The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


CavCamp 2023 Gives a Warm Welcome to Incoming IB Freshmen

Gabriella Roa
South Asia unexpectedly turns their skit into a dance battle from both sides of the families attending the wedding, earning gasps of surprise from the crowd.

A long line of new faces can be seen entering the auditorium lobby; nervous and excited chatter can be heard among them. On June 12, the Class of 2027 stepped into Gables for their first time. As a longstanding tradition, CavCamp has been organized by the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and their sponsor, Ms. Noval, during the first week of summer break. This event is arranged specifically for freshmen entering the IB program, with the purpose of welcoming them into the school community and among other members of their graduating class. 

Freshmen were guided by upperclassmen who played the roles of Student Group Leaders and Teacher Helpers, getting to know and mentoring their campers within assigned countries group: Latin America, U.S., Egypt, Scotland, East Asia, South Asia, Italy and England. With bonding activities such as artifacts, time capsules, group skits and bottle rockets, the Class of 2027 was prepared to undergo the Cavalier experience.

South Asia’s SGLs stood ready to welcome the incoming freshmen to their groups, showing off their poster and props to encourage team spirit. (Gabriella Roa)

DAY 1:

Before the incoming freshmen arrived at 8 a.m., Ms. Noval and the IBHS volunteers prepared the auditorium and went over expectations and the daily schedule. SGL’s held their countries’ poster and cheered each freshmen as they walked in.

“One of my sophomore friends told me about her experience last year and it sounded super fun so I decided to go since I was in town. I expected it to be like any other camp except with our classmates, but it was honestly so much fun because we did different activities and challenges, especially the skit since it was so funny and creative. Hopefully next year I’ll be one of the group leaders with my friends,” freshman Carolina Sesin said.

The countries settled into groups along the auditorium, while the SGL’s taught the campers their country’s cheer, took attendance and assigned name tags. Their cheers could be heard as they were proudly screaming in a competition to leave the auditorium first.

Campers began to piece together ideas for their artifacts, decorating each side of their jar, while storing their letters inside. These time capsules will be opened during the campers’ senior year at IB Brunch. (Laura Ridoux)

As the freshmen were led to their first class, they saw the doors of the third floor of the 9000 building brightly decorated with creative designs for each country. Campers and their group leaders attended different classes, in which they met future teachers and were introduced to the projects they completed throughout the week.  Students then gathered in the auditorium before their last activity of the day, a tour around Gables. Walking in and out of hallways, up and down stairs, the incoming freshmen got their first look at the campus, as upperclassmen explained where their classes would be, eating areas, offices, etc. 

 “I wanted to make sure the incoming freshman could feel at home in Gables; I had many upperclassmen help me so I wanted to help the newcomers in return. The campers know the layout of the school and classes now and they got to meet and connect with a majority of other IB students who will be their classmates the next few years,” sophomore Linus Boettcher said.

To end their first day, students were divided into two sides of the auditorium, both of which sang the “party” song at the top off their lungs, hoping to win the innocent competition with the loudest cheers. Campers learned the Alma Mater and sang it together, then were dismissed after their SGL’s collected their name tags. 

Following Mrs. Gonzalez’s lead, the incoming freshmen dipped their shirts into different colors of dye to create their personalized shirts. (Laura Ridoux)

Day 2:

On Tuesday, new faces appeared at the sign-up after hearing positive reviews from original campers. Freshmen who paid $5 participated in the tie-dye activity. Egypt’s representative, Mr. Khan, alongside U.S. leader Mr. Molina, guided campers while they dyed their shirts.

The incoming freshmen sat inside the theatre room, listening attentively as Ms. Barrow gives them tips and tricks for their performances. Ideas were shared and props were designed. (Laura Ridoux)

Campers had help from Mrs. Barrow, who sprinkled her tips into their skits, and Mr. Dearmas, who filmed and did the voiceover for each country’s video. Both Ms. Gonzalez and Ms. Zuniga gave presentations of Gables’ history, aiding campers in the making of their artifacts. Meanwhile, Mr. Rodriguez led the crafting of campers’ time capsules, which would be filled with letter to their future-self. 

