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On Saturday, May 15th, the Miami-Dade County PTA hosted its annual spring gala to honor schools and PTAs with several awards.
This year’s Legislative/Advocacy Award went to the parents of George Washington Carver Elementary School’s PTA for their work to stop the development of the Wawa gas station across the street from their children’s school.
The “Legislative/Advocacy” award recognizes local PTAs that promote the protection of children through meetings with elected officials, media outreach and interactions with municipalities, the School Board and other governmental entities.
PTA parents have been advocating against the construction of the Wawa since the project was rumored to be in the works. As reported previously on Gables Insider, the project, currently in litigation, was approved by the Commission following a legal settlement which specifically removed the rights of residents and parents from publicly voicing their opinions on the matter. Parents, the school district, the school board member and the community were kept in the dark throughout the process, which ensured decisions be made through the City Manager and City Attorney, not the normal channels. Members of the Commission called out parents for speaking in defense of their children. The developer has repeatedly defied agreements it has made with the City, most recently cutting down live oak trees, which they had promised the City they would not do until after the litigation with the Gables Accountability Project (GAP).
“Advocacy is a daily commitment that happens one conversation at a time,” said Carver PTA president Estelle Lockhart. “When others have moved on from the front-page story, advocates continue the conversation, largely unnoticed. Thank you to the Miami Dade Council County PTA for recognizing our advocacy efforts regarding commercial developments around schools. It’s a valuable, timely discussion and we are proud to be a part of it.”
The gala was attended by Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
George Washington Carver Elementary also took the Standard of Excellence award.
Ponce de Leon Middle Takes Home Four Awards
Ponce de Leon Middle took home four awards on Saturday night. Principal Herb Penton took home the Paul Bell Principal of the Year Award, Suzet Cleary received the Ruth Owens Kruse Spirit of PTA President Award, and Rebecca Carter took home the Ruth Owens Kruse Pillar of PTA Volunteer Award and the Taja Elbert Distinguished Unit Volume Award.
The Ponce de Leon Middle School PTA posted the following on social media: “We are thrilled to announce that on Saturday Ponce Middle School won 4 awards at the Miami Dade County Council PTAs/PTSAs 25th Annual Award Gala. We won the Principal of the Year, PTA President Award, Pillar of PTA Volunteer and the Distinguished Unit Volunteer. We would like to thank all of our PTSA volunteers and members, and our amazing faculty, staff and administration. We are proud to be Explorers. There’s no stopping us now!”
Coral Gables Senior High Takes Home Two Awards
Coral Gables Senior High School also took home two awards: the Champion of PTA Community Partner Award and the PTA/PTSA Leader of Tomorrow Student Involvement Award.