The Heart of Cavalier Spirit: Mr. Costa


Melanie Ozuna

At the beginning of College Fair, Mr. Costa welcomed college representatives from around the country.

Jana Faour and Kluivert Suquino

Taking care of a high school with over 3,500 students is no walk in the park. The role of a principal is often misconstrued and taken for granted. Aside from all of the professionalism that goes on behind the scenes, the principal plays a vital role in a student’s high school experience. At Coral Gables Senior High, Principal Adolfo Costa has cultivated an undying culture in the Cavalier community unlike anything you have ever seen.

Principal Costa has been the heart of the Cavalier spirit for an entire decade, entering his eleventh year as the head of Coral Gables Senior High. After ten years of perfectly portraying what it takes to be a Cavalier, it is time to honor the legacy that Principal Costa has begun in Miami-Dade County.

His journey began in a seventh grade language arts classroom. Because of his excellence in aiding the student body, Mr. Costa landed himself a job as an assistant principal at Miami Southridge Senior High School, where he worked for five years. Moving up the ranks, Mr. Costa earned the principal role at Felix Varela Senior High School.

Four years later, Mr. Costa became the principal of the home of the Cavaliers, a place he has called home for over a decade. When he first arrived, the school had approximately 3,200 students and 300 employees. 

“When I first became principal at Coral Gables, the regional superintendent at the time gave me one word of advice: urgency. That is something that I tried to implement since day one. I think as a staff we have been very successful in constantly making faculty and students aware of campus news through daily morning announcements, constant emails and flyers in the office and all over campus,” Mr. Costa said.

Coral Gables Senior High
Mr. Costa hyping up the Cavaliers at the Pink Pep Rally.

As principal of Coral Gables Senior High, Mr. Costa began devising strategies to improve the school’s reputation, especially academically. There was major room for improvement in the quality of Cavalier education. After a year of Mr. Costa’s continual determination, Coral Gables was classified an ‘A’ school for three years in a row and a ‘B’ school for six consecutive years.

“When the schools first began to be rated by the state of Florida, Coral Gables was a ‘C’ school. One of the ways that I wanted to change the school’s academic trajectory was by implementing a ‘College-Ready’ program. I wanted every student in high school to experience at least one college-level course so that they can get a feel for what a college course is like. I think the program has been very successful considering the amount of students that take Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Dual Enrollment courses,” Mr. Costa said.

Upon his arrival at Coral Gables Senior High, the Dual Enrollment program was nonexistent. Although there were Advanced Placement courses, they were minimal and ineffective. Mr. Costa held on to one idea and stuck with it: urgency. He understood the importance of shaping the future of the Cavaliers and optimizing their opportunities to take higher-level courses to prepare them for their future studies as Gables alumni. 

“In my opinion, I think he is great. He is dedicated and always wants the best for our school. Although we don’t work together often, I always consider him an easy-going and welcoming person to work with,” senior Alex Sutton said.

Although his intentions of academic success have been prominent, Mr. Costa has been focusing on making improvements to the campus. Mr. Costa believes that the environment of the school directly affects productivity and the success of the school. This year, his main focus became concentrated on remodeling the school. 

“Nobody wants to come and study in a place that they do not feel comfortable in. There is going to be more state-of-the-art equipment, natural light shining in classrooms, and I am working hard to make sure the air conditioning will be functioning every single day that students step into a classroom. Not only do I want students and staff to be comfortable, but I also want them to be safe,” Mr. Costa said.

While Mr. Costa is doing everything that he can to improve the Cavalier campus, he advises the students to be mindful of their decisions. He believes that every choice that a student makes should be well-thought-out and should not linger as a burden. From day one to graduation, Mr. Costa hopes for students to enjoy their high school experience.

Coral Gables Senior High
Mr. Costa and the Cavalier administration at the 2018-2019 graduation ceremony

Mr. Costa looks forward to graduation every year—the ultimate celebration of the accomplishment of four years worth of work.

“That is the best thing for me, standing in front of a group of students that never gave up and reached the finish line. You watch these kids grow up and become adults right in front of your eyes. I think if you ask any high school principal, their favorite time of the year is graduation,” Mr. Costa said.

Watching students go out and pursue their dreams is what Mr. Costa lives for. Mr. Costa wants seniors to consider their final year as a time for preparation for their next chapter in life. While seniors continue to push forward throughout their last months of high school, Mr. Costa carries the undying Cavalier spirit and inspires students to strive for greatness.

Without Mr. Costa, the Cavalier spirit could not have driven students and staff to reach the levels of success that they have. This year, Principal Costa celebrates his eleventh year of being the heart and soul of the Cavalier spirit as he looks forward to doing what he does best: creating a better tomorrow for all Cavaliers.