka Meenu Ramchandran, of John A. Ferguson Senior High School in West Kendall. Ramchandran lost her grandfather to brain cancer and has since become a fixture at Miami Children’s Hospital — founding a program that has created more than 70 care packages for children in the oncology unit, and even personally conducting research as an intern on pancreatic cancer cells.
In Broward, St. Thomas Aquinas High School senior Eryn Mari Hughes was deeply moved when she learned about students in Sub-Saharan Africa who often cannot attend school because they lack basic supplies. Hughes, who is a gifted public speaker and a Silver Knight winner in speech, credits her education with helping her develop her own strong personal voice. By starting Pencils for Progress, an Africa-focused pencil-donation program, Hughes has worked to make sure other children have that same opportunity.