CAF & DM Takes FSPA ’17


Gables Live

CAF & DM students at FSPA 2017.

Maria F. Estrada, Features Editor

Eliza Beltran
Yearbook 2017 staff pose before their FSPA banquet.

Ready to immerse themselves in the wonders of journalism and compete head-to-head against some of Florida’s best publications, the Communication Arts, Film, and Digital Media (CAF & DM) Academy participated in the Florida Scholastic Press Association’s (FSPA) state competition at the Wyndham Orlando on April 27-29. At the competition, students were granted the opportunity to participate in On-the-Spot contests, where they were given a prompt or music tune at the beginning of the conference and had to turn in the finished product at various deadlines. A highlight of the conference was the “Edit to the Beat” contest in which participants (Jonathan Guitierrez, Alexander Labella, and Felix Lopez) were given a one-minute tune, with which students had to make a video consisting of clips from the conference. In fact, the students from Gables placed third in the state and their video submission can be accessed by clicking here.

“A few hours after arriving at FSPA, a few of us had different competitions for our different genres. I competed in On-the-Spot Short Story contest, and spent nearly two hours in a room with about twenty other writers, trying to write a good story under three pages that fit the prompt. Luckily, FSPA kept me so busy going in and out of sessions that I didn’t drive myself completely crazy worrying every second about whether or not would place. So when they announced that I won first place, I could not have been more shocked,” sophomore Ana De la O said.

Jonathan Guitierrez
Gables Live! enjoys a friendly group shot.

In addition to the competitive atmosphere, the FSPA offered a multitude of workshops on the second day of the conference  to ensure that

Eliza Beltran
Yearbook and CavsConnect staff take FSPA.

participants would learn techniques that could improve their publications. Some of the workshops covered the topics of copy editing, peer work in journalism, storytelling, fake news, and social media. The sessions were led by educated advisers and students on topics that aimed for improvement in writing, photography, and videography. Over 16 different workshops were held, giving all the students a shot at learning new information that could benefit publications.

“In the past three days, FSPA was not only a memorable experience but also showed me ways to improve my writing and designing skills in order to help my publication and people in my team,” sophomore Rosana Morales said.

Cavaliers stood out amongst other publications and placed in multiple On-the-Spot competitions and took home over 20 Spring Digital Contest Awards in total for all the CAF & DM publications (CavsConnect, Highlights, Catharsis, Yearbook, and Gables Live! Broadcast). The winners are below:

Highlights Newspaper/Newsmagazine

Adviser: Melissa Gonzalez


All-Florida publication with two Marks of Distinction (Layout/Design & Reader Aids)

On-the-Spot Contests:

Audrey Weigel – Mixed Company 2nd place

Spring Digital Contests:

Best of the Best:  Mariam Vela – Review writing


Estelle Erwich & Mariam Vela – Editorial

Sarah Galt – Newspaper/Newsmagazine multi-page spread


Dylan Carol – Off-Campus News Story

Amanda Pallas & Audrey Weigel – Off-Campus New Story

Kevin Monjarrez – General Feature Story

Tatiana Campos & Karina Wu – General Feature Story

Natalie Viglucci – Review

Angelle Garcia – Review

Honorable Mention:

Vanessa Vazquez – Newspaper/Newsmagazine news page

Leila Iskandarani – Infographic

Olivia Field – Personality portrait

Sofia Viglucci – Profile Story

Benjamin Estrada – Newspaper/Newsmagazine Opinion page

Gables Live! Broadcast

Adviser: Yvette Camacho

On-the-Spot Contests:

3rd Place Edit to the Beat

Felix Lopez, Alex Labella, Jonathan Gutierrez

Spring Digital Contests:

Best of the Best:  Andrea Zelaya – Best Buzzfeed

Best of the Best:  Andrea Zelaya – Quick Turn Cooking


Jose Chang – Nature Photo

Harrison Bradish – Public Service Announcement


Jonathan Gutierrez – Commercial

Marta D’Ocon, Jose Chang – Short Film

Honorable Mention:

