Celebrating the End With a Surplus, AOF Brunch


Matthew Castano

With the end of their senior year coming to a close, the NAF Track certified Cavaliers are ready to take on the real-business worlds having learned valuable information in their NAF classes.

Every year, the Academy of Finance at Coral Gables Senior High hosts a celebration in honor of its National Academy Foundation Track Certified seniors. To obtain a NAF Track Certification, seniors must have complete the four-year program, which involves taking career-focused track classes and fulfilling an internship requirement. Organized by the senior representatives, Mia Cabrera and Grace Ruiz-Galvez, this year’s celebratory AOF Senior Brunch occurred on April 28 at Villaggio in Merrick Park.

“Planning the event was a little bit hectic at times since we ended up having to switch the restaurant three times. Ultimately, though, I think the event went well, and the restaurant we ended up picking was nice. I did not hear any complaints about the food,” senior Grace Ruiz-Galvez said.

Decked out in their semi-formal attire, the seniors, accompanied by Ms. Brown, Mr. Pico and Mr. Ball-Llovera, arrived at Merrick Park promptly at 10:30 a.m. Having arrived with enough time to peruse the mall,  the students were permitted to engage in some light shopping at stores like Sephora and Nordstrom or regenerate their energy with coffee from C’est Bon before heading to the restaurant.

The Senior Brunch consisted of a three-course meal; a Cesar Salad, Pasta Entree and Gelato dessert. (Matthew Castano)

At around 11:30 a.m., the group walked into Villaggio, taking their seats. They looked around in excitement, eagerly anticipating the rest of the festivities. The restaurant staff welcomed the group with warm greetings and promptly served them caesar salads for the first course.

After a brief interlude, the staff served the main course, which was chosen by the students from a preselected list that included Chicken Milanese and Spaghetti Alfredo. The meal garnered high praise from the students and faculty members alike. Cavaliers chatted animatedly, enjoying each other’s company and reminiscing on their high school years.

“The event was a little bittersweet as it was not only a way to celebrate together but also a moment to start saying our goodbyes. However, overall, I was very happy with how the brunch and food turned out. I did also win Ms. Congeniality for the superlatives which sweetened everything,” senior Mercedes Del Toro said.

Before dessert was served, the senior superlatives were announced. The awards were met with thunderous applause and enthusiastic cheers, as each recipient made their way to receive their sash and take a group photo with their peers. The categories encompassed a broad spectrum, ranging from “Most Likely to be Out of Uniform” to “Beauty and Brains”.

Seniors Jayden Horne “Most Athletic” and Jennifer Villeda “Best Smile” pose for a quick photo to commemorate their time as AOF Cavaliers. (Matthew Castano)

“Brunch was a wonderful experience that I would absolutely recommend to any future senior. I’m happy I was able to spend time with my AOF Senior class and share one of our last events together. I’m grateful for our amazing brunch and the awesome people who were a part of it,” senior Ihtzel Michel said.

As the event drew to a close, the seniors and faculty members exchanged hugs and well-wishes, marking the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. The AOF Senior Brunch had provided the seniors with a final opportunity to bond with their peers and forge memories that would last a lifetime.