Coconut Creek Recognizes May 2023 'Do The Right Thing' Honorees
Coconut Creek High School Principal Dr. Nicole Nearor (far left) and school resource officer George Vassilakis with Jovanny Baptiste and his family at Coconut Creek’s Do The Right Thing Awards. {Photos by the City of Coconut Creek}

By Bryan Boggiano

The Coconut Creek Police Department honored five students and three teachers at their Do The Right Thing Awards Ceremony on May 25.

At the ceremony, Broward County State Attorney Harold Pryor introduced each of the Do The Right Thing recipients. There were also video recordings from State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, and U.S. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio.

In his remarks, Pryor said the Do The Right Thing Awards help build bridges between law enforcement and the community and inspire people to connect connected with local government.

“I wish — and I would hope that other cities would do the same thing,” he said.

Jovanny Baptiste

Baptiste, a Coconut Creek High School sophomore, found a classmate who had a seizure and was unresponsive in a stairwell.

She was using the training he received from his mother, Jovette, a nurse who taught him CPR and how to respond to seizure situations. Baptiste put his classmate into a recovery position, rolling her onto her side and positioning her leg so she would not move onto her stomach.

He placed her into a wheelchair when she gained consciousness and stayed with her until help arrived.

Brayden Slade

Slade, a Monarch High School senior, committed to playing football at the University of Florida.

He is captain of the Monarch Knights football team and a captain of the school’s baseball team, and a recipient of the Brian Piccolo Award for Monarch, among other accolades.

Slade volunteers time as a youth coach for the city’s sports league; the Miracle League, which helps kids with disabilities play baseball; and Tomorrow’s Rainbow, a nonprofit organization that provides grief support groups for youth and their caregivers.

Coconut Creek Recognizes May 2023 'Do The Right Thing' Honorees
Assistant Principal Stacey Weaver (left) with Slade and his family {City of Coconut Creek}

Cynea Williams

Williams, a Winston Park Elementary School third grader, received recognition for her volunteerism with her family, who owns a food truck. Throughout the year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, the family feeds roughly 100 people at the Broward Partnership for the Homeless North Campus.

Williams takes orders, ensures the utensils are put out, and helps her parents with other tasks.

Her family says they do not feed the homeless just during the holidays for recognition but because they are blessed and want to give back. For Williams, it is fun to give back, and she enjoys doing service with her family.

Coconut Creek Recognizes May 2023 'Do The Right Thing' Honorees
Assistant Principal Mark Andriesse and Cynea Williams.

Alexander “A.J.” Ceron

Ceron, a Coconut Creek Elementary School kindergarten student, stood up for a classmate who experienced teasing and bullying twice.

In the first incident, when his classmate was verbally attacked, Ceron stepped in and said their behavior was unacceptable.

Another time, there was a physical altercation involving an older kid. Using his martial arts training, Ceron defended his friend and diffused the situation. The older kid’s glasses, however, were not as lucky.

“That older kid found out what many of A.J.’s friends knew: don’t mess with him, and he knows karate,” Pryor said.

Coconut Creek Recognizes May 2023 'Do The Right Thing' Honorees
Ceron with his family and Principal Dr. Bree Miron.

Giovanna Russo

Russo, a Coconut Creek Elementary School fifth grader, received the nomination from her teacher, Lindsay Mednick, for embodying kindness and encouraging her classmates.

In the nomination form, Mednick wrote Russo is the first to help her classmates when they do not reach their goals. Russo also exudes kindness and, through her actions, sprinkles joy, positivity, and sunshine to whoever crosses her path, she wrote.

Coconut Creek Recognizes May 2023 'Do The Right Thing' Honorees
Russo with her family and principal, Dr. Miron.

Do The Right Thing Teacher of the Month: Krystal Langley, Tina Stage, and Pamela Lustig

All three hail from Winston Park Elementary School and were nominated by school resource officer George Jarboe.

Each teacher runs the school’s care closet, where before Thanksgiving, they collect donations such as socks, shoes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toys, and food.

In the nomination form, Jarboe wrote each teacher does it out of the kindness of their hearts and for the love of the students and the community.

Coconut Creek Recognizes May 2023 'Do The Right Thing' Honorees
Assistant Principal Mark Andriosse (left) with Krystal Langley (center) and Tina Stage (right). Not Pictured: Pamela Lustig.

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Author Profile

Coconut Creek Recognizes 8 'Do The Right Thing' Award Recipients 1
Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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