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HEAT Announce 2012 Scholarship Recipients

MIAMI – The Miami HEAT announced today the four recipients of its 2012 HEAT Scholarships: The Alec Kessler Student-Athlete Scholarship, the Dr. Jack Ramsay Scholarship and two HEAT Scholarships. In its 16th year, the HEAT Scholarships offer $10,000 in funds to high school seniors attending school in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties. The scholarships, valued at $2,500 each, are awarded based on excellent academic performance, outstanding community service, and an unmet financial need. The following individuals are recipients of the 2012 HEAT Scholarships:

Steven Claunch is the recipient of the Alec Kessler Student-Athlete Scholarship. As a senior at the Homestead Campus of School for Advanced Studies, he maintained a 5.3 GPA while playing varsity basketball. He was awarded the Bronco Award for character and school spirit and was also given the Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award for highest GPA of all athletes. Claunch serves his community as a motivational speaker addressing audiences of thousands at schools, churches, and camps sharing his life story of triumphing over trials caused by physical disabilities. He is also the president of his Bible Club and Sunday School Teacher. Claunch will be attending University of Pennsylvania majoring in Communications.

Viviane Valdes is the recipient of the Dr. Jack Ramsay Scholarship. Valdes attended South Dade Senior High School and maintained a 6.6 GPA. She volunteers her time at a day care serving as a supervisor and tutor, and also at a tennis club coaching children on tennis skills, fitness, and sportsmanship. She served more than 1,000 hours of community service during high school and was involved in numerous activities including president of the Key Club and National Honor Society, president of the Spanish Honor Society and vice president of both the English Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society. She was also Editor in Chief of her yearbook. Valdes will be attending Harvard University majoring in Psychology or Biology.

Emily Quintero is a recipient of one of two awarded HEAT Scholarships. Quintero was a senior at John A. Ferguson Senior High School and maintained a 5.0 GPA. Her extracurricular activities included President of the Health Occupations Students of America Club, member of DECA, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, and National Honor Society. She was also on the cheerleading, varsity golf and badminton teams. She volunteered for Miami Children's Hospital in the Ventilation Assisted Children's Center, serving 400 hours assisting children that are dependent on medical technology. Quintero will be attending the University of Florida, majoring in Biology/Pre-Medical.

Herman Castro is a recipient of the second of two HEAT Scholarships. Castro attended Seminole Ridge Community High School and maintained a 4.3 GPA. Castro’s extracurricular activities included Student Government, Spanish National Honor Society, and National Honor Society as well as president of the French National Honor Society and vice president of Science National Honor Society. He also volunteered for Epona's Path, which is dedicated to preventing the inhumane treatment to horses and coordinated charity festivals and toy drives for Sweet's Foundation serving over 115 children in a Public Housing community in Palm Beach County. Castro earned the Triunfo Scholarship from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for having an outstanding GPA, dedicating many hours to community service and demonstrated excellent academic and leadership skills. He will be attending University of Florida majoring in Pre-Medical.

Headshots of the scholarship recipients are available for download on Please email Lorrie-Ann Diaz at to request a user name and password.