In a year of unprecedented need following the effects of the COVID-19, students at Cushman’s High School stepped up to support their neighbors through the Society And Me (SAM) program. As part of the high school’s unique curriculum, SAM challenges every Cushman High School student to identify issues plaguing our South Florida community and develop creative solutions that benefit those most in need.
This past 2020-2021 school year, students partnered with the nonprofit Achieve Miami to donate hundreds of boxes of diapers, baby wipes, and formula to residents whose livelihoods were crippled by the pandemic. Additionally, they bought, cooked, and donated nearly a hundred pounds of food for those at the Miami Rescue Mission. They also lead more than a dozen beach and bay cleanups, partnering with multiple organizations over several months to create a culture of environmentalism in South Florida.
In the culmination of all the high school students’ SAM work, a small group of students is chosen at the end of the school year to present their topics at the SAMx Showcase. This annual, invitation-only event was held on May 26th at the high school campus and via Zoom.
Congratulations to all of our Cushman High School students for their accomplishments through this unique SAM programming. Instilling compassion and civic responsibility and inspiring students to take mindful action with personal and joint accountability is a mission-driven, integral part of The Cushman School Journey. Hats off to these students for working to make a difference.
SAMx Showcase Presenters
Juliet Mahfood: Kicks 4 Kids
Juliet partnered with the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to paint vibrant shoes with and for hospitalized children. Her goal was to bring hope and joy to their lives and give every child shoes that they will wear when they walk out of the hospital. She will leave a user manual behind that that will instruct future Cushman students on how to continue and grow this partnership.
Ethan Morris and Oscar Woodyatt: Meals for The Homeless
Ethan Morris channeled his love of cooking into a year of service in which he cooked and delivered hundreds of meals for the Miami Rescue Mission. This got expensive, and so his partner, Oscar Woodyatt, coordinated fundraising events to raise the money to buy ingredients for Ethan’s meals.
Ethan Geimer and Spencer Davis: Protecting Miami’s Coasts and Waterways
These students’ love for the ocean inspired them to clean up the trash on the coasts and waterways where they spend their weekends. Knowing they could not singlehandedly keep the waterways clean, they held weekly beach, bay, and mangrove clean-ups – ultimately collecting hundreds of pounds of trash and creating a “cleanup culture” at Cushman.
Robert Valero: Mental Awareness and Emotional Education
Robbie founded “The Wellness Club” to create a group of faculty and students dedicated to developing a culture of kindness and openness at Cushman High School. The club is a safe space for students to talk through the challenges they face inside and outside of Cushman, and actively promotes mindfulness and self-care practices that help young people remain joyful despite the inevitable challenges that are a part of adolescence.
Mary Grace Thomas: Equity For Students With Learning Differences
Mary Grace found out that she had dyslexia in elementary school and has spent the ensuing years learning how to adapt to her learning difference and turn it into a strength. This year, she took her personal insights and shared them with dozens of younger Cushman students with learning differences, teaching them to be proud of their unconventional ways of thinking and showing them strategies for overcoming some of the challenges that they may face in conventional schooling systems. Her tutoring program Light The Way will continue at Cushman long after she graduates.