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The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

Sixth Annual Politicare Paves The Road To Civic Engagement

Miami-Dade+County+Mayor+Daniella+Levine+Cava+discussed+local+politics+and+introduced+students+to+the+actions+they+could+take+to+participate+in+their+community.
Alexander Tam-Solis
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava discussed local politics and introduced students to the actions they could take to participate in their community.

In hopes of improving civic engagement within the Coral Gables Senior High campus, the Political Activism and Civic Engagement Club hosted their sixth annual Politicare event. On March 15, from second to eighth period, PACE members and students gathered in the gymnasium to listen to the guests present their focus and solutions to unique political issues. 

“I [feel that] all of their issues were really relevant to our students and they each had such a passion for what they did that it would inspire the students to become politically active and civically engaged,” junior Nathalie Schwartz said.

Politicare began during second period, starting with Coral Gables Commissioner, Ariel Fernandez, who shared his insights and knowledge about the significance of local government. He emphasized that even though most high school students are not yet eligible to vote, he believes they have the power to influence and contribute to the city and the government.

“My favorite speakers were the lawyer from the second session and his partner. The way they explained what they did was easy to follow and he brought up interesting topics,” sophomore Avril Donner said.

By becoming informed about the issues and participating in civic activities, Fernandez claimed that students can actively engage in shaping the future of their community. He informed students about politics in Miami-Dade County so that they could learn more about local issues, including involvement in real estate, urban planning and other problems that students asked about. 

“One thing I took away from Politicare is that I can actually speak up about issues I see in my community or even in the whole state because there are so many politicians working in the government that actually care and are willing to bring about change for the people,” sophomore Avril Donner said.

Continuing into fourth period, Cavaliers had the opportunity to attend a question-and-answer session with two attorneys, Fernand Amandi and David Everett Marko. The session served to be an opportunity for students to learn more about the political landscape and gain a deeper understanding of the issues that impact their lives.

Both lawyers presented their opinions on civic engagement, politics, college tuition and local political issues in Miami, by interacting with their crowd. They posed questions and hypothetical situations for the students to highlight the importance of voting and civic involvement in their communities.

Amandi and Marko expressed that when it comes to elections, every vote matters. Both attorneys stated that essentially if students don’t vote for what they want, someone else will “steal” their vote. If students did not agree with the laws or regulations set in place, the attorneys encouraged those too young to vote to pre-register or motivate family and friends to vote. Amandi and Marko took turns explaining their opinions on whether or not college tuition should be free, TikTok should be banned and other controversial topics. 

Following the pair, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava joined Politicare to further discuss a range of political topics, including affordable housing and actions toward civic participation. Cava stressed the idea of students becoming more civically engaged by encouraging students to read the news daily and observe local issues in their community to inform themselves about those that affected both their community and the nation as a whole.

“One thing I really enjoyed at Politicare was the opportunity to ask questions. I asked Mayor Cava if she had any plans to regulate Miami Beach during spring break since it can get pretty hectic. That is when I learned that Miami Beach has a different mayor than Miami-Dade County which I found interesting. It was also nice just hearing all of the questions students had to ask,” sophomore Gabriella Arango said.

Cava also touched on the topic of pricing, speaking about the high rent prices in Miami and how she started an organization to help those who got evicted due to raised rent. Cava informed students about the different scales of action young adults including Cavaliers could take, for example, starting petitions to promote the regulations they saw fit and keeping themselves updated on local legislation. 

“We had [the] ‘Meet Your Mayor’ [session] because I feel like it’s really important to meet the mayor of Miami-Dade County because people get confused a lot because there are several mayors in each city, the city of Miami, the city of Miami Beach and the city of Hialeah have their own mayors, but the Miami-Dade County mayor is above all of them and she controls the county so I thought those things were extremely important to know and I wanted people to meet their mayor,” senior Santiago Giraldo said.

What Was Your Favorite Topic at Politicare?

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During sixth period, PACE organized a club fair that featured some of the community service clubs provided at Gables. The participating clubs included the National Honor Society, Interact, Gables Wellness and SeaKeepers, among others. Each club featured its own booth in the gymnasium to showcase its activities and provide information on how interested students could join. 

