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


Key Club Spreads Holiday Spirit at the Coral Gables Tree Lighting Ceremony

Representing both Gables and the international organization, Key Clubbers put the pedal to the metal as orders came in and meals came out of their booth.
Serafina Baraloto
The Holiday Tree stands tall, a sight that many visitors waited for. In the meantime, those working Kiwanis Key Club Grilling Booth kept busy at the grill and took orders.

The Coral Gables’ Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony saw crowds gather to enjoy an elaborate festival put together by volunteers, where performers and venders came together to start up the holiday season. Among the plethora of booths from different small businesses and organizations, Coral Gables Senior High’s Key Club pitched in to work Kiwanis Key Club Grilling Booth on Dec. 1. Partnering with the Scouts. Key Club members assisted in the operation of their booth from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“The Grilling Booth was to raise money for Key Club International, so that they could continue to fund the community service projects and maintain the organization,” Key Club president and senior Alexandra Roa said.

Throughout the night, two shifts were occupied by Key Club volunteers, one from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and the other from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Upon arrival, the tent was already set up by the Scouts, and students were given instruction by monitoring adults. After deciding their roles, some Key Clubbers found themselves near the grilling station, putting the patties into buns and placing cheese on selected burgers. Others were in charge of fishing out purchased drinks from ice-filled garbage bags.

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Located near the entrance of the seating area in front of the main stage, those working the grilling booth were able to make sales, vending American classics: hot dogs and hamburgers. With the majority of the grillers being Scouts, the volunteers from Gables kept busy ensuring the functionality of the booth, dressing the food items with costumers’ desired toppings and giving out drinks and snacks.

“Having a lot of people coming in line and having some people complain about their food was stressful, but it also added to the enjoyment of the part. It showed me a little bit of how I would handle the situation in real life, almost like a job I was qualified to do,” sophomore Serafina Baraloto said.

At the forefront of all the action were those workers in charge of taking orders and handling money. Computing calculations and handing buyers their food, they kept the lines of consumers flowing. As the night went on, the crowds increased and dissipated periodically, at times leaving workers rushed to do their jobs or to welcome curious customers to the booth.

“It was an interesting experience because it was my first time in the Coral Gables Tree Lighting event. Working there was definitely tiring, but it was also something that might help me out in the future. Not only was it to help us with our community service hours, but it was also to help out our own community and raise money for a good cause,” junior Matthew Fuenmayor said.

To charge attendees for their food, Key Clubbers accepted both cash and card. Those taking orders handled cash, while a separate person managed the digital card payments on the phone of an adult Scout helper.

The elaborate countdown to the tree lighting did not stop the bustling crowds from conversing and shopping. About ten minutes before its lights turned on, the line in front of Kiwanis Key Club Grilling Booth was longer than it had previously been. This sort of rush-hour fueled those individuals at the grill and those putting orders to work together in efficient cooperation.

As masses of children and people yelled in unison for Santa Claus’ arrival, a moment was shared between those volunteering and those attending, in which both could take a moment to look at the tree’s lighting. As they helped serve hungry clients, they now faced the massive, lit Holiday Tree.

“I’ve been to other tree lightings and I’ve been to the holiday playground, so it was nice seeing everyone and all the families there. Actually seeing people go outside to watch the performances and see the tree lighting up, it was fun,” sophomore Serafina Baraloto said.

It was at about 7:30 p.m. that those working the second shift began working. During this time, fewer volunteers were present, with only two working up front, handling both the money and the drinks. The rest of the workers, mostly Scouts, were busy grilling in the back.

The rest of the night continued, and as the same work as that of the previous session was executed, club members kept money flowing in and food flowing out. Until 10:30 p.m., volunteers worked together to raise the most amount of money possible while working in coordination with the constant stream of customers.

“Once we finished, I helped clean everything up and throw things away. We stopped selling at around 10 p.m., and ended up giving away the leftover food for free. Everything was wrapped up at about 10:15 p.m.,” senior Georgios Flevaris said.

Key Clubbers were able to bring their night to an end for a cause to uphold their morals as club members. Through collaboration, Gables’ Key Club tightened the knot between themselves and its community, bringing holiday joy – and food – to those at the Coral Gables Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.

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About the Contributor
Beatrice Stampino-Strain, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Beatrice Stampino-Strain is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High. Following an insightful year in CavsTV, she has now started as a Staff Writer for CavsConnect, looking forward to new writing experiences. Partaking in various clubs, she serves on the boards of the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and Key Club, while also being the Vice President of the Class of 2026. More often than not, she can be seen talking to her friends or reading a book, though not at the same time (she has tried). Always wanting to bond with people, Beatrice finds herself delving into music, literature and television shows as a form of discovery to fuel her expansive curiosity of understanding. She enjoys the unsteadiness of life despite its struggle, and is always anticipating what it will bring to her next.
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