The Youth Fair honors students with Hall of Fame Community Service Awards

MIAMI, Fla. – April 29, 2016 – The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition announced that Gwendolyn Odin of Miami Springs Middle School and Maribel Corona-Villa of Robert Morgan Educational Center are the recipients of the Walter B. Arnold Jr. Youth Hall of Fame Community Service Award.

The Hall of Fame inductees each were awarded a $1,000 check at a dinner ceremony on April 28 for their dedication to community service.

Four other finalists were David Barge of Maritime & Science Technology (MAST) Academy, Sarah Nicole Bisnett of Henry H. Filer Middle School, Kara Madeline Powell of Barbara Goleman Senior High and Denisse Salas of Redland Middle School.

Each finalist, including the Youth Hall of Fame inductees, received a $100 check.

The late Walter B. Arnold Jr. (1914-2000) had a 41-year history of leading The Youth Fair, including as general manager and president. The Youth Hall of Fame Community Service Award was created in 2001 in honor of the man who had the vision to take a small 4-H Fair and turn it into one of the most beloved annual events in Miami-Dade County with a loyal following of 650,000 fair goers. The Youth Fair is the largest non-profit charity event held in Miami-Dade County.

About the winners:


Gwendolyn Odin of Miami Springs Middle School works with children in the after-school care program at the Miami Springs Parks and Recreation Department, where she teaches dance classes, helps with homework and reads stories. In one calendar year, Gwendolyn volunteered more than 1,000 hours in community service, including hosting a food drive, dancing with young patients in a hospital, cleaning Florida’s state and local parks, working with the Miami Heat Wheels Handicapped Basketball team and boosting awareness of childhood cancer.

Maribel Corona-Villa of Robert Morgan Educational Center has dedicated her time to tutoring students from four different elementary schools in Homestead with a goal of helping these students improve their English. Maribel is also involved in Rho Kappa, which hosts drives to collect clothing, canned foods and toiletries for Chapman Partnership Homeless Shelter.


David Barge of Maritime & Science Technology (MAST) Academy has been in the Boy Scouts of America for nine years and recently completed a project to become an Eagle Scout. This project focused on honoring men and women who have served our country. David worked closely with the Military Museum and Memorial of South Florida and led the construction of a 450-foot wheelchair accessible Veterans Memorial Trail, which was completed in January.

Sarah Nicole Bisnet of Henry H. Filer Middle School has been contributing to her community since she was 3 years old. Sarah actively works to raise funds for alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease from which one loses hair on the scalp and body, which she was diagnosed with at the age of 10. Sarah also speaks about the dangers of tobacco use on behalf of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), leads prayers at Beth Moshe and sings for the elderly at nursing homes.

Kara Madeline Powell of Barbara Goleman Senior High has worked diligently to give the gift of reading to as many children as possible after educating herself on the strong link between early literacy and later success in life. From this, Kara created Brave Books, a project that collects books for children and schools. Kara volunteers her time to wrap each book individually in beautiful wrapping paper and a bow and presents the books in a basket.

Denisse Salas of Redland Middle School has used her membership in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the Parliamentary Procedure Team to boost the population and reputation of her school. Denisse has attended events and town hall meetings to highlight the positive things happening at her school. She also had the opportunity to introduce sixth-graders to the school and recruit them to attend. Presently, she is working on the Gridiron Dairy Challenge competition to raise $2,500 for Redland Middle School.

The Youth Fair awards more than $300,000 annually in college scholarships, cash premiums and awards to local public, private, charter and home school students. To date, The Youth Fair has awarded more than $10 million to Miami-Dade students to help them achieve their higher education goals. The Youth Fair is the only venue in Miami-Dade County where students can showcase their educational, fine arts and science achievements all in one place and be rewarded for their efforts. More than 40,000 student projects are exhibited annually to more 650,000 family members, friends and fairgoers. Please visit


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