Palmetto’s 2022-2023 Silver Knight Nominees: Matthew Lewis for Speech and Lucas Hudson for Social Science

Sofia Strohmeier and Paula Ortiz

SPEECH: Matthew Lewis

Miami Palmetto Senior High senior and avid sports fan, Matthew Lewis, photographs various sports teams across Miami, including the University of Miami Hurricanes and MPSH’s very own athletic teams. In his experiences observing several different types of athletes, the main issue that stood out to him was the lack of social skills in these athletes during their interviews for the media. 

“The main idea of my project was to really advance people’s interview skills, specifically athletes because I have seen a whole bunch of athletes have interviews that just go [wrong],” Lewis said. “Most of the time, they do not know how to answer questions. Sometimes questions are pointed, and they will portray athletes in a bad light no matter how they answer it. So my project really serves to allow athletes to fully portray themselves in their best possible light.”

By reaching out to sports teams to photograph, Lewis has gained communication skills, which inspired him to teach athletes the proper method to answer interview questions.

“I called a couple friends I knew worked within sports administration and news. So like people that do interviews for a profession, a Miami Herald correspondent, like a live correspondent on the sidelines for the Miami Hurricanes games that interviews players, and [also] a couple other people that do this for a living just so they can give their perspectives. And I told them what I wanted to do and they were able to really make it work, which is great,” Lewis said.

Initially establishing his project within the walls of MPSH, Lewis helped members of the school’s teams respond to questions in an expressive and adequate manner. As his project further developed, Lewis approached college athletes who may benefit from learning to focus, listen and deliver an informative and well-thought-out answer to an interviewer’s question. One of the most important elements of the session was to prepare athletes who will soon enter higher levels requiring quality communication abilities.

“It was more of a need-based program like which athletes need more work. I worked a lot more with high schoolers than college athletes because high schoolers are getting prepared for college,” Lewis said. “[Many] athletes did not know how to answer questions, and these questions are not easy to answer. It was really a goal of mine to give them the tools they needed to succeed.”

During the process of working with these athletes, Lewis was able to establish connections and form bonds with the people he assisted. Many did not realize the need for suitable skills for press and the media until they were shown the importance of communication in his one-on-one or group sessions, which highlights the significance this project held to Lewis. He was able to enhance each individual’s skills and allow them to speak confidently in media scenarios.

Along with influencing the futures of football players, basketball players and other athletes, Lewis has felt the rewarding impact of his project by recognizing the difference he was making in the lives of athletes who will use certain speech tools throughout their future, as well as benefiting from the outcomes himself.

“I definitely think that I would not have as good communication skills as I do now [and] as good personal relationship skills as I do now, if I was not doing this project. It has definitely helped me reach out to people like branch out, make new connections,” Lewis said.

While his involvement in athletics in college is a given, considering his love for basketball, football and continuous presence at various MPSH games, Lewis also plans to continue assisting players in grasping skills so they can fulfill a successful career in sports. Passionate about sports since a young age and looking up to the nominees since freshman year, Lewis’ Silver Knight nomination was extremely valuable and worthwhile. 


Miami Palmetto Senior High senior and Social Science Silver Knight nominee, Lucas Hudson, has positively impacted the people in his community, specifically the youth, by raising awareness and removing the stigma on mental health.

Hudson worked with the Pinecrest Youth Advisory Council on an event created by the organization called the “YOUth” Series in which an expert on a certain topic spoke publicly and gave a presentation to the whole community.

Hudson’s project involved a mental health initiative with the YOUth series,  teaming up with mental health professionals from Baptist Hospital. 

Additionally, Hudson assists the village in creating proclamations for mental health awareness month in May. 

“I got into legislation writing through the process of getting the village to issue a proclamation, so at student council at school I have actually written by myself three pieces of legislation and I have co-sponsored a lot of other pieces of legislation that we have got passed; one focusing on mental health but they focus on a variety of topics,” Hudson said.

Since eighth grade, Hudson looked up to older students who tried to get engaged in issues that they cared about through the youth series, and at MPSH he saw the changes the Health Information Project (HIP) students made on their peers. This inspired him to focus on issues he personally cared about to make a difference in his community through both HIP and his service project. 

“What made me really want to focus on mental health was my experience as a peer health educator with HIP. I really saw how important it is to have mental health education, awareness and access to resources,” Hudson said. 

Aside from working with the YOUth series, Hudson is an intern with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention museum in where he learned about public health and how to solve issues in health.

“One of the biggest public health problems we have had in the past two years besides Covid is a mental health crisis, especially amongst teens,” Hudson said. “I thought that I could really help apply what I learned at the CDC and HIP to help make a difference in that community.”

In college, Hudson plans to study public health with a focus on science and society, political science, or a form of engineering. 

“A lot of schools have this major called science and society which is looking at how we can use technology and innovation to make a difference and to make sure that the next generation of technology is made in an equitable way that is fair to everyone,” Hudson said. 

Outside of his project, Hudson can be found leading the Social Science Honor Society or recording videos for TVP. 

“I have made videos as part of my CDC internship so I think I also really want to have some kind of minor in some kind of film production to continue my interest into that and to maybe somehow use that in my future career,” Hudson said.

Although he will not be continuing his project during college, he will still be a supporter of the organizations like the Youth Advisory and YAC which he worked with during high school.

Devoting his time and effort to this project has left a meaningful impact on Hudson’s life.

“I really felt the impact that I could have on freshmen as a peer health educator with HIP, but at the same time I knew that that kind of stuff is not enough; you also have to increase the access to resources and the accessibility of actual mental health professionals and actually give people motivation and a reason to go out and do things for a healthier life and a healthier mind,” Hudson said. “I really want to have the impact on others that [the mental health programs] had on my life.”