“The teachers seemed to really care about their students, they were open to opinions and ideas and there was a sense of freedom within the conversations. Overall, everyone was really friendly and laid back. All the SGLs were prepared and dedicated to their group […] you could tell that they put lots of effort into the decorations, outfits and chants for each country,” freshman Emilia Kohnstamm said.

The Class of 2027’s memory was put to the test during CavCamp’s scavenger hunt, as the freshmen remembered the previous day’s tour spots. After figuring out the answers to the riddles, campers took selfies upon arrival at each destination, rushing to be the first to complete the challenge. In the end, South Asia took first place, followed by U.S. a few minutes later. After singing the “party” song, campers grabbed their new shirts and were dismissed. 

Team Italy’s campers worked together to add creative touches to their articles, such as glitter, paint, pictures, stickers in attempts to have their project stand out above other groups. (Laura Ridoux)

Day 3:

For the third day of CavCamp, volunteers were repping the shirts of clubs or sports they were involved in, ready to participate in Club Day. The incoming freshmen continued their crafts, which included building a spirited rocket to launch on Thursday, adding to their skits and videos or building their artifact and time capsule. 

“This year, one thing I noticed as an SGL was how the students slowly got more comfortable with each other, especially with their play, when they had to work together to make it flow. One of my favorite parts of being a group leader was giving them tips, even if it was about where to eat lunch and bonding with them on a personal level,” sophomore Gabriella Arango said.

After two hours of classes passed, campers were led back to the auditorium for the “Club Fair”. Volunteers stood in pairs at the podium, taking turns explaining their club’s goals, benefits and sign-up process to the freshmen. With their speeches, volunteers hoped to recruit new members, add new faces to team rosters, or just make their clubs known.

Before their rockets were launched, campers and volunteers alike cheered in hopes of having the highest trajectory. Props and posters were waved around as a preparation for the launching. (Laura Ridoux)

Day 4:

Long awaited by the campers, their project in Mr. Molina’s class was put to the test: each country’s rocket-building skills would compete against each other.

Team USA’s sponsor Mr. Molina and teacher helper Marie Weisson prepared for the launch of East Asia’s rocket as anticipation builded up among the student crowd. (Laura Ridoux)

By the end of the block, Mr. Molina had collected all of the rockets, while campers and group leaders alike met in the basketball courts outside of the 9000 building. While Mr. Molina set up the rockets’ launching deck, countries competitively cheered on, hoping to have a successful rocket launch.

One by one, rockets flew into the sky, and as students’ heads tilted up, both excited and disappointed screams were heard across the courts. Judges Mr. Molina and Mr. Khan announced the winner in the auditorium just a few minutes after the launches ended. England came up on top, their rocket’s sky-high trajectory earning them the win. 

Day 5:

To celebrate the last day of CavCamp, SGLs had carefully crafted personalized awards to each camper in their group. Both volunteers and campers arrived in the auditorium, sporting their handmade tie dye shirts, ready to end the camp on a bittersweet note. After a briefing on the day’s activities and due dates, campers got to work on their skits, which they would later perform for all of the attendees.

Finishing touches were put on props, scripts and background music before presenting their skits to an auditorium filled with students. (Lauren Kaler)

In their homeroom class, group leaders helped campers remove and add new lines, dances, props or music to their skits.  Once the time for preparation was over, campers were called group by group onto the stage, where they performed their skits in front of a panel of Gables alumni judges and their fellow campers. While the groups accommodated the stage’s setting for their performances, the judges took time to examine and rate the country’s artifact and time capsule. 

First on stage, England used an ironic take on the death of Queen Elizabeth, including the famous Sherlock Homes and a choreographed dance by a variety of other English monarchs and celebrities. South Asia followed with a cultural story, about love and deceit, ending with an energetic dance. U.S.’s skit consisted of a humorous McDonald’s drive-thru with iconic American characters such as Karens, gym bros and Mean Girls. When Egypt was called to the stage, they told the story where a group of explorers were looking for the Egyptian pyramids, followed by a dance battle between humans and mummies for the treasure.

“My favorite activity of CavCamp was the final skit, since we worked hard to finalize the skit and it helped bring everyone together as a group. It’s a completely different environment after CavCamp, now I’m acclimated to the school and I think all the new students were able to come together and have a bond beyond the Class of 2027,” freshman Vivianne Pritchett said.

