The Able Trust Announces the South Florida Regional Winner of its Jeannie Amendola Speech & Research Competition

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Able Trust Announces the South Florida Regional Winner of its Jeannie Amendola Speech & Research Competition
Finalists Will Move on to Present at State Finals on June 21, 2019, in Orlando

Miami, Fla. – Marnel Jean of the Miami-Dade North High School High Tech Program today won The Able Trust’s South Florida Regional of its Jeannie Amendola Speech & Research Competition. Marnel will move on to compete with the other regional winners in the state finals on June 21, 2019, in Orlando, Fla., and will be judged by The Able Trust Board of Directors.

Left to Right: Dr. Susanne Homant, President & CEO, The Able Trust; Marnel Jean, Miami Dade North High School High Tech; and Rep. Michael Grieco, House District 113.

Six students with disabilities from Central Florida High School High Tech Programs, which The Able Trust has managed for more than two decades, competed at the regional competition. The Jeannie Amendola Speech & Research Competition was designed to help give students with disabilities the speaking and research skills that will help in their career paths and future professional growth.

“These students worked very hard on their presentations and we are so proud of their accomplishments,” said Dr. Susanne Homant, president and CEO of The Able Trust. “The competition is designed to address the development of critical communications skills among high school students with disabilities, to develop speaking skills, and to understand the need to research their presentations to support their opinions with facts.”

“We congratulate our finalists and look forward to seeing them present in Orlando at the state finals in June,” concluded Dr. Homant.

As part of the regional contests, competitors had to compare and contrast post-secondary education options using research, evidence, and references to back up their analysis and conclusions. Competitors were evaluated based on an eight-point scoring rubric that focuses on three main tenants – oral communication, research and non-verbal communication.

The Able Trust’s Speech & Research Competition was named the Jeannie Amendola Speech & Research Competition in honor of Jeannie Amendola, who passed away on December 28, 2017. Jeannie, a longtime Disney employee, was a passionate advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities. She served as a leader with CastABLE, the Disney diversity resource group that promotes respect, equality, and appreciation of people with disabilities through awareness, education, and inclusion. Amendola also served on the Board of The Able Trust for 12 years and as an Ambassador for The Able Trust until she passed away.

About The Able Trust

The Able Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to be a key leader in providing Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment. The Able Trust supports numerous diverse projects, including the High School High Tech program, leadership training for workers with disabilities, work experience training and technical assistance, transportation assistance, career development training, employment and career path direction and assistance to businesses as they seek the employment of people with disabilities. Since its beginnings, The Able Trust has worked with community organizations in every county in Florida to put thousands of people with disabilities to work. To learn more about The Able Trust, please visit and follow @AbleTrust.

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