The End of an IB Era: Ms. Bello


Audrey Lezcano

After working at Gables as the IB Secretary for 37 years, Ms. Bello proudly stands next to the Gables Cavalier as she enjoys her final school year.

Audrey Lezcano, Staff Writer

The International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High has been around since 1986, making it one of the oldest IB schools in Miami-Dade County. Two years prior to the start of the program, Beatrice Bello began working at Gables and took the position as the IB secretary the year the program began.

Ms. Bello has created a legacy as she is the last member of the original IB staff still working at Gables. This year, she will be retiring after 37 years of being the magnet’s secretary.

The IB program has changed drastically in the years Ms. Bello has been a part of the staff at Gables. When the program first started, a state mandate required that the magnet had a certain number of students per race and ethnicity. This meant that even if a student met the criteria to be in the program if the spots for their racial or ethnic group were filled, they could not be accepted.

An image from the 2002 yearbook of Ms. Bello, throughout the years the secretary has adapted to the various changes that come with technology.

“When we first started the IB program it was based on ethnicity. Meaning we had to have racial composition per state mandate… Now it’s by lottery now in full, and we don’t have to know we don’t control the lottery, the district is the one that controls the lottery,” Ms. Bello said.

Because she has seen the program change throughout the years, Bello has grown a connection with IB and its graduates. Ms. Bello understands the meaning of “Go Cavs!”, having both had, maintained and spread the Cavalier spirit throughout her time at Gables. This type of attitude sets Ms. Bello apart as she not only has a passion for her job but also for the school she works at.

“Ms. Bello always has a smile on her face when greeting both parents and students. With parents, she is always welcoming and ready to assist them with whatever they need. She always knows how to encourage students and ease their anxiety when they are under the stresses of the IB program. In a nutshell, Ms. Bello is the heart of IB,” IB Counselor Ms. Lezcano said.

Meeting Cavaliers and understanding how much they always want to learn has allowed Bello to not only view Gables through the eyes of a staff member but also through the perspective of a student. Seeing the generations of students from families who had previously attended Gables come into the IB program and graduate was a particularly memorable experience for the secretary as it showed her how Gables is a generational school that keeps alumni coming back.

A letter of appreciation written by a Gables IB student, many Cavaliers in the past have shown their thanks to Ms. Bello by writing her letters which she hangs on a bulletin board in her office. (Audrey Lezcano )

Working with curriculum, textbook inventory, filing and community service hours, Ms. Bello is the backbone of Gables’ IB program. Bello works diligently with her colleagues to ensure that the largest magnet at Gables is giving students the proper aid they need as they go through their four years of high school.

“Ms. Bello has been the anchor to the program as it has grown over the last three decades and helped shape our culture of community, encouragement and achievement. I am grateful to have worked with her and wish her happiness in her well-deserved retirement,” IB Coordinator Ms. Van Wyk said.

Ms. Bello’s hard work has not gone unnoticed through the years as she has been recognized for various awards. In 1998, she was a finalist for secretary of the year at Gables and for the region.

Although her retirement is bittersweet, Ms. Bello has already begun making plans for the future with travel being her first priority along with spending time with her two-year-old twin grandchildren.

With her Cavalier spirit and devotion to IB, Ms. Bello has left a mark like no other on Gables. The Cavalier family wishes her well on her new chapter outside of the school’s walls.

“Hope, understanding, caring for one another, and above all, remember that there is no better place than Coral Gables Senior High School,” Ms. Bello said.Related story: ​​