Team Latin America delivered their winning performance with a conversation between tourists visiting Miami. (Gabriella Roa)

East Asia represented their region with a Hibachi cooking competition between a famous restaurant, the White Lotus, and their opponents, a team of rookie aspiring chefs who won the title of Best Chefs. Latin America’s skit took place in Miami, with a scene of the famous Cuban domino games in Little Habana, piñata parties in South Beach and a soccer competition with Messi in InterMiami’s team. Italy showed their culture through a pizzeria led by the famous Mario brothers and showcased the importance of tourism in their country through a food fight between foreigners and locals.

“Making the projects was a good way to get to know new people within the group. We all had to come together to create something and I think the competition side of CavCamp really pushed us to put a lot of effort into the work. In the end, [CavCamp] definitely made that first day seem less daunting. I was able to meet new people, speak with enthusiastic teachers, and learn more about the school as a whole,” freshman Emilia Kohnstamm said.

A look behind the scenes of the videos filmed by campers. In attempts to make the best video, the freshmen added drama with costumes, sound effects, narration and filters. (Laura Ridoux)

Finally, Scotland ended the show with a story of jealousy and revenge taken by a wizard who turned Gordon Ramsay into the Loch Ness monster to win Withera’s heart back. After each group’s skit, their video directed by Mr. DeArmas was shown, the satirical nature encouraging laughter from all campers; they worked together to produce their videos with a common villain, Jeff Bezos, while still adding a hint of each country’s customs. After careful discussion and revision from the alumni judges, the winner was decided. One by one, each group’s teachers were called off the auditorium stage to reveal the final winner. After a loud drumroll, Ms. Zuniga, representing Latin America, was the last one standing.

CavCamp concluded with a pizza party in the 9000 pavilion for both campers and volunteers, who looked forward to seeing each other in August.

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About the Contributors
Marina Astorga
Marina Astorga, CavsConnect News Editor
As a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program, Marina Astorga is excited to come back to CavsConnect for her second year in the publication. This year, she will return as News Editor and hopes to grow both as a person and a student. Marina has a special interest in journalism, chemistry and reading. She makes it a point to be involved in Gables, holding board positions on the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and Key Club. Outside, she can be found playing volleyball, skateboarding or riding her bike. During her free time, she enjoys rating new restaurants, reading murder mystery books and coming up with her own recipes. She is known to make dumb jokes and act as her friend's personal esthetician. When summertime finally comes, she goes back to Spain to visit her family and friends.
Laura Ridoux
Laura Ridoux, CavsConnect Co-Editor-in-Chief
Laura Ridoux is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program. This is her third year in CavsConnect and she is very excited to return as co-editor-in-chief to lead her staff into her last year of high school, with plans to make it the most memorable one yet. At Coral Gables Senior High, Laura is quite involved, being on the board of multiple clubs including the International Baccalaureate Honor Society, National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America, while serving as Treasurer for the Class of 2024. She never backs down from a challenge and is always looking to learn something new. Outside of school, Laura loves to travel, meet people from different backgrounds and take pictures with her Canon EOS Rebel T7. Overall, she is thrilled for this upcoming year and cannot wait to see what lies ahead for her.
Sophia Sol
Sophia Sol, CavsTV Managing Editor
Sophia Sol is a freshman in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High. She is beginning her first year in CavsTV and plans to get involved in the school community as much as she can. Her favorite school subjects are reading and writing. She especially enjoys writing and views it as a form of expression where she can voice her opinion. Some of her hobbies include reading, dancing, and traveling. Her travels to France, Spain, Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany, and El Salvador have allowed her to experience many different cultures and learn about all the different people in the world. She has been dancing since she was two years old and it has become a crucial part of her life as a stress reliever after long days. Reading allows Sophia to use her imagination and learn new things. She hopes to balance her academic and extracurricular activities and is excited for a school year full of new experiences.
Lauren Kaler
Lauren Kaler, CavsTV Video Editor
Lauren Kaler is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate Program at Coral Gables Senior High. As a second-year member of CavsTV,  she is also video editor along with Olivia Russo. Through this position she is able to share her love for videography with the staff. CavsTV has been a special experience for Lauren as it has given her a community within the school to do what she loves with. Outside of CavsTV, Lauren is on the swimming team, water polo team, and various clubs. In her free time she loves to cook, spend time with her family, and travel to new places!
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