Hall of Fame Recognizes Long-Time Cavalier, Mr. Finora

Starting his educating journey only a decade after Gables’ founding, this Cavalier demonstrates an ongoing commitment towards the school
Mr. Finora stands on the auditorium stage delivering the last speech of the Hall of Fame inductees.
Mr. Finora stands on the auditorium stage delivering the last speech of the Hall of Fame inductees.
Dimitra Boutsis

In an auditorium filled with inspired students listening to 11 Hall of Fame inductees’ speeches of encouragement, Coral Gables Senior High’s oldest Cavalier Mr. Daniel Finora is called to the stage to live up to the inspiring words beforehand. Taking over the microphone, Mr. Finora declares his shock, assuring the audience that his work of 65 years spent at Gables had been no great achievement.

Collecting photos and taping them on his memory wall, Mr. Finora helps archive his time at Gables throughout the decades. (Yara Korse)

While Mr. Finora is not an alumnus, he has spent his time at school longer than almost anyone associated with Gables. Graduating from the University of Miami with a teaching certificate in 1959, he went to the Adirondack Mountains in upper-state New York to work with some of his friends over the summer.

Coming back to Miami, Fla. in that same year, Mr. Finora found himself unemployed in the fall. Finding an opportunity to substitute at North Miami Senior High, he later on received offers to permanently stay at North Miami, Gables and Miami Norland Senior High. Ultimately, the Cavalier accepted the offer from Gables to teach a business class, welcoming the school with open arms.

“Sometimes I still wonder, there are many more people out there who have done more fantastic things, but sometimes it’s not all about the money, it’s about what you like,” Mr. Finora said.

Later taking on the role of Athletic Director in 1963, he organized tournaments with the football team, being at the height of victory from winning the state championship. Following through the rest of the decade, Mr. Finora became integrated into the Cavalier lifestyle by becoming the junior varsity coach for football and tennis for two years. Additionally, he coached the golf team for 12 years, enjoying the sport he loved by sharing it with other students.

“One of the things that I think transformed all of this is the people I worked with. I had guides and mentors that we got along with. I was doing something I liked, I was in sports and teaching business,” Mr. Finora said.

Mr. Finora stands next to his team (first one on the left). He coached tennis for two years while also being a player himself. (Courtesy of Cavaleon)

Creating success in sports, in 1971, former principal Mr. Harry Rath asked Mr. Finora to lead Gables’ business department. Accepting the decision, he took charge of the school’s finances and received his counseling degree through college courses taken over the summer, which would later reflect in his career.

“For my first three years of high school, he’s [Mr. Finora] been my counselor and at first he was really tough on me but over time, my mentality about school improved, and he has definitely helped me change my mentality and improve my grades. He pushes me daily to stop procrastinating and to do my work,” senior Francisco Pinon said.

Throughout his journey, Mr. Finora has built many close relationships with the people he has encountered, including current Gables educator Mr. Hajji L. Ingrhim, and much of the original coaching staff from Gables, including Mr. Joseph Hudack, former football and wrestling coach in the 1970s. Building on his friendship bonds, Mr. Finora now enjoys taking leisure time with fellow counselors outside of campus walls.

 

“I never thought about moving to another school. I enjoyed it, and I have worked with a lot of people that enjoyed it all too. And every year I was doing more, and I became well acclimated to the job, and I liked it. I’ve always lived in the area so that made it easier for me to get to,” Mr. Finora said.

Occasionally encountering former colleagues and students while getting a coffee or morning breakfast, Mr. Finora finds joy in knowing that these students and colleagues remember him after several years.

“I never thought about getting the Hall of Fame award, because this is the job. I come to work every day to get paid, but I never had any aspirations to leave and do something else. The school work has always been something I like to do,” Mr. Finora said.

Witnessing many changes to the Gables community, Mr. Finora has encountered generations of Cavaliers entering and graduating with the same alma mater passion.

While Mr. Finora retired in 2003, his journey in Gables has not ended. Celebrating 20 years in retirement, Mr. Finora continues to work part-time as one of Gables’ counselors. Having no plans on leaving, Mr. Finora exemplifies the true meaning of “Once a Cavalier, Always a Cavalier” by teaching and helping the students who enter his office.

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About the Contributor
Yara Korse, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Yara Korse is trying her best to cruise through her second year of high school in the International Baccalaureate program. Even with all the activities she does in school, she still finds a way to keep up her 4.0 Grade Point Average. She is part of the cross country, track and field and tennis team. She is part of a few clubs in school including the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and Gables Wellness. Her solution to getting through high school is to listen to music whenever she can. She also loves to read fiction books; her favorite book series is "Percy Jackson". She wants to leave Florida when she gets out of high school and live in the Netherlands at one point in her life. When she is not drowning in the large amount of work that her amazing school gives to her, she is doing puzzles or annoying her little brother.
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