Freshman Orientation Welcomes the Class of 2025


Victoria Mavarez

Freshmen orientation was held in the school’s auditorium ahead of the 2021-2022 school year as all students prepare to return to school physically.

Laura Ridoux, Staff Writer

Coral Gables Senior High’s summer orientation for incoming freshmen served to prepare new students for a brand new school year. This year, the orientation was held on Monday, Aug. 16 in the auditorium and was attended by dozens of Cavaliers from the Class of 2025.

The event was opened at 5 p.m. by student council president Melanie Estrada, who welcomed the ninth-graders and recited the Pledge of Allegiance as members of the Gables Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps marched in with the American flag.

Principal Ullivari then emerged to introduce himself and spoke about the school’s various social media platforms and the variety of courses offered at Gables. He also introduced the administration, as well as academy leaders and counselors. Since the mask mandate for Miami-Dade County Public Schools had still not been decided, Ullivari promised to give an update as soon as the status changed.

Ullivari took the opportunity to describe the long list of clubs available at Gables, mentioning how there are over 25 different options for students to choose from. Student council members took turns mentioning what they were involved in to encourage freshmen to get involved in after-school activities.

“I am looking forward to the clubs I want to join because I am planning on joining at least two or three clubs. I am also excited about theatre because I am trying something new,” freshman Stacey Sime said.

Afterward, Ms. Diaz, one of the assistant principals, came up to the podium and discussed some general information concerning attendance and uniform. She explained that to excuse an absence, an email needs to be sent to [email protected]. The AP also reminded students that uniforms are mandatory, and Fridays are Spirit Days. On Spirit Days, students can wear any shirt related to Gables, for example, shirts representing clubs or other school activities.

“I liked the spirit! The teachers are really involved in everything here. Joining clubs and sports is going to be the best,” freshman Nicole Liethof said.

Diaz also clarified that drop off and pick up will take place in the section of the school on Riviera Drive, since the 3,000 students and more than 200 faculty members on campus each day tend to cause traffic. More information regarding drop off and pick up can be found on the Gables website.

Following Diaz, Mr. Romero, the Athletics Director, discussed the 19 sports that Gables has to offer. He explained to the freshmen that school spirit is important since all students are part of the Cavalier family.

A representative from the Parent Teacher Student Association also said a few words about how important parent involvement is at Gables. She also talked about the college fair, which is a major event for the PTSA as colleges from all over the country come to visit Gables. At the fair, students can come up to ask questions and get information from the colleges of their choice. This saves them the trip of having to visit college campuses throughout the nation, which can become quite expensive.

Assistant Principal Figueroa explained the block schedule and the lunches to the incoming freshmen. Dr. Diaz, another AP, explained the basic high school graduation requirements, which are 24 course credits. However, requirements may vary, such as in Florida state universities where two years of a foreign language are additionally required. The orientation was then concluded in true Cavalier spirit, with Principal Ullivari reciting the school slogan, “Go Cavs.”

After the presentation, the PTSA stationed itself outside with sign-up sheets for parents to become members and announcing other information such as uniform sales. Different clubs, such as Interact, also waited outside the auditorium to introduce themselves to freshmen and convince them to join.

“I am looking forward to the extracurriculars. I really want to do dance. I am also going to look into the clubs,” freshman Kayleigh Mellgre said.

This orientation helped freshmen get a glimpse of what awaits them at Gables for the next four years. Involvement in school clubs or extracurriculars is crucial for them as they debut their high school journey. Many will also be trying out new activities, which can help them connect with other students and possibly benefit them in the future.

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  • Volunteers guided parents and incoming freshmen to the auditorium where the orientation was held.

  • The JROTC members stood ready for their march to the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Freshmen learned about the different programs Gables has to offer while Mr. Romero, the athletics director talked about the sports students can take part in.

  • The PTSA held uniform sales and directory information after Freshman orientation for parents and incoming students.

  • Interact board members explained to freshmen what their club is all about.