Walter B. Arnold, Jr. Youth Hall of Fame Community Service Award

Walter B. Arnold, Jr. Youth Hall of Fame Community Service Award

Walter B. Arnold Jr. admired the creativity, dreams and accomplishments of our community's youth and wanted to recognize and reward these talented young people. He was devoted to youth programs, community service and the celebration and recognition of young achievers.

The Youth Hall of Fame community service award recognizes noteworthy youth achievement for private and public middle and high school students from Miami-Dade County in service to their school and/or community.


Applications must be submitted to the designated person at your school. One school finalist is to be submitted by your school coordinator.

  • Open to all middle and high school students in public, private, parochial and home schools.
  • Students should show an ability to lead and involve others in their community service project.
  • Students should demonstrate perseverance, independence, creative and critical thinking skills.
  • All services must be documented.
  • Community service should be varied with one major community service project highlighted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?
Middle and high school students who invest their time and energy in helping others overcome hardships are eligible to win the award.

How do I apply?
Submit the complete application to the designated person at your school.

How many awards are allocated?
Four middle-school students and four senior high school students from public and private schools are selected every year.

What is the value of the award?
Finalists are also recognized in each of the five Regional Centers of Miami-Dade County Public Schools at the high school and middle school level. Private school finalists will be divided into the Regional Centers by the physical address of the school. Each finalist is awarded $100. One middle school and one high school Miami-Dade County student is selected each year to be inducted. Each inductee is awarded $1,000.
Youth Hall of Fame Inductees
High School
2001Linda OrientalMiami Jackson Senior High School
2002Medardo MartinHialeah Senior High School
2003Kathryn ZabielinskiCoral Reef Senior High School
2004Alice KimMiami Palmetto Senior High School
2005Harley N. GouldDr. Michael Krop Senior High School
2006Laura E. IrastorzaOur Lady Of Lourdes Academy
2007Judelys GutierrezHialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School
2008Kem ChatfieldMiami Carol City Senior High School
2009Nicole LudmirDr. Michael Krop Senior High School
2010Dale WebsterYoung Men’s Academy
2011Manuel MaciasChristopher Columbus High School
2012Angeline PinoInternational Studies Charter Senior High School
2013Betsy TrujilloG. Holmes Braddock Senior High School
2014Leia SchwartzCoral Reef Senior High School
2014Waleed MneimnehPalmer Trinity School
2015Kimberly ForeiterDr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School
2016Maribel Corona-VillaRobert Morgan Educational Center
2017Shawn KouriHialeah Senior High School
2018Anilegna Nuñez AbreuSouth Miami Senior High School
2019Jazmin NeadleSouth Miami Senior High School
2023Arianna MartinezNew World School of the Arts
2024Zahra Marie Ronizi Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School
Middle School
2001Kyle AmberPalmetto Middle School
2002Rigoberto L. CabreraRiviera Middle School
2003Laura IrastorzaEpiphany School
2004Leotha III FlemingAllapattah Middle School
2005Ethan AddicottHighland Oaks Middle School
2006Ashley RempelArvida Middle School
2007Natalie BuellHomestead Middle School
2008Michael V. BerriosMiami Lakes Middle School
2009Yhineeidy CastroHenry H. Filer Middle School
2010Tylor DavisSouthwood Middle School
2011Kimberly C. ForeiterJohn F. Kennedy Middle School
2012Ashley ScarrySouthwood Middle School
2013Joshua WilliamsRansom Everglades Middle School
2014Sophie BarryGeorge Washington Carver Middle School
2015Alyssa CerberGeorge Washington Carver Middle School
2016Gwendolyn OdinMiami Springs Middle School
2017Madison AmadorLeewood K-8 Center
2018SaiLasya MunamartyArchimedean Middle Conservatory
2019Joi TurnedF.C. Martin K-8 Center
2023Addiel SantanaHammocks Middle School
2024Jeremy Matthews Bob Graham Education Center

2024 Inductees

    Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School

    Zahra’s service efforts are a testament to her dedication and vision. In 9th grade, she founded the Odyssey Scholarship Program to address the disparity in STEM resources for underrepresented youth globally. Through partnerships with schools and universities in 16 countries, Zahra's initiative provides STEM workshops and mentorship programs, particularly targeting the space industry. Serving as the Founder and President, she orchestrates international and in-person programs, manages finances, and collaborates with her team, showcasing her leadership and organizational skills.

    Her journey underscores her determination. Coming from a low-income single-parent household, Zahra faced financial struggles, yet she relentlessly pursued her goals. Leveraging her passion for space and her firsthand experience at Space Camp, she initiated the Odyssey Scholarship Program to bring opportunities to students like herself. Through meticulous planning and dedication, she launched scholarships, ultimately impacting over 3,000 students globally and empowering them to pursue careers in STEM.

    Zahra’s impact transcends borders and inspires others to dream big. Her commitment to education and community service extends beyond personal achievements. As she envisions expanding the program nationally during college, she seeks to build a supportive community and motivate young students to pursue their passions in STEM. Zahra’s story illustrates the transformative power of service and the profound impact of one individual’s vision and perseverance.


    Bob Graham Education Center

    Jeremy Matthews, affectionately known as “JJ,” is a leader in the fight against pediatric cancer. Despite losing his vision to Bilateral Retinoblastoma at a tender age, Jeremy has channeled his experience into a tireless mission to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. From organizing school fundraisers to speaking engagements at local events, Jeremy's dedication knows no bounds. His most notable achievement includes raising over $50,000 through a head-shaving fundraiser in honor of a friend lost to the disease, showcasing his selflessness and unwavering commitment to the cause.

