All teachers are special, but there are some that are simply spectacular. Mrs. Lorraine Silverstein, who served as a law studies teacher at Miami Killian Senior High, was one of those remarkable educators.
Silverstein taught at Killian for 17 years where she also prepared students for local and state Mock Trial and We the People competitions. After years of tireless dedication, including never missing a day of school even after her husband died, she retired and moved to be with her family in Maryland where she passed away in March.
In honor of her memory the high school introduced a new annual scholarship this month calling it the “Lorraine Silverstein Law Related Scholarship Sponsored By Panter, Panter & Sampedro.” The award honors her contribution to the law program and advancement of many students over her longstanding career at Killian.
The $1,000 award, sponsored by Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., was presented to Pedro Zerpa, a senior at Killian, in a ceremony at the school on Wednesday, May 25.
“It’s not very often that you come across such an impactful mentor. Mrs. Silverstein was my son Jordan’s teacher. I clearly remember him boasting about her commitment and passion,” recalls Mitch Panter, managing partner of Panter, Panter & Sampedro. “I got to experience it firsthand when I served as an advisor for Jordan and his classmates in helping them prepare for a local Mock Trial competition. It’s amazing when a teacher influences your kid in such a positive manner. She truly helped shape his future.”
“Mrs. Silverstein had an unwavering dedication to her students and the program,” added Jordan Panter. “She never missed a day of school no matter how sick she was or what was going on her life. For example, during the We the People season, she came every in morning with news articles relating to each team and did her best to encourage all of her students to make the most of their abilities. Her passion inspired everyone.”
“Mrs. Silverstein pushed me to be the best student, thinker, and advocate I could be. The experience of having her as a mentor has stayed with me ever since,” said Brandon Zamudio, Jordan’s classmate who also studied with Silverstein during his four years at Killian. “She consistently reminded us that this experience was about finding our voice, generating self-confidence, and becoming part of a team-something greater than our individual selves.”
Although this year’s scholarship recipient did not study with Silverstein, he is proud to be among the many students who will continue to flourish because of her incredible legacy. Zerpa was chosen to receive the scholarship in part because of his wholehearted involvement in the school’s law program, which mirrored what Silverstein exemplified.
“It is an absolute honor to be granted a scholarship that promotes education of law and the strive for excellence itself. The existence of the scholarship echoes Mrs. Silverstein’s passion for law, granting the ability for her to continue to touch the lives of many individuals,” said Zerpa. “Mrs. Silverstein’s inspiration will continue to reach people through her students, friends, family, acquaintances, and future award winners through the medium of education.”
Zerpa’s impressive list of accolades includes his participation and dedication to student lawyer activities at Killian. He participated in We the People last year as an extremely dedicated student who was passionate about the class’s success. Over the course of this school year, he volunteered to provide support and mentoring to this year’s students.
“After meeting Pedro, I have no doubt that he will go on to honor her legacy and represent Killian well in his future achievements,” said Mitch.