Melanie Wu, Felix Lopez – Feature Package

Jose Chang, Alex Labella, Sasha Zeinali – Broadcast Profile

Felix Lopez, Sasha Zeinali – Sports Package

Jose Chang, Sasha Zeinali, Alexander Labella – News Package

Jonathan Gutierrez – Broadcast Show Opening

Jose Chang – Special Effects Photo

Gabriel Rondon, Alexander Labella – Hot Shots

Alexander Labella, Sasha Zeinali – Quick Turn-Deadline News

Khareem Oliver, Felix Lopez – Quick Turn- Marketing

Catharsis Literary Magazine

Adviser: Michelle Zaldivar

On-the-Spot Contests:

Ana de la O – 1st Place Short Story

Angie Lopez – 2nd Place Poetry

Spring Digital Contests:


Literary Magazine Prose – Ana de la O

Literary Magazine Spread – Carly Dickler, Christian Florian, Chris Cowen, Maddi Cowen


Literary Magazine Poetry – Angie Lopez

Honorable Mention:

Literary Magazine Poetry – Camila Blanco

Literary Magazine Poetry – Veronica Silva

Literary Magazine Prose – Moira Meijaard

Literary magazine Spread – Melissa Valladares, Wendy Labarcena

Quick Turn – Fiction and Illustration – Andrea Izurieta, Bryan Cruz

CavsConnect Online Newssite

Adviser: Ana Suarez

Evaluation:  – Gold

Spring Digital Contests:


Natalia Torres – Review


Natalia Torres – Campus News Story

Kelsy Pacheco – Campus News Story

Albany Muria – Campus News Story

Maria Estrada – General Feature Story

Thomas Harley – Humorous Commentary

Natalia Torres – Review

Natalia Rodriguez – Review

Samantha Palacios – Hand-Drawn Illustration

Cameryn Padron – Sports Action Photography

Honorable Mention

Yeileny Lopez – Off-Campus News Story

Thomas Harley – General Feature Story

Alexander Yagoda – General Feature Story

Natalia Rodriguez – Entertainment Feature Story

Natalia Rodriguez – Entertainment Feature Story

Thomas Harley – Entertainment Feature Story

Maria Estrada – Profile Story

Emily Simon – Profile Story

Thomas Harley – Serious Commentary

Emily Simon – Serious Commentary

Yeileny Lopez – Serious Commentary

Hannah Cordes – Sports Game Coverage

Cavan Wilson – Sports Game Coverage

Emily Simon – Sports Profile

August Field – Sports Action Photography

Ximena Puig – Personality Portrait

Thomas Harley – Personality Portrait

Ximena Puig – Personality Portrait

Laura Rico – Computer-Drawn Illustration

Laura Rico – Computer-Drawn Illustration



Cavaleon Yearbook

Adviser: Ana Zuniga 

Evaluation:  – Gold

On-the-Spot Contests:

1st Place Brianna Curran – Mixed Company

Spring Digital Contests:

Best of the Best – Deylis Perez, Liz Ramirez, Adriana Obeso, Brianna Curran – Yearbook Sports Copy


Arden Avera, Bianca Pasci, Adriana Obeso, Brianna Curran – Yearbook Sports Copy

Elliza Beltran – Academics/Organization Photography

Elliza Beltran – Sports Action Photography


Elliza Beltran – Feature Photography

Elliza Beltran – Nature Photo

Elliza Beltran – Sports Action Photography

Presley Gonzalez, Maybel Cerrato, Adriana Obeso, Brianna Curran – Yearbook Sports Copy

Honorable Mention:

Elliza Beltran – Feature Photography

Elliza Beltran – Nature Photo

Elliza Beltran – Personality Portrait

Elliza Beltran – Personality Portrait

Elliza Beltran – Sports Action Photography

Elliza Beltran – Sports Reaction Photo

Marina Torras, Karelia Jaramillo, Gaby Rivas, Laura Stieghorst – Yearbook Student Life Copy

Nicole Juarez – Feature Photography

Nicole Juarez – Sports News Photo

Nicole Juarez – Sports Reaction Photo