1,000 local students with disabilities presented with Presidential Fitness Awards

MIAMI (WSVN) - One thousand Miami-Dade students with disabilities were honored for their dedication to fitness.

The 14th annual Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards were held at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, Monday morning.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was in attendance, alongside South Dade Senior High Principal Javier Perez and other community leaders.

“It’s about saying it loudly that every single kid in our community and across the country should engage in healthier lifestyles and exercise every day,” said Carvalho, “and a disability, a handicap does not keep you from doing that.”

The event recognizes special students, from elementary to high school, for accomplishing eight weeks’ worth of physical activity, at least five days per week for 30 minutes at a time.

“It means the world to be here to get this award,” said award recipient Carolina Gutierrez.

Perez, who lost his legs after he was hit by a drunk driver in 2016, also spoke at the event. He reminded the students that nothing can hold them back.

“Here I am today, two years later. They told me I would never walk again, and we’re beating the odds,” he said.

Carvalho had nothing but praise for Perez. “He serves as an inspiration to us. Today he serves as an inspiration to these boys and girls with themselves have come face-to-face with a similar challenge,” he said.

“We’re only held back to what we want to be held back to. If we put our heart and mind into anything, we can accomplish it,” Perez said.

A group of American High School seniors and award winners credit their success to their coach.

“She taught us to work hard, run and make us get this accomplishment,” said award winner Joaquin Figueroa.

“It was a good experience to actually feel for, like, you actually did something for once” said award winner Luis Perez.

“We have limits, but it feels good, and I felt really happy, and I was so joyful,” said award winner Daniel Hernandez.

These Miami-Dade students are among thousands of other students across the nation receiving the award.

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