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


Interact Honors National Disabilities Month With Walking For Friendship

A voluntary addition to the clubs’ March calendar generated a favorable outcome
Courtesy of AnnMarie Reyes
Before the walk began, Interact members gathered around for a photo that held the memories of a productive day.

Kicking off a lively morning, students from Coral Gables Senior High’s Interact club united to attend Walking 4 Friendship. Hosted by the Friendship Circle, the walk evolved into an annual effort, this year marking its 15th anniversary. Spreading togetherness and community on March 10, the 3k walk was held to raise awareness for autism. At the Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cavaliers gave their moral support while enjoying the scenery and amusement provided.

“I was researching ‘walks for awareness’ and ‘walks for a cause’ and it took so long to find a good walk. We had to find one that would be free of course, and not during our spring break weekend; which they all were during that time. Then finally, I had passed through Walking 4 Friendship since the name sounded unfamiliar. But I decided to give it a shot and everyone else agreed, so we went with that one. We’re also supporting National Disabilities Month for March,” sophomore Ann Marie Reyes said.

As Cavaliers arrived, registration opened at 8 a.m. and lasted until 9:30 a.m. Interacters were given a shirt and wristband representing the cause. Once registered, club members made their way to the arts and crafts section where they created posters to showcase their support.

Shortly after, the opening ceremony began where a representative of the Friendship Circle expressed gratitude to attendees for coming. She then explained that the walk was in memory of Joe Roisman, who had fundraised the walk for many years. Right before the walk began, special needs kids in attendance gave a speech and sang a song from “The Greatest Showman” to fit in with the carnival theme.

“[With the event]…being so far, I didn’t think I was going to have the amount of kids that we did. It sort of just grew, where we also had Carver kids who came for the National Junior Honor Society so we had some future Gables [students] and we had parents. It was a really nice perfect combination of future [Cavaliers], eighth graders, their parents, the Interacters, non-Interacters and alumni,” Interact club sponsor Mrs. DePaola said.

Once the walk commenced at 10 a.m., walkers followed a trail containing multiple signs from the Friendship Circle motivating them to keep going. Throughout the entirety of the event, tables of sponsors including Dave and Busters, the Coral Gables Community Foundation and the Atlantis Academy gave out items such as snacks, reusable water bottles and stress balls.

“As an Interact board member who was in charge of the month of March, I’m really glad we decided to do this walk. We had an amazing turn out of Interact members and I felt that it was such a nice way to connect with the community, which is one of the key purposes of Interact,” junior Brianna Bustamante said.

Around 10:30 a.m., after two laps around the park, walkers finished the course. As they completed the 3K, food such as apples, bananas, tangerines, cotton candy, caramel and sea salt flavored carnival foods were offered by volunteers helping out with the event. To replenish the participants’ thirst, water and coffee were also served upon completion.

Serving as a place of leisure, a carnival awaited Interacters. The representative explained that by donating $10 they would gain access to all the rides at the carnival. Featuring bouncy houses, a disk jockey, games such as inflatable basketball, inflatable obstacle courses, a rock climbing wall, caricature and a petting zoo, students enjoyed the entertainment after a dedicated walk.

“My favorite part about attending the walk was being able to complete it with my fellow members, as well as the carnival that Friendship Circle organized at the end of the walk, including the rides, face painting and many concession stands,” junior Katherine Barboza said.

As groups collectively finished the 3K walk, some carrying posters, they were congratulated by staff before heading over to the carnival to enjoy the festivities. (Courtesy of AnnMarie Reyes)

As the event concluded around 1 p.m., a table giving out fruits and water bottles shared positive messages with Interacters as they exited the park. The event strived to have attendees leave with an appreciative outlook as they reminisced on memories they created.

Interact club members were able to gain 20 hours of community service as a result of their participation towards raising autism awareness. Students were able to provide support, which revived an old tradition and served to built connections across the community.

“[The walk] was such a success. On our end, as a club to come together through our members who made the time on a Sunday on Daylight Savings to show up and walk for a cause was amazing. It really brought back memories of when we used to do these walks and just how enjoyable it was,” Interact club sponsor Mrs. DePaola said.

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About the Contributor
Gianna Figueroa
Gianna Figueroa, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Gianna Figueroa is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Gables and this is her first year writing for CavsConnect. Looking for more ways to be involved at Gables, she saw CavsConnect as the perfect opportunity to do so, an opportunity to improve her writing skills. Hoping to meet new faces, engage herself in additional extracurriculars, attend more school events and create memories that will last a lifetime, she is looking forward to working for CavsConnect with the rest of the team. All of this while staying on top of her school work and managing her four Advanced Placement classes. She has a deep passion for art from a young age. Drawing, sketching and painting have been her creative outlet and have helped her all her life.  She aspires to pursue something in the arts and to have a job that will make her truly happy. In her free time, you can find her drawing, reading or spending time with her loved ones.
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