    Jeremy's advocacy extends beyond local efforts to national platforms. He has actively lobbied Congress for legislation supporting less toxic treatment options for pediatric cancer patients, making a significant impact on policymaking. His participation in events like Curefest in Washington, DC, further amplifies his voice, where he collaborates with fellow survivors and warriors, advocating on Capitol Hill for vital changes in pediatric cancer care and research funding.

    Although only 12 years old, Jeremy's service efforts have garnered widespread recognition and admiration. His resilience, determination, and ability to inspire change make him a standout advocate in the fight against childhood cancer. Jeremy's story serves as a powerful reminder of the impact individuals can make, regardless of their age or circumstances, in shaping a brighter future for all.

2024 High School Finalists

    MAST Academy

    Isabel del Valle McGuinness’s service efforts are characterized by her unparalleled dedication to Share the Boo, a project she initiated in 2018 to bring Halloween joy to disadvantaged youth in Miami. Through Share the Boo, Isabel collects, repairs, and distributes Halloween costumes and candy to children from low-income, homeless, and foster backgrounds. Despite facing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Isabel adapted her approach, emphasizing safety while ensuring that children still experienced the delight of Halloween festivities. Her commitment to serving her community has led to significant growth, with Share the Boo expanding its reach to over 2,000 children to date through partnerships with multiple organizations.

    Isabel's leadership role within Share the Boo is pivotal, as she oversees all aspects of the initiative, from costume collection and maintenance to event organization and community engagement. Her proactive approach extends beyond the project itself, as she actively manages social media, coordinates volunteers, and seeks grant opportunities to further support Share the Boo’s mission. Isabel’s organizational skills have been instrumental in sustaining and expanding the impact of Share the Boo, enabling it to become a beacon of joy and inclusivity for underprivileged children in Miami.

    Isabel’s service efforts exemplify her deep sense of empathy and commitment to creating positive change in her community. Her initiative, Share the Boo, not only provides practical support in the form of costumes and candy but also fosters a sense of belonging and inclusion for children who may otherwise feel marginalized during holidays. Through her exemplary leadership and tireless dedication, Isabel has made a tangible difference in the lives of thousands of children, demonstrating the transformative power of compassion and service.


    St. Brendan High School

    Gabriela Garcia's service efforts through “Beauty Starts With Us” have been remarkable, demonstrating her strong commitment to fostering inclusivity and support for special needs students in her community. As the founder of the project, Gabriela has played a pivotal role in organizing and hosting a series of events aimed at bridging the gap between students with developmental disabilities and their peers. Through her leadership, she has successfully orchestrated activities that not only provide valuable life skills but also create a sense of belonging and acceptance among participants.

    Gabriela's motivation stems from a deeply personal experience, where she witnessed the challenges faced by a young girl with Down Syndrome at a nail salon. This encounter inspired her to create a space where students with exceptionalities could receive beauty treatments and engage in activities that boost their confidence and self-esteem. Her project not only addresses the immediate needs of these students but also highlights the importance of empathy and understanding in building a more inclusive society.

    Furthermore, Gabriela's vision extends beyond her high school years, as she plans to ensure the sustainability of “Beauty Starts With Us” even after her graduation. Whether passing the torch to a successor or continuing the project herself during college, Gabriela remains steadfast in her commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of special needs students. Through her dedication and leadership, she has exemplified the values of service, empathy, and inclusivity, leaving a lasting impact on her community.

2024 Middle School Finalists

    Southside Preparatory Academy

    Sophia's dedication to serving her community shines through her impactful service efforts. Despite facing personal challenges, such as her grandmother's illness, Sophia remained steadfast in her commitment to making a difference. Her service journey began with volunteering for the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, where she performed a solo dance to commemorate their decades of service. This early experience ignited a passion for service that would shape Sophia's future endeavors.

    At Southside Preparatory Academy, Sophia spearheaded a significant service project titled "Helping Hands," aimed at supporting marginalized individuals, particularly women battling breast cancer. Collaborating with the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, Sophia organized a donation drive, collecting essential items and raising funds for cancer research and support services. Her leadership in planning, executing, and documenting the project not only made a tangible impact but also inspired her peers to join her in making a difference.

    Sophia's service efforts extended beyond school projects as she dedicated her time to tutoring students in her neighborhood, addressing educational gaps and fostering a sense of community support. Her dedication, compassion, and leadership have garnered recognition from her school's administration and teachers, highlighting her ability to inspire others and her commitment to creating positive change. Through her service journey, Sophia has demonstrated the transformative power of compassion and leadership, leaving a lasting impact on her community and inspiring others to follow her example.


    Air Base K-8 Center for International Education

    Amelia Remmen's involvement with the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) has showcased her outstanding leadership and commitment to community service, particularly through her role in the Lead to Feed project. With a focus on assisting abandoned, lost, and abused dogs, Amelia coordinates the creation and sale of dog leashes, directing the proceeds to support rescue facilities like Paws4You in Kendall, Florida.

    Her dedication to the project is evident in her efforts to ensure its sustainability, involving incoming sixth graders and efficiently managing resources to minimize waste. Despite her academic responsibilities as an Honor Roll student and various extracurricular engagements, including serving as NJHS Vice President, Amelia adeptly manages her time while maintaining high academic standards.

    Amelia's leadership, effective communication, and teamwork skills have not only furthered the Lead to Feed project but also positioned her as a mentor and role model within her community.