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


Gables Celebrates Excellence at the 2024-25 Awards Ceremony

Courtesy of Jennifer Fundora
Gables’ senior class celebrated their collective effort to maintain a high GPA alongside their extracurricular activities.

In an annual event, Coral Gables Senior High rewarded honors to selected students after a nomination and evaluation process from a teacher-run board. On March 21, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Cavaliers were awarded titles for their efforts and contribution within the school. Throughout the awards ceremony, students were called up to the stage one by one, where they were greeted by a handshake and a physical award.

As third period commenced, recipients, suited in semi-formal attire, checked-in with Student Activities members in the auditorium’s lobby and took their seats on the left wing of its main space. Parents and other invited guests sat in the middle of the auditorium, while teachers and speakers took the left-side seats.

“When they called my name, I was extremely surprised, because I never thought I, among all my peers, would be receiving the Gold Scholar Award. I was very surprised that I won the award because since English is not my first language I usually [make] many mistakes….and also because I have so many amazing and insanely smart peers that are so deserving of the award as well. This award made me feel so proud about myself, it made me realize that I’m usually way too hard on myself and that all my hard work actually payed off,” junior Chiara Ortiz de Rozas said.

Once the crowd settled, Masters of Ceremonies seniors Lia Alongi and Ahmad Fambro introduced the event and its importance to the Cavalier community, as its purpose served to commemorate students for their outstanding work as Cavaliers. They announced the Department Awards as first batch of awards to be delivered and proudly welcomed Mr. Romero to reveal the first few recipients.

Mr. Romero called on one male and female winner of the Athletic Awards, then handing the microphone to Mrs. Kiely, who disclosed the students awarded the Academy of Finance and the Business, Management and Information Technology Academy awards. Both of the speakers emphasized that the qualities of the recipients in their respective field as well as their contributions to the departments they leaded in.

“I was beyond shocked I was given the Academy of Finance Award. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know an awarded title like that was given out. I strongly believe [AOF] has given me a lot of opportunities in my career field, and it deserves so much more recognition….Being able to represent the academy feels amazing. After being awarded, I spoke to multiple business teachers whom voted for me to get the award, and it was surreal. Without them, I wouldn’t been able to become the leader I am today,” senior Balery Quiñonez said.

Mrs. D’Alemberte then followed, announcing the Exceptional Education Award, and Mrs. Barrow introduced the Fine Arts Award, both presenting the students who deserved each title. Mrs. Rouit and Mrs. Keily both presented different department awards, among them the Foreign Language and Science Award, each given to a Cavalier dedicated in the area.

International Baccalaureate and Pre-IB Chemistry teacher Mrs. Kiely, alongside Alongi presented sophomore Ashlee Hernandez with the Rising Star Award. (Courtesy of Jennifer Fundora)

“It’s kind of an afterthought until you really get to the ceremony and it all sinks in. The best part was that I actually finished the yearbook the same week as the ceremony, so it felt like I really was just celebrating that achievement which to me, is the largest contribution I could make to Gables. I think ceremony was really well organized this year and hearing my name three times throughout it cemented the impact that I hoped to make ever since my freshman year,” senior Amalia Garrido said.

The freshman titles were given next, as Mrs. Leyte-Vidal lead the grade’s first recipients to the stage as she called out the Gold, Silver and Bronze Scholar Awards, given to those with the highest Grade Point Averages in their graduating class. Mr. Garcia presented varied freshman awards and handed the spotlight to Mr. Ullivari who announced the Principal’s Freshmen Award and Freshmen of Distinction titles.

“I love Gables for doing this. I come from Chile where they do not award students for their work so I feel like it’s such a great way to feel motivated and heard by the school. It works as a motivation for me to keep my hard work because it is working and the school can see it as well,” junior Chiara Ortiz de Rozas said.

Once again, Mrs. Leyte-Vidal delivered the awards of Gold, Silver and Bronze scholars for the next grade in order, the sophomores. For the Class of 2026, Mrs. Keily handed out mixed titles, including the Gables’ personalized Dirigo Award. Similarly to the freshmen round of awards, Mr. Ullivari announced the Sophomore of Distinction and Principal’s Sophomore awards.

“I felt extremely honored to get my name called out for my award, the Principal Sophomore Award. I was so excited and happy, yet also shocked. I had told my peers sitting next to me that there was no way I was going to get it, even though they were all reassuring me that I was well qualified. Achieving this award was such an honor and definitely a highlight of my sophomore year,” sophomore William Hardie said.

For both the juniors and seniors that followed, Mrs. Leyte-Vidal revealed the winners with the highest GPA and Mr. Ullivari awarded the Junior and Senior Award of Distinction as well as the Principal’s Award to each grade of upperclassmen. Up to this point, each recipient was given a plaque with their name and title won and walked across the stage to pose with their award.

Senior Ludwig Felstrom, commonly know as Cav Man by fellow Cavaliers, received the Faculty Cup for being a student that presents a constant positive attitude and effective work ethic. (Courtesy of Jennifer Fundora)

Mrs. Barrow took the stage to present the junior class’s award, including the Harvard Book Award and the University of Virginia’s Jefferson Award, each with a different criteria and recipient. After she awarded the Faculty Cup, Mr. Garcia presented an array of junior awards.

The senior classes’ awards and titles were then issued by Mrs. Figueroa, who announced the first half, and was then followed by Ms. Sanz. Mr. Ullivari gave out the last category of awards, the Class of 2024’s top five percent GPA awards, to a numerous groupd of seniors. As they took the stage in a compact manner for a group picture, each Cavalier was posed with a medal for their achievement.

“[When] I received the Quill and Scroll Yearbook award, Silver Scholar award, as well as a medal for being top five percent, …every time that my name was called out I was honestly surprised. It’s obviously so validating to hear that all the hard work you’ve put in is getting recognized, but at the end of the day, I never worked hard with the awards in mind,” senior Amalia Garrido said.

The 2024-25 school year awards ceremony served as a reminder of the recognition of student’s hard work in and outside of Gables’ halls. Because they truly embodied the meaning of being a Cavalier, each recipient took home a physical testament as a congratulatory gift from their alma mater.

A Look Into the Awards Presented
Harvard Book Award

At the awards ceremony, a Gables and Harvard alumni presented the Harvard Book Award, founded in 1910 as the first university award to be established. The award is given to students who maintain an unweighted GPA of 3.75 and have succeeded in completing a minimum of six honors and/or Advanced Placement classes. Recipients are also considered because of their impactful extra-curricular achievements in non-academic areas as well as of academic excellence.


University of Virginia's Jefferson Award

Recipients of the University of Virginia's Jefferson Award lead in humanitarian activities and advance the ideals of the schools founder and United States' third president. The award is given to students who are interested in literature, arts and sciences as well as public affairs,  and who maintain a concern for the advancement of a higher education. Honorees foster a sense of individual civic responsibility and are committed to the welfare and rights of the individual.

Dirigo Award

Latin for "I lead", the Dirigo Award stands as a testament to Gables' own motto and values of guidance and cooperation between Cavaliers. The title is awarded on a plaque to recipients who not only excel in academics, but promote that same excellence within their student community. The school strives to create Cavaliers that believe in and empower their classmates.

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About the Contributor
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.
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