Jori Opara Receives Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Pursuer of Excellence Award

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Culture Shock Miami Student Advisory council member cited for her commitment to the arts.

Culture Shock Miami announced that Jori Opara, a member of its Student Advisory panel and a 10th grade student at iPreparatory Academy received Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez’s Pursuer of Excellence Award, one of three special awards from the Mayor’s Shining Scholars Awards. Mayor Jimenez presented her with the award on October 9, 2013, in the Commission Chambers at the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street, Second Floor, in Miami, prior to the Board of County Commissioners Meeting. Jori is represented by Miami-Dade County Commisioner Jean Monestime, District 2.

As part of Actively Investing in Miami-Dade – the A.I.M. Initiative –, the Mayor’s Shining Scholars Awards aims to showcase the talented young people in our community by recognizing those students who strive to improve themselves and achieve more. Each month, one student is selected for each of the following awards: "The Pursuer of Excellence," "The Unstoppable Scholar," and "The Emerging Leader." High school students from public, private, and charter schools throughout Miami-Dade County are eligible for nomination. Students are nominated by their teachers, coaches, employers, mentors, etc.

Jori is a member of the Culture Shock Miami Student Advisory Council, which is the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Department’s $5 ticket program to the arts for students. As a Student Council member since 2009, she attends monthly meetings, where she assists in making policy and marketing decisions that will effectively reach her peers throughout the community. She also serves as a Culture Shock Miami Ambassador at her school, encouraging students to attend arts events and promoting the program to fellow classmates, teachers, and school administrators. Given her leadership and interest in promoting the arts, Jori was invited to serve as a panelist at the 2012 Southern Arts Federation Performing Arts Exchange Conference.

Michael Spring, Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Miami-Dade County, said, "We are extremely proud of Jori for receiving this honor from Mayor Jimenez. As a member of Culture Shock Miami’s Student Advisory Council, she has helped increase awareness among teens of the importance of participation in the arts as a critical component to a complete education."

During the 2013-14 cultural session, Jori is being recruited to work as a Cultural Correspondent in order to bring a different perspective of the arts to young audiences by conducting interviews with cultural leaders from various organizations throughout the County. She also aspires to serve as a Student Ambassador for the People to People Ambassador Program, an international education travel program featuring unique activities for building independence and maturity, exclusive cultural moments to increase global awareness, and exciting destinations to foster a love for international travel and foreign cultures.

Jori actively engages in year-round events and activities that cultivate and inspire her academic, professional, and civic growth. She is enrolled in Advanced Placement and honors courses at her school, where she maintains a 4.417 GPA. Her passion is writing poems and song lyrics in her spare time. She volunteers and tutors as a Key Club Section Leader, a Student Liaison for the iPrep Academy PTSA, and a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Ivy Rosettes.

This past summer, Jori became involved in the Miami Foundation’s Ashoka’s Youth Venture Program, which inspires and invests in teams of young people to create and launch their own sustainable, community-benefiting ventures. Jori and a fellow team member created a model for students about cyber bullying and media responsibility. This ongoing project gives teenagers insight into the dangers of being on social media.

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