MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thirty Miami-Dade and Broward County high school students were recently honored at the 63rd annual Miami Herald and El Nuevo Silver Knight Awards.
Nicholas Quintana earned the award in the drama category for his work creating the Bronze Star Purple Heart Project.
The Miami Arts Studio senior gathered stories from military veterans and brought their experiences center stage.
The purpose was to help document the experiences of veterans and those in the military now. He said his goal was to “enlighten the community on the troubles veterans go through, so we can do something about it together.”
The teen actor, and writer, was inspired by watching historical dramas about World War I and II, with his father, who is a drama and history teacher.
Quintana felt a need to collect more recent narratives and share them as plays. He interviewed veterans and current military members in order to gather material.
Once Quintana gathered the stories, he enlisted a team to write, direct and read the plays, inspired by these real people, but not identifying them.
There are three plays to date. His favorite is one he co-wrote titled ‘Semper Gumby’.
“I really like the message that this one portrays about the camaraderie between soldiers and the everlasting friendship that can come from being in the military,” Quintana said.
He also wanted to bring forward a role that is not as often documented.
“I wanted to highlight the spouse’s role in the military and what that entails, the support that they give for the people coming back home.”
The project was very fulfilling and earned him a Silver Knight Award for drama – which he said came as a surprise.
“Being able to win the Silver Knight was the cherry on top of the ice cream on top of the banana split,” Quintana said.
The plays are recorded on his website. The goal is to share them through the Veterans History Project of the Miami Military Museum.
Click here to view them.