Gables’ Class of 2021 Graduates

Seniors+like+Daniel+Fernandez+took+photos+with+their+friends+after+the+event+to+commemorate+the+special+milestone+that+was+the+2021+graduation.

courtesy of Daniel Fernandez

Seniors like Daniel Fernandez took photos with their friends after the event to commemorate the special milestone that was the 2021 graduation.

Isabel Donner and Sofia Cruz

After a distinctively challenging school year filled with many highs and lows, Coral Gables Senior High’s graduating Class of 2021 was finally able to celebrate its achievements, as well as four years of dedication to academics. Seniors attended their graduation ceremony at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition on Tuesday, June 1.

Students were urged to arrive at the location at 8:30 a.m., where family members were scanned through metal detectors as they waited to be seated. At 9:30 a.m., teachers dressed in their black attire entered the building as music played and the event began. Students, in their white cap and gowns, followed in a long procession as parents applauded.

Once the 15-minute entrance and seating of graduates concluded, student council president Sara Rabell welcomed attendees and introduced the event. Atop the decorated stage, student council treasurer Hanna Ebrahimi then led the Pledge of Allegiance before turning the attention to Principal Ullivari, who introduced the guest speakers.

“Honestly in the beginning I was extremely nervous, some of my friends even told me how they saw my hands shaking as I was flipping the pages of my script. But after I realized how much of an honor it is to be standing on stage at our graduation and decided to take it all in. It was truly an amazing experience and my favorite part was watching all my classmates walk past me as I cheered them on,” senior Sara Rabell said.

School board member Mari Tere Rojas was the first to give a speech to the seniors. She thanked teachers and staff for their dedication, tenacity and willingness to adapt when faced with the challenges of this last year. Rojas also offered her condolences to those who lost jobs or family members in the past year because of the pandemic. She closed by recognizing Samantha Gazda as a nominee for the Silver Knight Award and commending Natalie Abrahantes for reviving CavsTV.

Alberto M. Carvalho was the next to address the 2021 graduates, whom he noted were part of the first class he had seen advance from kindergarten to graduation since he became a Miami-Dade superintendent. He reminisced about how things have changed within those twelve years of education. Carvalho assured the Cavaliers that they are destined for greatness as he encouraged them to be proud, brave and unique as the one and only class of 2021.

“It was so nice to be able to gather in person and see all of my peers in the class of 2021 to celebrate our accomplishments. MDCPS did a wonderful job finding a location for our graduation and ensuring the setting would make for a nice ceremony,” senior Mia Crabill said.

Senior class president Sofia Rébull emerged from the crowd of her peers to mount the stage and impart a special message to her fellow students. With her perspective as a senior, she contrasted the administrators’ speeches by relating with her peers over the student experience of stressing over tests, projects and more. Rebull made sure to thank the teachers, counselors and parents that made the ceremony possible for so many students.

It was amazing to know that we would be able to celebrate our accomplishments in person after such a difficult year. It was very heartwarming to see everyone after studying side by side over the last four years”

— Daniel Fernandez

Mr. Ullivari took the stage next and started by detailing how much of an honor it was to be the principal of this graduating class, highlighting the many achievements of the Class of 2021. He noted that this year, 98% of seniors graduated, half of whom were first-generation graduates. Additionally, 458 of the graduates had already earned college credits. Some Cavaliers in the crowd already had associates degrees, others were POSSE and QuestBridge Scholarship recipients and 15 students plan to join the military.

During this class’s last year at Gables, Mr. Ullivari noted, the girls soccer team became district champion for the second year in a row. The boys basketball team, cross country and the Gablettes all earned recognitions. Meanwhile, Gables earned FBLA, Thespian and Harvard Model Congress awards. His speech closed with “Go Cavs”, a mantra seniors have surely become well-acquainted with throughout their four years at Gables.

Ms. Florence Rouit, Gables’ French teacher, concluded the ceremony with a roll call. She named each and every student that was graduating, calling them onto the stage to receive a case for their diploma and pose for a photo with Mr. Ullivari. Students were then dismissed from the building and reunited with friends and family to take pictures.

Although the seniors had to return to Gables to pick up their diplomas later on in the week, the tradition of graduating together as a class still held a sense of significant finality. As one of the last times the class of 2021 would be together, students shared the joy of closing their chapter together at their graduation event. Despite no longer being students of Gables, the ceremony reminded graduates of the special motto: Once a Cavalier, always a Cavalier.