At the 2016 Dan Marino WalkAbout Autism at Sun Life Stadium, Team Cypress Bay raised the most money for the cause, having brought in $12,780. Because of their success, the Team was to be gifted a prize of their choice. They all chose to invite Michael Marino, Dan Marino’s son, to come and speak about his experiences with Autism.

To give a bit of background information, Dan Marino is active in the Autism-awareness community because his son, Michael Marino, has autism. He started The Dan Marino Foundation, Inc., which the WalkAbout Autism is a part of, to help spread awareness about Autism and provide support for the Autism community at large. So, when Team Cypress Bay, which was mainly composed of Cypress Bay’s Social Skills students, raised the most funds, it was only fitting for them to want to hear Michael Marino speak. For one, it was an interesting experience to meet and converse with the man responsible for the starting of the WalkAbout Autism. It was additionally beneficial for the students to ask Michael questions about his own struggles with Autism and how he overcame them.

On April 25th, 2016, Michael Marino visited the Social Skills students at Cypress Bay High School. Everyone ate Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza, Michael spoke about his life, and the students asked him a number of questions. Michael gave in-depth descriptions about how he overcame bullying, how he learned to make new friends, and even how he began dating and ended up engaged. Michael seemed truly honored to help the students feel more comfortable navigating everyday life with Autism. The event had an effect on each of the student’s lives, as it opened up a world of possibilities for many of them. Knowing that someone with a disability similar to their own successfully made friends and built a committed relationship allowed many of them to feel that these things are undoubtedly possible for themselves. HDS thanks Michael Marino greatly for his time and effort; he has positively influenced the lives of these students.