Cavalier Seniors of Distinction: Setting the Gold Standard


Ketty Dones

The Seniors of Distinction pose for their congratulatory group photo.

Japheth Oyedepo, Staff Writer

Coral Gables Senior High’s Seniors of Distinction are the epitome of all-around excellence. These students have spent their high school careers working hard to make a difference both inside and outside of the classroom. The seniors chosen truly represent what it means to have and embody the Cavalier spirit.  While their time at Coral Gables Senior High may be coming to an end, their time as citizens of the world is just now starting. Luckily, these students have had the Gables experience to prepare them to rise above and conquer all obstacles and challenges. There were a total of twenty seniors nominated; below are four of these dynamic seniors and their stories.

Juliana Bonavita

Inside the classroom, senior Juliana Bonavita has been taking and excelling in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes since her freshman year. She also chose to pursue two different languages while in the IB Program, Spanish and Italian. This is a choice not made by many due to the level of academic rigor involved. Nonetheless, Bonavita rose to the challenge. She is also well involved in the Cavaleon’s staff. Bonavita began as a staff writer her freshman year and has grown to fulfill the role of Managing Editor.

Outside of the class, Bonavita becomes even more of a star. She has been on the soccer team since her freshman year and is now the captain of the soccer team. She helped lead them to a district championship in this school year. Her investments in soccer though go beyond the field as she initiated an injury prevention program for the school’s team. This program came as a result of an unfortunate incident Bonavita lived through after she tore her ACL meniscus last year. However, this program has truly saved many others from suffering from injuries like hers.

One of her biggest contributions to Coral Gables Senior High School is her involvement with the Blue Missions Group and presenting the cause to the IBHS team members. Blue Missions Group is a non-profit organization that looks to help solve the issues presented by the water crisis throughout the globe. Bonavita first got involved in the program during her freshman year. She then submitted the project to IBHS for their yearly Bridge for Peace event. As a young sophomore, she worked with the team to execute the event. In the end, they fundraised about 10,800 dollars. Bonavita has been participating in mission trips during her summer break where she helps to build some of the latrines and aqueducts for the communities. One of the positive results of Bonavita creating the bridge between the Blue Missions Group and Coral Gables Senior High is how many other students became involved with the organization during their own free time.

“We may not realize it, but those in some countries some have to walk three miles a day to get water. This hinders them from being able to go to school or get a job,

— senior Juliana Bonavita

Chris Brazda

Another dynamic senior is the Cavaleon Editor in Chief, Chris Brazda. Brazda is another hard-working IB student who has been enrolled in high-level classes such as AP and IB classes since the start of his high school journey. He is one of the captains of the Varsity tennis team and a member of the bowling team.  For the Cavaleon, Brazda began as a staff writer, had a year where he was Sports section editor, like Bonavita, and continued to work himself up to the Editor-in-Chief position, which was no easy feat. He is also involved in SECME, a club where those involved are interested in competing in STEM-related competitions.

It is a great honor for me to be in such a highly recognized category with all of these extraordinary people that I have known and grown with over these past few years,

— senior Chris Brazda

With juggling all of these activities, it can be hard for one to keep up with their responsibilities. Brazda has come to learn what works best for him. He tends to do things completely at once instead of completing them in parts. Brazda has also become accustomed to the weight and demands of his responsibilities. With time, he learned how to calculate where he must spend most of his energy. Currently, he is focusing on submitting The Cavaleon 2020 for production, so the rest of the student body can finally come to enjoy the school year-long work the staff has been compiling. Brazda is also trying his best to lead the tennis team to the state tournament, this occurrence would be the first since he joined back in 2016.

Japheth Oyedepo
Isabel’s Silver Knight Project in Mrs. Cosgrove’s room.

Isabel Jaen

Isabel Jaen is another great and hardworking senior who was nominated. In the classroom, Jaen is a kind and helpful classmate to her peers naturally allowing her to naturally rise to the role of leader. A very interesting fact among her peers is that Jaen wrote her Extended Essay, a 4,000-word research paper, based on mathematics, which is a challenge few embark on. Her efforts to enjoy her time at Gables has left behind a trail of continuous hard work, as she constantly sought to better all communities she is part of. After school, Jaen has participated in the school’s Track and Field team. She did so both in her freshman and junior year and has always found it a place of comfort, a place where she can gather herself to face all challenges that come her way.

In the community service area, Jaen is the vice-president of the National Honor Society. NHS is one of the largest clubs at Gables that connects students and gives them the opportunity to do service work in their community. Jaen is also active in one of our language clubs, the French Honor Society and has been for the majority of her high school life. Jaen always looked forward to investing her time and effort into school-wide activities such as Bridge for Peace and the Gables annual car wash that work to bring the students together for the better of their community.

One of her most important contributions to the school community was her Silver Knight Project. Isabel’s project was to set up a place to get menstrual products within the school, namely Mrs. Cosgrove’s room. The project reaps benefits daily, impacting the school on a very practical level. She hopes to expand her project by putting it in more places around the school, for even more accessibility.

Rodney Michel

Rodney Michel is another student who adds to the positive and contributing environment that is Coral Gables Senior High. Michel is highly involved in the Student Activities program. This means he is in some way always involved in almost every major event or activity related to the school and student body, such as homecoming and school-wide treat days. He is usually seen around the school working hard on things on and off the paper.

Michel is involved in AP and IB classes while being part of the school’s volleyball team. He strives to be able to make time for everything, usually taking part in many demanding tasks at the same time. The relationships he has built doing these special tasks will be cherished for the rest of his life.

If I can help, I put myself in a position to help.

— Rodney Michel

These Seniors of Distinction are a great example of what Gables is all about; hard work, determination, academic excellence, and community service. They will carry the spirit of Gables for the rest of their lives, and we are proud to call them our own.