Gables Paradigm: Where Cavaliers Can Be Themselves

On+Sept.+20%2C+Paradigm+welcomed+new+members+and+caught+up+with+returning+students+at+their+first+club+meeting.

Courtesy of Paradigm

On Sept. 20, Paradigm welcomed new members and caught up with returning students at their first club meeting.

Maria Odio, Staff Writer

While high school is usually referred to as a place where academics flourish, it is also a safe space where students can find a sanctuary that empowers them and embraces their differences. At Coral Gables Senior High, one of these safe havens where Cavaliers can meet like-minded people is the Gender-Sexuality Alliance Club, Paradigm.

Paradigm is a club that encourages Cavaliers to be their authentic selves. It provides an atmosphere that puts the well-being and mental health of students within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ community into consideration in order to help them thrive at Gables.

Taking place on either the first or second Friday of each month, Paradigm Parodies are informal meetings that are “parodies” of the club’s official meetings which are hosted by Ms. Barrow, the club’s sponsor. During these get-togethers, students can chat with the club’s board in one-on-one conversation and play board games with one another.

GSA has redefined my views of high school and its social atmosphere. I never would’ve imagined in my life that I’d find such an accepting place that fosters nothing but love, acceptance, and growth. Being on the board of such an important club and being able to help students find a place free of judgment has proved to be a blessing,”

— sophomore Moon Anderson

Paradigm Parodies first originated from the board’s idea to have bi-weekly meetings since, for many of its members, it is the only place where they can truly be themselves. However, Ms. Barrow could not fit an additional monthly meeting for Paradigm in her schedule. After mulling it over, the club’s board eventually came up with casual meetings that allowed students to walk into the club on a regular basis rather than once a month.

“​​Paradigm is one of the most welcoming communities I have ever been in. Everyone accepts you without question and it feels like one of the few rare places where you don’t have to explain yourself to anybody, they just get you,” junior Allan Kaplan said.

While monthly meetings remain the usual, this year the club plans on collecting and donating resources for local LGBTQ+ shelters and hosting an after-school community service project in which students will create a mural to honor Alejandra Agredo. Agredo was a transgender former student at Gables who founded the Miami Riders Alliance, a nonprofit group that advocates for improvement in public transportation.

This mural would be located in the International Baccalaureate patio, in front of the theater room. While club members work together on the project, they will learn about the Miami Riders Alliance, Agredo’s involvement in Paradigm and her role in spreading positivity, self-expression and acceptance at Gables.

One of Paradigm’s returning events, which was put on hold last school year, is its annual film festival. Each year students can submit LGBTQ+ related short films for the club to watch. In past years, the film festival tickets were three dollars apiece, and all the proceedings went to an LGBTQ+ organization of the clubs choice

“I first joined Paradigm my freshman year. The board at the time truly made the club into a family and it was a wonderful experience. I never really felt left out and it was a real safe space where we all got along. I wanted to apply for the board because I wanted to continue what they had started and give LGBTQ youth at Gables a family here to support them,” junior Elise Pagani said.

Gables is a school filled with different ethnicities, personalities, genders and sexualities, and Paradigm has been a catalyst allowing all of these demographics to come together to form a community that promotes acceptance to people of all backgrounds. Giving students the opportunity to thrive and feel accepted, Paradigm’s role at Gables is one that cannot be replaced.

For more information regarding upcoming meetings and community service projects, visit the club’s Instagram or text @CGHSPARAI to 81010.