Cavalier Hall of Fame Welcomes New Inductees


Maria Fernandez

Twelve years since the last induction ceremony, the Cavalier Hall of Fame, a Gables tradition, has been revived by FOGH with a ceremony on Nov. 5.

Isabel Donner, Copy Editor

Over the span of its 71 years, Coral Gables Senior High has produced alumni successful in careers ranging from authors to physical therapists. On Friday, Nov. 5, a ceremony was held in the auditorium in which five alumni were inducted into the Gables Hall of Fame for their contributions to Gables and the community. The Gables tradition was revived by Friends of Gables High 12 years after the last time alumni were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The ceremony, which was held during third period, opened with a performance by the Gablettes and students in Ms. Diaz’s dance class to the song “Come Alive”, demonstrating the Gables pride that continues to live on just as it did during the alumni’s time at Gables.

June Morris, the founder of FOGH, commenced and conducted the induction. The event continued with Principal Ullivarri welcoming students, faculty and alumni and thanking staff for organizing the ceremony. Following his introduction, the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps performed the Presentation of Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Vice-Chair of FOGH Thomas Parker kicked things off by officially welcoming Lisette Calderon from the Class of 1992 into the Hall of Fame. Calderon gave a speech about how her humble beginnings at Gables transformed her into a renowned real estate developer. She is currently pioneering the development of the Miami River waterfront, having established over 1500 residential units throughout her career.

In her speech, Calderon thanked God, her family and the longtime friends she made at Gables for her success, and emphasized the “defiance of convention” that has marked her career in a male-dominated industry. She instructed Cavaliers to never allow themselves to be discouraged from their dreams.

“Stay curious, stay hungry and say yes to the challenge,” inductee Lisette Calderon said.

Stuart Grossman from the Class of 1964 was inducted next by FOGH Chair Darrell Payne. Grossman is a trial lawyer whose argumentation has led to changes such as the Miami-Dade County Police ending the use of the chokehold. Grossman’s time at Gables coincided with the Civil Rights Movement; seeing the fight for equality around him shaped his devotion to justice. Grossman’s message to students in the audience was to take action when they see inequity.

Don’t be afraid to fail, apply all that you’ve learned from all the failure and then, if you’re lucky, you might succeed… have fun along the way. You don’t stop having fun because you get old, you get old because you stop having fun,

— Roy Sekoff

As Grossman stepped down from the stage, the ceremony paused for a demonstration of Gables pride by the cheerleading team.

Morris inducted Roy Sekoff from the Class of 1977 next. While at Gables, he made being president of the Thespian Drama Club his creative outlet. He later created a new form of self-expression by founding the Huffington Post. Sekoff credited Gables’s melting pot of diversity for allowing him to understand different cultural viewpoints and form connections with all kinds of people.

Rosanna Karpiak, another member of FOGH, took the stage next to induct Jim Simpson, emphasizing the importance of teachers and coaches and the impact they can make on the lives of their pupils. Simpson was a football coach and the activities director at Gables for 33 years.

Because he was unable to attend, Ralph Ortega, a former National Football League player who was coached by Simpson, received the induction in his place, reminiscing on the fun times spent in room 506, Simpson’s former class.

Ron Yacoub from the Class of 1992 was the last to be inducted. A physical therapist placing emphasis on treating his patients with empathy and kindness, Yacoub finished off the inductions with an emotional speech. He thanked Gables for the career he has today and said that his time as a Cavalier made up some of the best years of his life.

The ceremony closed with Principal Ullivarri thanking the alumni for their contributions to Gables and the staff who had organized the Hall of Fame. Former and current Cavaliers joined together to recite the alma mater led by the chorus, a final show of Cavalier spirit to end the ceremony.

To view pictures of the event, see the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Gallery.