MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s nothing ordinary about the young men and women nominated for the prestigious Silver Knight Awards, and neither was this year’s ceremony.
The coronavirus pandemic disrupted many events honoring the Class of 2020, and this year’s 62nd annual ceremony honoring hundreds of outstanding high school seniors in Miami-Dade and Broward counties was no exception.READ MORE: CVS, NAACP Team Up To Get COVID Vaccines To People Of Color In South Florida
The over-the-top ceremony traditionally held at the John S. and James L. Knight Center was synthesized into a 500-square-foot video studio at the Miami Herald’s Doral newsroom. A production company worked for three days to replicate the experience.
Thursday night’s big to-do was one of the more unique ceremonies held since the 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 Heral
On Thursday night, 30 seniors in Miami-Dade and Broward County were announced as the Silver Knight recipients in various categories.
This was the 62nd annual ceremony to honor these outstanding students, hosted by the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.
Andrea Peña, the recipient in the Drama category for Broward County, found out she won but because of the connection, there was a delay.
“I had kind of a funny experience, said Peña. “I didn’t really know I won until I heard on my dad’s phone, because my computer was so lagged behind.”
Peña is a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student and loved seeing other students and classmates represented in the group.READ MORE: Eye On Earth: 'One Of The Most Peaceful Places In South Florida': Wakodahatchee Wetlands
She helped write ‘Shine,’ a song that became an anthem for the March For Our Lives Rally and drew praise from celebrities like Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber.
Peña expanded on that creating Shine MSD, a non-profit that helps her schoolmates deal with the trauma following the Parkland shooting through the arts.
“Me and my friend were both feeling so many emotions at the time,” said Peña. We didn’t know how to process them. We just gravitated toward music.”
Gabriel Perez is also a recipient in an Arts category, for Music & Dance in Miami-Dade County. Perez is a graduating senior from Hialeah Gardens Senior High.
He created Gladiator Jazz Combo, a musical group that performs and raises money for kids to be involved in band programs at school, as well as assist with scholarships.
Like all seniors, both Peña and Perez have been extremely let down by the pandemic’s effects but they are extremely grateful for all the efforts, from their graduation parade drive-throughs to the Silver Knight virtual ceremony.
“People working tirelessly to continue those traditions that make us all feel really, all so grateful,” said Peña.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Benefit From Much-Needed Provisions At Miami Springs Food Distribution
Peña is attending the University of Florida in the fall and interested in majoring in Health Sciences with a minor in Music Therapy. Perez hopes to be a future Music therapist and will be attending the University of Miami.