The Curtiss Explorers Club is a research program that offers kids the opportunity to make unique and fun historical discoveries while learning how to be research experts. With guidance from teachers and librarians, students search for a forgotten person or animal in history that has made a positive impact on their community or our nation. The inspiration for this contest is our very own unsung hero Glenn Hammond Curtiss, “Father of Naval Aviation” and Inventor. This year was extra special because it is Glenn Curtiss’ 140th birthday!

This contest is made possible in partnership with the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

The awards took place last night at the Historic Curtiss Mansion in Miami Springs, former Florida home of Glenn Curtiss.

We are proud to announce that Miami Dade County was recognized by National Association of Counties (NACo) and granted a 2018 Achievement Award in honor of this program!

This Year’s Winners!
1st – Sarah Currea
2nd – Anabelle Ballate
3rd – Jayesh Agarwal

Teresa Ariza
Jayesh Agarwal
Keren Cabello
Kylee Swikehardt
Sarah Currea
Shokhjakhon Gaibov
Anabelle Ballate
Daniel Olivera
Detriq Johnson
Alyeria Taylor
David Fernandez
I’yari Swift

The Curtiss Mansion and The Miami-Dade Public Library System wishes to thank this year’s Mentors and Judges. Here is some information on each of them.

Mentor: Nadege Green
Nadege Green has been a journalist in Miami for 10 years. She covers social justice issues for WLRN, the local NPR affiliate.

For her, journalism is not only about telling the stories of the people who are accessible, but also seeking out the voices we don’t hear from, and telling those stories too.

She has been recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists with three first-place awards for investigative reporting, long form and short form radio reporting on policing in Miami-Dade’s black communities. Green’s work has also been honored by the Florida AP Broadcaster Awards, The Edward R. Murrow awards, and others. She previously worked at the Miami Herald covering local city governments and the Haitian community.

Thais de Leon-Perez, Design Technology and Engineering Teacher
Thais de Leon-Perez has a background in biomedical engineering from her studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She is now a distinguished teacher at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. She teaches I.B. Design Technology and Engineering. She is an active member of the community and is always looking for ways to expand her students thinking. Before working at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart Thais de Leon-Perez background was in new product development at Cordis and St. Jude Medical. While at Cordis she was also worked as a process engineer.

Grant Gravitt Jr., Television Producer/President Tel-Air Interests
Grant Gravitt is an Emmy Awarded Television Producer and President of Tel-Air Interests, his families pioneering film and video production company. Founded in 1959, this South Florida company has worked on such storied broadcasts as Miss Universe, Miami Vice, The Golden Girls. He is a third generation Miami native with board positions in organizations such as The New World Symphony, The American Cancer Society Florida Chapter, and The American Red Cross resulting in the Price Waterhouse Young Professional Up & Comer of The Year Awards in both Dade and Broward counties.

Margie Lopez, Executive Director of The Miami Bach Society
Ms. Lopez graduated from Coral Gables High School and later attended Miami-Dade College. After graduation, she worked at Flagship Bank, Suntrust, and NCNB. Mrs. Lopez elected to become a stay at home mom to her three, now adult, children. While they were in school she became PTA/PTSA President at multiple schools and is credited with creating a PTSA at South Miami Senior High. As her children got older she started working as an Administrator at a non-profit called Cuba On-Line. After they were forced to close due to discontinued funding from the Federal government Margie was asked to join the Miami Bach Society. Margie Lopez has been working with South Florida’s non-profits for more than 21 years. She is currently the Executive Director of The Miami Bach Society, South Florida’s premier early music presenter and host of the yearly Tropical Baroque Music Festival. She is also the creator of “Bach to School” the Society’s Educational Outreach Program established in 2015. In this programs first two years it reached 10,000 local students!

Councilwoman Maria Puente Mitchell
Maria Mitchell has lived in Miami Springs with her husband for over 30 years, where they raised their three daughters. She was elected to the Miami Springs Council in April 2017. Councilwoman Mitchell has graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Miami and the University of Georgia in Environmental Health Science. She began her civic involvement in 1989 when she worked with the Miami Springs Junior Woman’s Club to create the Miami Springs Bike Path Project. Since then she has had a very diverse background in public service. She has worked as the Manager of Risk Management and Safety for Miami-Dade County and is currently an adjunct professor at both FIU and Barry University. Councilwoman Mitchell has recently founded the S-Words Initiative and the Fewer Bags Initiatives. These are just a few of the many projects and places she has been involved.

Reverend Kit Robison, Grace Lutheran Church
Rev. Kit Robison is currently the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Miami Springs. He has an undergraduate degree in Engineering & Physics from Excelsior College and a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Rev. Robison is an active member of his community as part of Rotary International, and by participating in events with organizations such as the Miami Springs Woman’s Club and Lion’s Club. He is also the Head of Global Missions Subcommittee for Accompaniment with Guyana and Suriname. With this position, he acts as a shepherd and oversees the church relationship between the two countries. His evangelical background specializes in new church and mission development, with a focus on how to build healthy congregations. Rev. Robison is currently working on developing a new mission for a Latino ministry in Miami Springs.