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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of students from Miami-Dade County Public Elementary Schools are getting a special Christmas reward at Jungle Island Friday.

More than 900 students from 32 Miami-Dade schools are being rewarded for both excelling in academics and conduct in the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Program.

“It’s a mental program to make sure we’re on the right path to go to college and get a career and get back to the community to the younger version of us,” said Derrick Alcime from North Miami.

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The students acknowledged are considered “role models” to their peers.

In order to make the field trip, students had to complete an essay.

Antoine Reeves, a 9-year-old, wrote about giving toys to underprivileged kids in the holiday season.

Participating students are being rewarded with a with a day of fun, including a tour of Jungle Island.

“They’re here to learn about the education and conservation efforts we pursue here at Jungle Island. It’s really fantastic to be part of the learning that these young men do lever role models to be leaders in our community,” said Christopher Gould with Jungle Island.

Students also got the chance to view several shows featuring exotic birds.

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