Towards the end of the day, during eighth period, the director of Climate Resilience Academy Jennifer Posner visited Politicare for one last informational speech. The main idea that Posner went over was urban planning and climate change as well as her desire to work towards improving both topics.

“Jennifer Posner was the perfect choice. She is the leader of the Climate Resilience Academy at the University of Miami, and just being able to have her speak at our campus and also being from UM was just such a really big connection to Gables,” senior Santiago Giraldo said.

She spoke about improving living conditions and the environment for a decrease in climate change. Posner stated that researchers found that the temperature inside people’s homes was up to 116 degrees which causes heat strokes. She highlighted some main causes of global warming, such as old buildings that are too expensive to renovate and driving cars. Posner spread these stories and facts to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable urban planning to build up resilience toward climate change.

“I feel a responsibility in helping to educate my peers on the importance of social justice and making your voice heard. If you can’t stand up for yourself, you can’t do anything,” junior Nathalie Schwartz said.

Hoping to send the same message of the importance of citizen’s political participation, Politicare’s speakers used their experience to guide their audience. Introducing students to their mayor, PACE strived to foster a closer sense of community and care for civic action. With Politicare now completed, PACE hopes to see an increase in civic engagement among Cavaliers and other young adults.

Politicare’s Speakers and Activities
Attorney Fernand Amandi spoke on current American political issues and answered questions from his audience.
Attorney Fernand Amandi spoke on current American political issues and answered questions from his audience. (Alexander Tam-Solis)
Attorney Fernand Amandi

In his visit to Politicare, Amandi delivered a speech on the significance of casting a vote during political elections. He emphasized how crucial he thought it was for every citizen to vote and participate in elections.

Marko presented his own point of view as an attorney, at times contradicting Amandi.
Marko presented his own point of view as an attorney, at times contradicting Amandi. (Alexander Tam-Solis)
Attorney David Everett Marko

Marko joined Amandi in engaging in a conversation about the importance of voting. He emphasized the significance of using citizens' right to vote and how it influences their place in democracy.

Cava used her authority and knowledge as mayor to expand on local issues in Miami.
Cava used her authority and knowledge as mayor to expand on local issues in Miami. (Alexander Tam-Solis)
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

Cava, the current mayor of Miami-Dade County, joined Politicare's "Meet The Mayor" session to address political concerns in the community. Cava spoke about the struggles of the rising costs of rent, the journey towards achieving affordable housing for all and the importance of public education in the community.

Students participated by asking questions, including about the importance of the First Amendment.
Students participated by asking questions, including about the importance of the First Amendment. (Alexander Tam-Solis)
Interactive Questions

At Politicare, students were given the opportunity to participate in discussions and engage with the representative speakers. In order to gain a better understanding of the topics discussed, students were encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts.

Gables Wellness booth set up during the club fair in hopes of promoting their values and plans for the school.
Gables Wellness’ booth set up during the club fair in hopes of promoting their values and plans for the school. (Alexander Tam-Solis)
Club Fair

During sixth period, students were given the opportunity to learn more about the community service clubs available to them. From environmental clubs to volunteering organizations, students had the chance to indulge in some of the community service opportunities available.

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About the Contributors
Elyse Harris, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Elyse Harris is currently a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High. This is her first year in CavsConnect, and she is thrilled to start her journey in the publication, hoping to improve her writing skills. She enjoys writing poetry, going to the beach, hanging out with friends and you will always catch her listening to music. As someone who is very academically focused, she hopes to become a doctor and participate in medical research in the future. Still, Elyse tries to always keep a balance between school and her social life. During this school year, she is excited to learn new things and is prepared for anything she may encounter.
Alexander Tam-Solis, CavsTV Staff
Alexander Tam-Solis is a sophomore in the IB program at Coral Gables Senior High. This is his first year being a member of CavsTV and he hopes to make the most out of it as well as in his following years at Coral Gables High. While focusing on his academics, he also wants to be more involved in school activities, clubs, and sports. He is already in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and is on the board of International Baccalaureate Honor Society (IBHS) but wants to join a few more clubs in the future and join the soccer team. Outside of school, his favorite hobby is to travel around the world. He’s been to Switzerland, Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, as well as many other countries, and enjoys seeing the different cultures of people all over  the globe. Alex wishes to learn a lot from CavsTV and be a good help for the team.  
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