a group of people standing next to each other on a stage
Pictured from left are Debra Ward, assistant principal; Darren Pais, principal; Marisol Sanchez; Kameron Vetter; Tiffany Zepeda, AVID teacher; and Hannah Fisher, assistant principal. CONTRIBUTED

Key Largo School (KLS) eighth grade graduates Marisol Sanchez and Kameron Vetter recently received special awards from Learning for Success, Inc. (LFS) during the school’s promotion ceremony on May 25. The students participated in the KLS Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

The awards were presented by Darren Pais, KLS principal, Debra Ward, assistant principal, and Tiffany Zepeda, AVID teacher. Student awardees were chosen based on essays they submitted addressing resilience — utilizing stress and overcoming adversity in our lives. 

“Stress is vital to the development of kids and teenagers because you learn how to share your problems with others instead of bottling them up inside of you,” said Kameron Vetter in her essay. “You can become mentally stronger, and stress will prepare you for challenges in your future.” 

“Adversity and challenges at a young age build resilience for a successful life because you can find self-discovery, you can prepare yourself for what’s to come, and it can help you find peace,” said co-award winner Marisol Sanchez. “When I have experiences with hardships I now know how to take care of myself and others.”

The special awards were sponsored by a grant from Publix Super Markets Charities.

“We’re thankful for the support we get from Learning For Success and the generous contributions from Publix Charities for our outstanding students,” said Tiffany Zepeda, AVID teacher at KLS. 

AVID is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. 


• Teaches skills and behaviors for academic success.

• Provides intensive support with tutorials and strong student/teacher relationships.

• Creates a positive peer group for students.

• Develops a sense of hope for personal achievement gained through hard work and determination.

For more information about Learning for Success, Inc. and its programming please call John Casbarro at 786-877-0334, or visit For more information about the AVID program, please contact Zepeda at