The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

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The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

30 Years Later, Welcome Back Ms. Montes

Returning to her alma mater, Ms. Montes is received with open arms
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Ms. Montes
Ms. Montes (second row, first person from the left) participated in the French Honor Society during all her years at Gables. During her junior year, Madame Michel was the club sponsor.

Embodying the love of French culture at Coral Gables Senior High as the Class of 1993, Ms. Montes is returning to Gables 30 years later, as a faculty member. Hired as the new French teacher after Mrs. Bauer’s retirement, Ms. Montes is ecstatic to be returning to the place that started her French journey in the beginning.

Growing up in Miami, her native language was Spanish, but she learned English in elementary. At that time, Florida was not predominantly Latin, and her exposure to English every day paved the way for her to start speaking it. When Ms. Montes arrived at Gables in 1989, she wanted to learn something new, unfamiliar and French sparked her interest. With Mrs. Michel as the French teacher at the time, Ms. Montes gradually learned to speak the language and now shares her knowledge with her students. 

A team player at Gables, Ms. Montes was also a captain of the girls soccer team during her senior year. (first row on the right) (Courtesy of Ms. Montes)

“My teacher Madame Michel apparently still has a legendary reputation around here, which is amazing. Her class is where I started learning French, and I wanted to come back to my home school so I could teach it myself,” Ms. Montes said. 

Traveling all over the world, from Texas to Japan and France, Ms. Montes has taught throughout multiple countries. Attending the University of Michigan for undergraduate school, she studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France her junior year. By spending her entire academic year participating in the M-Compass Program, Ms. Montes immersed herself in French culture and became more fluent in her language. 

Ms. Montes during her senior year at Gables. (Courtesy of Ms. Montes)

“I love to travel, and in any French-speaking nation that I visit, everything just comes to me easily. It’s right there in my back pocket. Given that I also speak Spanish, communicating with other people has never been a problem for me. Coming across people from different corners of the world who speak Spanish or French, or whichever language you’re learning, is really fascinating because you automatically have that connection,” Ms. Montes said.

Keeping her classroom lively, Ms. Montes aims to inspire her students every time they walk through the door. Finding new ways to make her class interesting, she does so by maintaining her positive class attitude and building upon every lesson that she teaches. By introducing her students to a world of French language and culture, Ms. Montes provides them with a greater understanding of customs, values and traditions.

“Ms. Montes teaches in a fast, understandable way that everyone in the class can understand. She’s willing to repeat and correct pronunciations, which no other French teacher I’ve ever had has done. She makes conversation with her students and does small things that just make me feel more comfortable while I’m in her class,” sophomore David Santamaria said.

“There are many different learning styles these days, and classes should not always be focused on just opening your book, copying the exercises and figuring it out. I think it has to be this constant dance of being able to engage the other side. I try to include some fun in it. I try to be funny at times, and I try to have a connection with every student that’s in my class. I think that’s the best way to engage any teenager,” Ms. Montes said.

Being active within Gables, Ms. Montes is taking over the French Honor Society, which was previously managed by Mrs. Rouit, the chairman of the French department. Assisted by the president of FHS, Ms. Montes looks forward to interact with her new board and sponsor into the club she was once a part of.

“Ms. Montes is going to do a great job. She was already the French club sponsor at her previous school, and she’s been working as a teacher for the Miami-Dade County Public School system for many years now. I’m sure that it will be a smooth transition, and she will take the club very far,” Mrs. Rouit said.

Since Ms. Montes has been back at Gables, she has been warmly welcomed by the teachers, faculty, staff and students all around her. Maturing since her days as a young Cavalier, Ms. Montes is now positioned to leave her impact on the school, hoping to inspire all of her students to share her passion for the French language.

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About the Contributor
Kate Kuryla, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Kate Kuryla is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program who is excited to return to Cavsconnect for her second year as a staff writer. Aiming to improve since her previous year as a freshman, Kuryla is entering sophomore year with a new mindset. This past summer she was rarely home, as she was traveling to Scandinavia, Turkey and Italy. She definitely came back from her trip part Italian. She loves to try all kinds of food and listen to all types of music, but her favorite artist has to be Lana Del Rey. She hopes that maybe one day Del Rey will come to Miami on tour. When Kate is not doing schoolwork or with her friends and family, you can find her curled up in bed sleeping. She dreams of moving to New York City one day and have a cat to keep her company. Kate does not know what she will major in yet, but she believes it will be either in the medical field or law studies. She’s very indecisive. Hopefully sophomore year will guide her on the right path to success.

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