Celebrating the Juniors at IB Pinning



Junior Kysa Mesa getting pinned marks a milestone as she officially enters the IB Program.

Laura Ridoux, Managing Editor

The International Baccalaureate Pinning ceremony has made its comeback at Coral Gables Senior High after a two-year hiatus. The ceremony was held in the Gables auditorium on Feb. 15, celebrating the high school journey of the IB juniors prior to their official induction into the program.

At the event, juniors who have completed their Pre-IB years get formally inducted into the IB program with the final goal of receiving their diploma as seniors.

The auditorium doors opened at 5:45 p.m. as students and families were received by Parent Teacher Student Association members with coffee and a treat. The IB Executive Council, as well as IB student volunteers who helped with the set-up for the event, brought the guests inside the auditorium, guiding the juniors to their designated sitting area. Artworks from Mr. Groff’s IB Junior Visual and Performing Art classes were also exhibited at the entrance of the auditorium.

The ceremony began at 6:30 p.m. with Masters of Ceremony seniors Sabrina Bonavita and David Kuper officially welcoming the Cavaliers. Theatre teacher Ms. Barrow also gave some introductory remarks and congratulated the juniors on their hard work and resilience as they make their debut as official IB students.

IB Juniors pose with their pins on stage. (Melanie Estrada)

To represent some of the Group 6 classes offered in the program, one student from each elective showcased their respective talents. Art student Grace Rodriguez painted the IB logo while Marina Devine-Guzman recited a soliloquy to represent the IB Theatre program. At the center of the stage, Gablette Victoria Krulig danced along as the monologue was presented.

The ceremony continued with the presentation of colors led by the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, who also recited the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by the National Anthem, sung by the Gables chorus.

The emcees thanked the Gables PTSA for sponsoring this event, emphasizing its importance as the juniors’ next chapter in their IB journey begins. They invited nine Cavaliers to the stage who greeted the juniors in various languages, including Portuguese, German, Hungarian, Romanian, Russian and Greek.

Senior Lawrence Stampino-Strain then gave his speech to the IB class of 2023, detailing his experience with IB thus far and how it is ultimately manageable. He also discussed how the rigor of the program can be effectively balanced with one’s social life.

IB underclassmen were responsible for the check-in of the juniors before entering the auditorium. (Laura RIdoux)

“I am not going to stand here and tell you that IB is easy but I will tell you that it is worth it, and it is more than doable for every single one of you,” senior Lawrence Stampino-Strain said.

Principal Ullivarri gave a warm welcome, once more congratulated the juniors on their achievement and announced the keynote speaker of the evening. A former Cavalier and inductee of the Gables Hall of Fame in 2021, Lisette Calderon from the class of 1992 talked about her experience as a former student who was part of the second IB class of Gables.

IB Coordinator Ms. Van Wyk also said a few words and invited the juniors on stage. Students were given a white rose and a notebook and were then pinned by one of the ten seniors standing in front of the stage. In total, 165 juniors received their pin and were thereby officially inducted into the IB program.

“I feel accomplished finally being deemed an IB student even though I’ve been in the program for months now and in the pre IB program since 7th grade. I loved the entire ceremony and being pinned by the IB seniors only strengthens our feeling of being like a big family that is working our way through this program together. I’ve had moments where I doubted my ability to be in the program but I have teachers and administrators who are supporting me through it and I could not be more grateful for them and my friends that are pushing their way through this program hand in hand with me and making it all worth it,” junior Ariana Alvarez said.

After the distribution of the pins, the emcees made some closing remarks and all juniors returned to the stage for a group picture. Parents also had the opportunity to take pictures of their children individually.

The juniors reached their first milestone and are now one step closer to receiving their IB diploma in senior year.