Palmetto’s 2022-2023 Silver Knight Nominees: Ava Goldenberg for Drama and Sebastian Soto for Digital and Interactive Media

Sara Paredes and Emilia Haus

DRAMA:  Ava Goldenberg

Since middle school, Miami Palmetto Senior High senior, secretary of Thespian Honor Society and Executive Director of Pinecrest City Music Project (PCMP) Ava Goldenberg has found love and a sense of belonging in the spotlight. She credits much of who she currently is to her experience in singing, dancing and acting. 

“Ever since middle school, I have been very involved in theater, and I have been doing shows ever since. I have done shows in Miami Children’s Theater, and at my school at the time,” Goldenberg said. 

Throughout her high school years, Goldenberg has been able to integrate her passion for the performing arts into various extracurriculars and leadership positions, making her eligible for the Silver Knight Drama Award nomination. 

“I have won many awards at Thespian competitions, and along with my leadership in the PCMP, I used to teach the vocal performance class, which also fit into that category. So, drama was definitely the way to go for me,” Goldenberg said. “[Her application] is a combination of all [her accomplishments] but definitely emphasis on my involvement in the theater program and my involvement in PCMP.”

In PCMP, Goldenberg works to provide musical education to students who would be unable to experience it otherwise, making it a key part of her nomination.

For Goldenberg, applying for the Silver Knight award was a process similar to her college application experience. 

“I mean, what is nice about the application is that you can kind of refer back to your college essays and supplements, which made it a lot easier. But it is a very long application process,” Goldenberg said.

After she graduates, Goldenberg hopes that her influence on MPSH’s drama community will continue to allow the department to flourish.

“Honestly, after COVID it put a very big dent in our theater program, not as many kids are trying out [or] are interested because everything was online, which is understandable, but I really hope that our theater program continues to grow. We are not a magnet school, but we definitely have something special and our kids are very talented,” Goldenberg said.

While Goldenberg does not plan on pursuing drama in her post-secondary school plans, she does hope to continue performing in the future. In addition, she aims to work in a field centered around her passion.

“I do plan to do some sort of arts management or marketing in the entertainment world, whether that be for Broadway or the music industry. I need to be around music, even if I am not doing it,” Goldenberg said. “Honestly, this sounds cliché, but I do not know what I would have done without having theater in my life and giving back to people that might not have had access to it. Theater and music really shaped the person that I am today and I am very grateful to have had that in my life.”


For Miami Palmetto Senior High senior Sebastian Soto, what started as an interest in technical theater eventually blossomed into a love for digital journalism and content creation. His passion allows him to apply his skills in informing the MPSH community through digital media to his everyday life, leading him to become a Silver Knight nominee.

“My biggest thing is I am the president of Television Production here at Palmetto. So, on a daily basis, I am directing announcements, I am utilizing equipment, editing scripts, utilizing various resources to produce media and keep Palmetto informed on what is going on, and I do service that way. I work with an amazing crew at Panther TVP, we work together as a great family, a great community,” Soto said. 

Each year, MPSH’s TVP organization is in charge of coordinating its largest fundraiser of the year and one of the school’s biggest events: Mr. Panther. This production is centered around highlighting the clubs and organizations of MPSH in the form of a male beauty pageant. 

“[Mr. Panther is] our biggest fundraiser of the year. So, last year with Panthers in Black, we actually made $10,000 for our program. That whole process was delegating jobs for our crew and working with the contestants, editing videos and all those different projects. To raise the funds for our program was probably my biggest contribution,” Soto said. 

As Digital Content Creator for student council, Soto utilizes his position to further apply his passion for dispersing media to the MPSH community every day, finding a sense of belonging among not only TVP, but various other aspects of the school. 

“I have been very fortunate with Mrs. Valero, she helped me as Activities Director when she took over TVP in my junior year; it really helped me be involved in activities as a whole and join student council. So now I feel like I have a lot more involvement in the Palmetto community as a whole than in just the media production side. I feel like I have some sort of an imprint and a little bit of everything,” Soto said.

For Soto, applying for the Silver Knight award allowed him to reflect on his experiences from the past four years that have created connection and enthusiasm for what he does. 

“I just found this love for [TVP] and a love for collaborating with such talented individuals. All the kids at Panther TVP are really bright in what they do, and every day they impress me. So I really like working with that community and being able to work with such a talented group of people and working with Ms. Valero and being involved in activities has given me an outlet for so many different things. It has helped me find myself and what I enjoy doing,” Soto said. “As a whole, I enjoy media because I think it is so important to help people stay informed and keep up to date with what is going on and I enjoy that I am able to spread that message every day.”

Soto hopes to leave behind a legacy at TVP and the school. With the hard work he has put into the department, he hopes the production continues to flourish and grow with the advice and information he has provided.

“I hope that when I leave, they have taken some of the skills that I have learned and been able to apply them themselves and they can have a new understanding or a new sense of discovery in this field or in general after I leave, and I hope that they just keep going onward and upward,” Soto said.