By Sharon Robb
MIAMI, May 29, 2020—Despite the world being turned upside down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Leonardo Mateus earned one of the highest honors for outstanding high school seniors in South Florida.
Mateus was recognized for his achievements in athletics via Thursday’s livestream of the 62nd annual Silver Knights award ceremony. He was among 30 high school seniors in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties honored.
Mateus, an Everglades High School alum who has been with SOFLO for 13 years, is headed to Ivy League school Yale University.
Mateus is the creator, director, and editor of the CollegePrep Project website, a one-stop shop for students applying for athletic scholarships.
As captain of Everglades’ swim team and member of SOFLO’s national team, Mateus learned how overwhelming the college application process can be. Through the CollegePrep Project, he greatly simplified the application process for fellow athletes.
Mateus was recognized as Most Dedicated Swimmer from 2016–2020. He was the recipient of the Dartmouth Book Award in 2019 and named a Cambridge Scholar with Merit in 2018. He also was inducted into the Science National Honor Society and tutored students in biology and chemistry.
SOFLO’s Sophia Bedoya, who has been with SOFLO for ten years and headed to New York University this fall, was nominated for a Silver Knight award for journalism.
The event recognizes outstanding students in fifteen categories.
The Silver Knight categories are art, athletics, business, digital and interactive media, drama, English and literature, general scholarship, journalism, mathematics, music and dance, science, social science, speech, vocational technical and world languages.
The prestigious award was created in 1959 by the former Miami Herald Publisher John S. Knight, and is hosted annually by the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald.
“These students aren’t just among the brightest in their graduating class, but they made public service a priority, selflessly serving to help others in our community,’’ said Aminda Marqués González, executive editor, president and publisher of the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, who hosted the event. “They are inspiring and we weren’t going to miss an opportunity to celebrate their incredible achievements.”
Each category awarded one winner and three honorable mentions from each county, coming from Miami-Dade’s 481 nominees and Broward’s 220 nominees. The 701 students represent 68 Miami-Dade schools and 35 Broward schools, both public and private.
The Silver Knight award includes a $2,000 scholarship from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a Silver Knight statue, an AAdvantage 25,000-mile travel certificate and an American Airlines Silver Knight medallion. The 90 senior honorable mentions received a $500 scholarship and an engraved plaque.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com