A South Florida student who designed cleats for a good cause was surprised in school with a visit from a Miami Dolphins player.
In front of her classmates and teachers, West Miami Middle School student Healy Barrientos got quite a shock on Tuesday.
7News cameras captured the student as she was led by Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to the front of the classroom, where she was greeted by Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
“I was surprised, really surprised,” she said.
Barrientos’ artwork will be highlighted on the national stage after she won a district-wide cleat design contest as part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign.
Sitting next to Wilkins, Barrientos described her unique design, which reads, “Honesty, respect, cooperation, kindness.”
“I put a lot of hands showing, like, representing different people and how everyone is uniting,” she said.
The eighth grader’s creativity, along with Soles by Sir’s craftsmanship, will be worn by Wilkins during the Dolphins’ Week 16 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 22.
“The design was so cool. I worked with 300 guys for this week in particular, but this by far is my favorite design,” said Miami artist Marcus Rivero, who started Soles by Sir. “It took me the most amount of time ’cause it’s so intricate. I love the colors of it, and the cool part about it is that nothing matches the Miami Dolphin colors, so when [Wilkins] wears it, you’re gonna see these size 16 [cleats] from far away, which is amazing. She did a great job.”
“You know, it’s the season of giving, and I’ve got awesome cleats to wear,” said Wilkins.
“I’m really happy, and I can’t wait to see it on him,” said Barrientos.
For the fourth consecutive year, players from all 32 NFL teams will sport specially painted cleats promoting nonprofit groups.
For the rookie Dolphins defender, choosing Values Matter Miami was a no-brainer.
“This is definitely awesome to do because I’ve always understood this is bigger than football,” said Wilkins, “and it’s also good to give back to the youth and give back to my community, and to see people like [Healy], who understand it, who get it, and understand that their values actually matter.”
In addition to surprising West Miami Middle students, Wilkins also announced he has agreed to be a public schoolteacher this upcoming school year.
“That’s a cherry on top,” said Carvalho, “Look, today we celebrate this evolving partnership between M-DCPS and the Dolphins, and Christian shows up, he celebrates this remarkable student, but then he offers up his services to me to teach in our classrooms. That’s what team spirit is all about. That’s what community spirit is all about. I’d hire him on the spot.”