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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

De la Vega Sisters Return to Their Alma Mater

After graduating from Gables, these pair of sisters never thought they would come back as educators
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Eliem Salazar
De la Vega sisters are standing in the room they used to ask for help, now being asked for guidance.

Returning to the familiar halls they once roamed in, the De la Vega sisters, having an unbreakable connection to their alma mater at Coral Gables Senior High, came back not as only students, but as teachers. Both Ms. Monica and Ms. Natalie De la Vega felt like they had never left. Although far proximity to each other on campus, they have never felt closer. Returning to the pride of being a Cavalier, both sisters have seen what changed and what they needed to learn.


Ms. Natalie De la Vega

The graduating class of 2001, Ms. Natalie De la Vega came back to Gables feeling as if though she never left. As a freshman, she was confident in her studies and sports. Even though she was new, her family has had an extensive history of being Cavaliers.

Natalie De la Vegaʼs junior picture portrays her IB journey as an upperclassmen. (Courtesy of Cavaleon Yearbook 2000)

“Coming in as a freshman I actually had two older cousins that came here who were just graduating when I was coming in. They took it upon themselves to take me and let me meet all their friends, letting everyone know I was their younger cousin, so, I came in more confident since I knew I had people that knew who I was. Yet, I was still nervous since I played softball which brought a lot of expectations of what I should bring to the team as a new member,” Ms. Natalie De la Vega said.

As an International Baccalaureate student athlete, juggling three sports, Ms. Natalie De la Vega has done it all. From playing through the fall, winter and spring seasons, she never had a dull moment at Gables. Playing for the volleyball, basketball and softball varsity teams, she additionally took it upon herself to become a star athlete.

“Tips I would give is just to show teachers that you are prioritizing your academics and if ever you are going to miss a class, take it upon yourself to ask for the makeup work ahead. Being an athlete, I had missed many of my classes, and having the responsibility of being captain for my team, it made me realize how on top of my work I needed to be,“ Ms. Natalie De la Vega said.

Coming back to Gables was something she never expected. Influenced by someone whom she trusted, IB Biology teacher Mr. Molina convinced Ms. Natalie De la Vega to return to the world of sciences. As she entered the hallways and familiar buildings, she began learning the footsteps of her former teachers and getting used to talking to them daily.

“I’ve known her since she was a freshman athlete here at Gables, so I have known her for quite a long time. She was a tough athlete and a dedicated person. As she graduated from college and I hired her as a softball coach, I thought it showed value to the kids since they are seeing somebody that was here before and that has grown. That is one of the main reasons I brought her back, and the fact of brining her back felt comfort to me and even her. It is always good to have people around you that you know and that have your back,” Mr. Molina said. 

Returning here brought back memories with nostalgia for the connection she has built around the word Cavalier. Walking back into Gables with Mr. Molina’s influence, she realized that being around the spiritedness felt like a second home.

“I felt like I never left. Mr. Molina was the athletic director and he was my high school teacher. Not only that, but it also took me a while to get used to Mr. Nelson by his first name, and just felt weird to me,” Ms. Natalie De la Vega said.


Ms. Monica De la Vega

Just like her older sister, Ms. Monica De la Vega was also a well rounded student athlete and her transition from Gables to college and then back to Gables went by fast. Graduating in 2006 as an IB student, she entered as a college student at the University of Tampa and Florida International University.

Monica De la Vegaʼs senior photo reminiscences to her time at Gables. (Courtesy of Cavaleon Yearbook 2006)

“I had my siblings that came here, and one was still here when I was here so he helped me out and prepare. For sports, I just needed to come to volleyball practice in the summer. Once I started meeting more people I started feeling more comfortable and helped me transition confidently in my freshman year,” Ms. Monica De la Vega said.

Influenced by her sister’s return, she had no intention of becoming an educator. Ultimately deciding to return to having the mascot as a Cavalier, Ms. Monica De la Vega was referred to by her sister.

“My sister was brought back by Mr. Molina and then she brought me back since she needed an assistant as a part-time job, and I got stuck and never left,” Ms. Monica De la Vega said.

Working initially as a substitute teacher and later following her sister’s footsteps, Ms. Monica De la Vega found her independence from academics by entering into sports as the Head Coach of the girls’ volleyball team. Creating a personal bond with her volleyball team, she made it her priority to foster positive sportsmanship on and off the court.

“She is a really great coach and she is always bringing everyone up. She has a great attitude and really knows what to say in tough situations. She has helped me as an athlete by encouraging me to just shake off bad points. Not only that but she has taught me that volleyball is not just a game,” freshman Natasha Macau said.

Being reminded of all the memorable moments she experienced as a student and the changes since she left, Ms. Monica De la Vega has seen her life in Gables grow, along with a sense of emotion, with a new roster of students walking across her door at the beginning of each school year.

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“We had some really good pep rallies. Also, the football games at Tropical Park were a huge thing. I also have very good friends from volleyball that I traveled with over the summer, even as a teacher. Being back also felt like I never left, and took so time getting used to seeing my teachers and transitioning them into my co-workers,” Ms. Monica De la Vega said.


Switching up the role from student to teacher, both De la Vega sisters have shown their uniqueness and how they can be different in what they achieve. They have shown compassion and school pride throughout their years by embellishing the catchphrase, Always Remember, Go Cavs in everything they do.

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About the Contributors
Gabrielle Solomon, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Gabrielle "Gabbie" Solomon is a freshman in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High School. As she starts her four year journey in high school, she would love to express herself in her writing, pushing her decision to change CavsConnect. Gabbie enjoys being challenged and that is one of the main reasons she joined the International Baccalaureate program here at Gables. She is passionate about becoming a leader and loves to take charge in important controversial topics most people do not want to address. She looks forward to meeting new people and make long lasting friendships while also excelling academically in all her classes. Other than writing, she enjoys traveling to new places with her family, shopping and architecture. She hopes to write about unique architecture structures as she travels the world.
Eliem Salazar, CavsTV Staff
Eliem Salazar is a sophomore in the IB program at Coral Gables Senior High. She is a new CavsTV staff member but is very excited to start the class and get to know the rest of her team. She is looking forward to interviewing people and learning more about videography. She’s very outgoing and enjoys spending time with her friends. She loves listening to music and reading fantasy books while drinking Starbucks in her free time. Although a complex class, one of her favorite subjects is math because she enjoys analyzing problems from different perspectives. She always likes finding a solution to any type of conflict. During her sophomore year, she is thrilled to meet new people and socialize with the other staff members. 
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