HEAT Academy End of Year Celebration Recap

HEAT Academy

MIAMI – The Miami HEAT hosted an end-of-year celebration for 300 HEAT Academy students at the AmericanAirlines Arena on May 13th, 2014. During the afternoon, it was a carnival-style event with food, fun, and excitement. During the festivities, Carnival Corporation & plc presented a check in the amount of $250,000 to the Florida Prepaid College Foundation for scholarships benefiting HEAT Academy students. Fifteen fifth-grade HEAT Academy students have become eligible for a Carnival Scholarship, which matures in 2021, the fifth-grade class’ expected graduating year. This marks the 12th consecutive year that Carnival has funded the scholarships, and during this time the company has purchased 180 scholarships with a total value of more than $2.1 million.

HEAT legends Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway were in attendance. Scheduled activities included performances by the HEAT Dancers, Burnie, and the Xtreme Team. Lunch was provided by Papa John’s and Pepsi. The arena’s East Plaza was also transformed into a HEAT Fun Zone with inflatables, games, face painting, popcorn, cotton candy and more.

The Carnival Scholarships, developed in collaboration with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, enable 15 fifth-grade students who are currently enrolled in HEAT Academy to be eligible for a four-year tuition scholarship to an accredited Florida college or university of their choice upon graduating high school. Florida Prepaid College Foundation provides a matching donation to fund these scholarships. In March, the fifth HEAT Academy graduating class was awarded 16 Carnival Scholarships. Carnival has presented 76 students with scholarships over the past five years.

The following executives were also in attendance for this event:

  • The HEAT Group - Michael McCullough, EVP/Chief Marketing Officer
  • Carnival Foundation - Linda Coll, Director
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools - Dr. Pablo G. Ortiz, Associate Superintendent, Education Transformation
  • Florida Prepaid College Foundation - Senator Ron Silver, Foundation Board Member
  • Florida Blue - Penny Shaffer, South Florida Market President
  • HEAT PA Announcer Michael Baiamonte served as the emcee.

HEAT Academy, an after school program that provides elementary school students with extra exposure to academics, particularly math, reading, writing, and science, is the flagship community initiative of the Miami HEAT. Celebrating its 15th year of existence, HEAT Academy, presented by Carnival Corporation, has been implemented at three local inner city schools: Paul Laurence Dunbar K-8 Center, Jesse J. McCrary Jr. Elementary and Riverside Elementary. In addition to a curriculum geared for success on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), students receive assistance with homework, have a safe place to be when their parents are not available, and learn from positive role models who inspire kids to excel. HEAT staffers volunteer their time throughout the year to assist HEAT Academy students. Additional sponsors of HEAT Academy include Florida Blue and C1 Bank.