The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

Winning the Hearts of Cavaliers with Affection

Celebrating the warmth buildup to Valentine’s Day, Interact hosted their annual Cupid proposal ardor, reaching over 200 sales
Full+of+love+in+the+air%2C+freshmen+Jennifer+Fundora+and+Daniela+Stefan+became+newly-wed+wives.+With+an+official+marriage+certificate+stating+their+promises%2C+both+share+their+memorable+experience+from+the+booth.
Vivian Pritchett
Full of love in the air, freshmen Jennifer Fundora and Daniela Stefan became newly-wed wives. With an official marriage certificate stating their promises, both share their memorable experience from the booth.

Through exploding with a flurry of hearts, roses and whispered promises of affection, the cast of Valentine’s Day glowed around Coral Gables Senior High. Amidst the sea of young love, however, a celebration that would come together would take the student body of Gables: marriage proposals.

Following its 15 years of initiating the holiday spirit, the idea spread in 2009 when the Gay Straight Alliance Club, now known as Gables Paradigm, expressed their unrepresented voices. As same-sex marriages were not legalized until 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court gave a ruling favoring the LGBTQ community in “Obergefell v. Hodges” However, by the time the court decision rolled out, marrying a significant other including same-sex relationships had already been established.

Continuing the club’s previous mission, both Cavaliers express their love for each other next to the newly added cupids this year.
(Vivian Pritchett)

“When GSA disassembled at some point during the late 2000s, I was asked by the club to lead the marriage proposal booths, and I said yes. In part of fulfilling their original work, the main goal of Interact, in the past, was to donate all of the proceedings to LGBTQ organizations before it was even a constitutional right. While now it has become more common, we are still honored to be helping organizations of same-sex equality as well as other awareness groups like HIV that need help in fighting the struggles in Florida,” Interact club sponsor, Mrs. DePaola said.

Eventually transferring the event into the hands of Interact, throughout the following decade, Mrs. DePaola and her Interact board added their vision to the event. Through printing out official marriage certificates, dressing up as cupids to stride down the red carpet and having officiants state their vows, the team made sure to fulfill what Valentine’s Day is about.

“Being a Cupid was exciting and a position that made me come out of my comfort zone. I realized one week into doing marriage proposal sales, that I wanted to become more socially conversational with people around me, and so I viewed the job of cupids as a solution to my dilemma. Getting to see students’ reactions to their loved one asking them out was cute while also having them hold hands when it was time to propose,” junior Sofia Perez said.

In the lead up for this Valentine’s Day, Interact hosted several meetings at the start of February, spreading the word about their upcoming marriage booth. Moreover, before Feb. 14, Interact placed itself in front of the 9000 building for two weeks, where students got the chance to write messages, earn treats and send mail from a secret admirer asking to be their lover through a Cupid service that was established this year.

Reaching the end of the day, the Interact team comes together for their collective efforts in spreading love around Gables. (Vivian Pritchett)

“We had about two weeks of selling during lunch and pulling out our cupids as advertisements for lunch during that time. Before that, we also spent days recruiting students who were willing to become involved with the event. It’s a lot of hard work when you manage 20 volunteers for the biggest Valentine’s event in Gables, and as Interact President, I made sure to fully plan the event by putting everyone into groups. So while it was a bunch of moving parts, it was exciting to see the hard work pay off, senior Natalie Muniz said.

As the day finally entered, excitement reached as time ticked closer to lunchtime. Filled with the scent of roses and the sound of laughter as students awaited to enter and get documented to marry, it became the moment for couples and friends to declare their relationship for each other, exchanging vows under the eyes of cupid-clad officiants, while sliding a Ring Pop candy into the ring finger.

“Being an officiant for the Interact marriage booth was a really fun opportunity, and I can’t wait to be a part of it again next year. Getting to spend both lunches seeing familiar faces and friends while simultaneously stating their vows and marrying them filled my heart with so much joy. It was lots of fun to dress up in Valentine’s Day-themed attire with tutus along with spending the day spreading love to students,” junior Brianna Bustamante said.

Never-ending the romance chemistry, Mr. Ball-Llovera remarries Mrs. Ball-Llovera again, in a moment of love. (Vivian Pritchett)

However, it was not just students caught up in the whirlwind of romance; it was also teachers. Walking in as a pair, both Mr. and Mrs. Ball-llovera entered into the path of romance to celebrate their annual secret admirer expression.

“I would leave little anonymous notes and that’s how we would celebrate Valentine’s Day. Even when we were married, those first two years we said we would still celebrate the day. I still ask her out every year to be my Valentine’s, and I did something similar this year, but she also did it to me by asking me to get married at Interact. It was a romantic little event and is now a photo memory that she hung up on her classroom wall,” Mr. Ball-llovera said.

To top off kindness, Interact will send 75% of its proceeds to this year’s cause, the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit LGBTQ advocacy group that focuses on making society more equally represented. With more than three million members and supporters, it is the largest organization in the U.S. for LGBTQ individuals.

Through laughter or hardship, promises made or patience shared, Interact affirmed that Cavaliers rise by lifting others.. Wherever hearts join together, hope lights the way forward in the season of pink.

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About the Contributors
Aaron Rojas, CavsConnect Features Editor
Entering his third year in CavsConnect, Aaron Rojas is the newest editor on the team for Features. As he enters the ranks of rising juniors in the International Baccalaureate program, Aaron dedicates his afternoons to various school clubs such as the French Honor Society, IBHS, Gables Interact and Mock Trial. Aaron is a proud '06 natal year with having the ability to drive now, except for the moments he remembers Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet that same year. Despite his penchant for restful Zzz's, Aaron indulges in taking up the many responsibilities of a young adult, such as by reading text articles on Apple News while sipping a half glass of celery juice every morning. Sensing the countdown to graduation standing at under two years, Aaron's ultimate major choice remains veiled in uncertainty. For now, Aaron hopes to keep his friends and classmates smiling around him before his unshakeable self-assurance points to a path that will undoubtedly be his perfect fit.  
Vivian Pritchett, CavsTV Staff
Vivian Pritchett is a freshman in the International Baccalaureate Program. This is her first year in the publication, she looks forward to attending and covering many sports events. Some of Vivian’s hobbies include baking, diving and watching sunsets. Her favorite places to watch a good sunset are Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Amelia Island. She’s a member of the Miami Diving Team and hopes to continue diving through and beyond highschool. Some tell her that she’s crazy for loving to dive but she says it is her way of escaping reality and having fun. She hopes to be a part of many clubs and participate in many community service projects and even overseas service missions
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