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


Publications Amplify Their Voice During FSPA 2024

Linus Boettcher
Gables publications gather for a group photo right before heading into the banquet.

Coral Gables Senior High School’s publications united to compete against publications from across Florida; through journalistic dedication and creative expression, students were able to write, photograph and broadcast their way into winning over 50 awards. With the theme of the convention being “Amplify”, students did just that in their own artistic ways.

Prior to the Convention, during February and March students submitted writing entries, photos, drawings, broadcast videos and literary spreads to the Florida Scholastic Press Association to be critiqued. FSPA, responsible for the FSPA Spring Convention, aims to recognize students in journalism and improve the standards of media through competition. The organization annually holds the FSPA Convention to announce the Best-of-the-Best winners in each category of media submissions, regarding winning students as the most qualified in the state.

Students set out for the FSPA Spring Convention, located in Orlando, at 5 a.m. on Apr. 18. At 10 a.m., they reached International Drive, Orlando, where the Wyndham Hotel is located and where the Convention would take place. Before students checked into their rooms, they toured the main hall of the Wyndham Resort, lined with representatives from colleges and companies. Students engaged in conversation and were enticed by games and raffles held by representatives; companies displayed their media technology while schools showcased their journalism classes.

Students checked into their designated rooms and began preparing themselves for the upcoming competitions assigned to them. At 2 p.m.m, all schools and students accumulated in the main ballroom to be introduced to the FSPA Convention and a keynote speaker.

In the wake of school shootings, Nancy Alvarez details her efforts to make the voices of victims’ mothers heard. (Linus Boettcher )

Nancy Alvarez, a news anchor with over 20 years in the media field, spoke to students about her challenging experiences as a reporter, namely her time spent in Puerto Rico aiding families affected by a category five hurricane. Alvarez helped inform families across America about the conditions in Puerto Rico and taught students a valuable lesson: be fearless, not careless.

Following the heartfelt speech, students were issued their competition prompts. Student journalists raced to their rooms to grab media supplies and began recording, interviewing, drawing and writing to meet their short deadlines. The hotel’s halls erupted in conversation as representatives, students and teachers were interviewed and recorded. The stressful buzz of the afternoon came to a standstill as the final entries were submitted before nightfall. Students attended dinner in various restaurants, accumulating energy for the informative day ahead of them.

“During the process of completing on the spot assignments, it was very stressful. We usually have 1 week to complete assignments and at FSPA we had 5 hours. From getting interviews, to filming our anchor, getting b-roll and editing it’s a challenging deadline,” freshman Vivian Pritchett said.

Photographers take shots of nature at the Convention to fit prompts about Florida’s ecosystem. (Linus Boettcher)

Students awoke on Apr. 19 to donuts and coffee, helping them to prepare for the day ahead of them. Attendees had until 8:30 to be ready to depart on their different informative sessions. Students split up at nine in the morning to take part in sessions that best suited their journalistic interests. “So I’m An Editor, Now What?” and “How to Interview” were sessions students attended to improve editing and writing techniques. Editors, writers, photographers, and artists gathered for informative sessions that accommodated for any media type.

After attending morning sessions, students from all publications met in the pavilion to enjoy their lunch of pizza and soda. Everyone had some free time on their hands before attending the two final sessions that commenced at two in the afternoon. After the break, the sessions continued including innovative new topics like “Best Of The Best Design”and “Chat GPT In Education”.

Attendees prepared themselves for the banquet and dressed in orange, purple and black, the color themes of the convention. At 5:30 every publication took their respective staff photos before group picture with every publication. Following pictures, attendants made their way into the main hall where the banquet was held.

Yearbook shows their countless awards achieved. Whether being individual or collective awards, Yearbook displayed their talents at FSPA. (Linus Boettcher)

Jonny Webster, the FSPA contest coordinator, handed out hundreds of awards to various publications throughout Florida. These awards included the All-Florida accomplishments of the Gables publications Cavaleon, CavsConnect, highlights, and Catharsis. Publications were then called by table to get their food before additional awards were announced.

“We get evaluated not just on the pages and spread of the yearbook, but on the content and level of proficiency in our writing. Our theme development also played a major part in acheiving the Sunshing Standout award. Yearbook also won a lot of individual awards including Module design honorable mention for Thursday’s competion which I was really proud of,” senior Amalia Garrido said.

Countless awards were handed out from that point forward. The Sunshine Standout award recognized publications from Florida that demonstrated journalistic excellence, including Gables publications Cavaleon, highlights, and Catharsis. When the banquet concluded, students were dismissed and headed to Coldstone to celebrate while the ballroom was being adjusted into a dance floor.

“My goal every year is to get the All-Florida award for highlights. When we got the Sunshine Standout Award, I was completely shocked, being recognized state-wide was so accomplishing. Florida is full of amazing News Magazines that were all evaluated based on growth and improvement and we met the criteria. The students in highlights were so deserving of the award,” highlights Adviser Ms. Gonzalez said.

Returning from their ice-cream, students attended the dance in the ballroom. Many went to enjoy themselves and had an exciting night on their feet while singing and dancing to memorable songs. Students relished their final night in Orlando as they danced their hearts out.

With little rest, Gables attendants met in the ballroom on their final day for final announcements and awards from Thursday’s competitions. Awards included Yearbook Module Designs honorable mention and Gabi Vega’s review writing. After many other awards, Gables headed back to their rooms to quickly gather their belongings and head home.

“I am so proud of Catharsis for winning the Sunshine Standout award and winning various All-Floridas. I was so surprised to have won third place in a competition held at the convention. The short deadlines made the process very stressful, but in the end we won,” Junior Caitlin Savage said.

From the exciting memories of meeting new people, winning awards and learning to improve their publications, Gables attendants were delighted with their enlightening weekend. Gables further amplified their voices throughout Florida and students shared a memorable experience with every publication.

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About the Contributors
Luke Savage
Luke Savage, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Luke Savage is a freshman at Coral Gables Senior High, working as a staff writer for Cavsconnect. He is an avid reader and runner who hopes to improve his writing and the skills involved with the triad throughout his Gables career. Additionally, he takes educational matters with utmost importance and intently plans on having an almost perfect grade point average by the end of the year. Regardless of the sacrifice of time or labor, Luke will present his best work in every class. The genesis for his interest in CavsConnect began during his search for the right publication. Writing professionally in conjunction with designing aesthetic websites interested him. He was more enticed after learning that the publication hosted an extremely competitive environment. Now with the goal of one day becoming Editor-in-Chief, he has incentive to write of a high quality, in a punctual manner and bribe the upperclassmen. Individually, Luke is often described as independent, hard-working and pragmatic. But most see him as impertinent. With four years ahead of him, Gables has no idea who he might become.  
Santiago Rodriguez
Santiago Rodriguez, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Santiago Rodriguez is a current freshman entering the International Baccalaureate program here at Coral Gables Senior High. He hopes to pursue his interest in running by joining the Cross Country and Track and Field team. Despite his love for running, his biggest opponents are mosquitos. If you find him outdoors, bug spray is his best friend. He has big hopes for his future in Gables such as joining the National Honor Society, International Baccalaureate Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and possibly becoming Editor in Chief of CavsConnect. His favorite seasons are summer and fall for the many reasons of sports, weather and vacation. Wanting to continue to be a above average student, Santiago works harder, taking multiple Advanced Placement classes during high school. Hoping he has a great year at Gables, he is eager to be working in CavsConnect.
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