Here Come the Cavaliers in Shining Armor


Ariana Alvarez

The Class of 2020’s SIlver Knight nominees pose for a picture after hearing of their nomination.

Ariana Alvarez, Staff Writer

The time has come for Silver Knight nominees to share their project with the rest of the local Miami community. Each of these Cavaliers began a project their junior year that impacted and contributed to their school or community. Each student was nominated for one category out of the ones available: Athletics, Business, Digital and Interactive Media, Journalism, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science. Each of these nominees is a current senior, who has wanted to leave a lasting impact in their community before moving on to the next phase of their life: college.

Athletics: Daniel Toll

Daniel Toll’s project was centered around creating a welcoming environment at Coral Gables Senior High for students with mental disabilities by establishing an athletic and leadership program. The idea first came to him when volunteering at a Special Olympics Summer Camp. There, he met with a few other Cavaliers who were interested in working alongside him to make our school campus more open to students who have mental disabilities.

There were many people helping behind the scenes of this project including the SPED Department, Mrs. Ivette Feeney, and senior Nicole Valdes. Toll attributes the creation of his club to have better improved his understanding of humility and respect in regards to others. Ultimately, Toll feels that as a result of his project, he has greatly changed as a person.

“My goal behind this project was to further integrate and assimilate Gables’ special needs population within their high school to make it feel like home to them,” senior Daniel Toll said.

Business: Richard Smithies

Richard Smithies’ project is the Academy of Finance Freshman Mentorship Program. The program’s goal is to pair incoming freshmen to an upperclassmen mentor to lessen any non-desirable effects that may arise in the transition from middle school to high school. The students are encouraged to reach out to their mentor with any concerns and questions. The mentor’s goal is to help their mentee become well informed of their class options as well as ensure the student understands the program’s requirements. Wanting to see this program implemented, Ms. Lopez, The Academy of Finance lead teacher, helped him make it happen.

What he hoped to achieve from this project was to “enrich” the experience of those incoming freshmen and make the transition from middle to high school just a little bit easier. Throughout his project, Richard used the knowledge he learned from his experience with the Big Brother Big Sister mentorship program.

“I hope the freshmen will develop communication skills, teamwork, and other interpersonal skills through the program,” senior Richard Smithies said.

Digital and Interactive Media: Eduardo Caldera

Eduardo Caldera’s project is the implementation of ‘Microsoft Teams’ as the new communications app for teachers and students to use. His inspiration for wanting to tackle this task arose during a meeting. The discussion that ensued involved replacing Remind, the communication app previously used by Gables before certain restrictions arised. Students and teachers were left scrambling for a new app to use. Consequently, Caldera stepped in and found a new way to freely open the channels of communication through teams.

Wanting to bring this new platform to the rest of his peers, he worked with Ms.De Paola, IB Coordinator Ms.Van Wyk, senior Justin Vazquez, and CavsConnect’s very own sports editor, senior Kluivert Suquino.

What Caldera took away from this project was how important tools, like means of communications, have been integrated into our daily lives. He noticed how many people rely on online tools such as Teams to communicate with others and be able to successfully perform their tasks.

“The goal was to familiarize myself with Teams so that I could best help Ms.Van Wyk integrate Teams in our IB Program,” senior Eduardo Caldera said.

Journalism: Alexander Sutton

Always seeking to bringing the members of his community together, Alexander Sutton found himself spearheading an unconventional type of project. He sought to interview a different person every day about any range of subject; it could be a question about their day or hobby or anything, eventually, he compiled around 300 interviews.

Sutton not only interviewed students and peers but also interviewed some of the campus’ favorite teachers. His goal was to bring many different types of peoples’ points of view and bring them together into one social media page.

“The main takeaway I have gotten from interviewing a different person every day is that every voice counts equally,” senior Alexander Sutton said.

Mathematics: Lia Sanchez

Lia Sanchez’s project was designing a tutoring program for students taking the SAT/ACT through the Coral Gables Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society. Multiple tutoring sessions were held to help the students study for the standardized tests coming their way. Sanchez has always been passionate about her math classes; it is what drove her to become involved with math club. As her passion grew, so did her leadership skills. Sanchez now serves as Vice-President of the club, and she wanted to take advantage of the club’s resources and availability by helping those who struggle to ace those math questions like she once did.

The math departments, including Ms. Herrera, Ms. Prado, and Mr. Perez worked by her side throughout the project giving her the support and supplies she needed in order to make it possible. At the start, it was hard for her to motivate the students to go but once they saw how much knowledge they could gain from the sessions, they were more motivated to go.

“Many students feel marginalized because of their educational or financial background, which does not limit their ability to achieve outstanding scores on these exams,” senior Lia Sanchez said.

Science: Dayanna Ortega

Dayanna Ortega’s project included supplying the children of Cuba with school materials. Her partner throughout this project was Karla Delgado and they worked with Ms. Kiely, Ms. Aridas, Ms. Valencia, Mr. Weiner, Ms. Martinez, and a few more teachers. Firstly, she held a drive to collect the school supplies. Then they took a portion of it to Cuba, and the rest they donated to a homeless shelter here. Prior to doing the project, she was aware of the problem taking place in Cuba, but by doing the project, she was able to see it close up and what it was actually like.

“Our goal was to be able to provide children with the means to pursue education without having to worry about not having certain things like school supplies,” senior Dayanna Ortega said.

Social Science: Isabel Jean

Isabel Jean’s project revolved around “spreading period positivity” throughout our school environment. She began a drive for feminine products so that she could supply them for the girls that needed some in any type of emergency. She developed a system where, if you saw someone in the hall with a pin, that meant they had feminine products and you could ask them for some. Her supervisor was Ms. Cosgrove and her friends helped her out, such as Ayelen Escuarido.

“My goal is to make gables a more period positive place and less stigmatized surrounding the topic,” senior Isabel Jean says.

From her experience through this project she realized how many people were impacted by it and how big the need for feminine products in the school was.

Each of these students worked very hard to achieve their goal and they are very deserving of the opportunity to have their projects be recognized through Silver Knight. All of their projects impacted not only a group of people, but several in the local community and, thanks to these potential Silver Knight winners, those benefiting from their projects will be able to thrive.