Category: Educational

Miami, FL — May 17, 2018- Paloma Aisenberg wrote and produced the song and video “Love is the Answer,” and made it available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Music and YouTube. All proceeds go to the Hancock-French Woods Arts Alliance, which awards underprivileged kids scholarships to study the arts. The song carries a message of love, acceptance and unity at a time of turmoil in the world. Paloma also was a Temple Beth Am Social Justice Teen Fellow, where she worked with the Chapman Partnership homeless shelter and the Immokalee Coalition to improve living conditions of migrant workers. She earned the Princeton University Service Award, was named Best Actress in a Leading Role at Miami Children’s Theater and won several Critic’s Choice and Best of Show Awards in Florida District and State Thespians. She was assistant director of her school’s production of “Kabuki Lady Macbeth,” and has volunteered extensively with Miami Children’s Theater. Honorable mentions: Eva Bibas for Art, Sophie Barry for English & Literature, Amber Robinson for Journalism, and Malinda Gong for Vocational Technical.


Miami, FL — January 24, 2018 – Elysium Literary/Art Magazine, the literary/art magazine from Coral Reef Senior High School, has earned the Highest Award by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines (PRESLM). This is the top honor in this nationwide contest.  Earlier this year Elysium also won the prestigious Crown award from the Scholastic Press Association.

PRESLM publicly recognizes excellent literary magazines produced by students, teachers, and schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, American schools abroad, and the Virgin Islands.

Congratulations to Amy Scott, Elysium’s sponsor, and Audrey Daugherty, the editor-in-chief, as well as the entire staff of the magazine’s 2017 edition.

This year, 371 literary magazines were submitted for review. Of that number, 26 received the Highest Award. State and national judges complete first round judging based on a point system. Magazines scoring 91–100 and recommended by the state and national judges for Highest Award are displayed at NCTE’s Annual Convention in November and judged by the PRESLM Advisory Committee. The Committee determines whether a magazine meets enough criteria to win the honor of Highest Award.

For information on current winners of NCTE’s PRESLM top award visit .

For information on winners of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Crown Awards visit



Love Is the Answer©

Pinecrest, Florida – June 9, 2017 – Coral Reef Senior High School’s rising senior, Paloma Aisenberg, is the creator and producer of a music project, released today on iTunes,  the song titled Love Is the Answer© with all proceeds benefitting the Hancock French Woods Arts Alliance. “The Hancock-French Woods Arts Alliance is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation that was formed by the French Woods Festival family to provide encouragement for the arts through education and financial support for children and young adults from low income and culturally diverse areas.”

The digital download is priced at $.99 on iTunes (now available for purchase) and can also be downloaded on Spotify and Google Music. The benefit recording of “Love Is The Answer” was created and led by Paloma Aisenberg, along with a creative team composed of Victor Legra, Beth and Ron Schaefer (co-executive producers), Josh Freilich (composer), Matt Stern (music director), and Caleb Whitehorse (film production) and recorded at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts in Hancock, New York. The accompanying video features over 45 French Woods campers from New York, California, Florida, and more.  In addition, a music video is available on YouTube.

Created to support children and young adults who are not able to study and pursue the performing arts due to a lack of financial support and to encourage the arts through education, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the song will benefit the Hancock French Woods Arts Alliance program. This program has encouraged young performers of all cultural backgrounds to not be afraid to pursue their dreams and give them the opportunity to study these arts at the highest institutions. Additional donations will be welcome directly from the scholarship program’s website at  The funds raised will be used for college scholarships granted to needy and deserving young people committed to a career in the arts.

“When I heard everyone sing the song that I wrote for them for the first time, I felt the sort of oneness that I have felt just being there as a camper playing show tunes on the piano when I was 14, and I was reminded of how music, love, and good vibes can change the world. It’s really one of my favorite feelings in the world, knowing that we can bring people together with a lot of good friends and a song,” said Josh Freilich, the composer, in a statement.

“I am asking each and every single one of you to share this song with ten close family and friends and through whatever social media you may have, and we will all see how through our camp family this project will soar to new heights and positively impact and influence the new generation of artists. Money should not restrict true talent and passion,” said Paloma Aisenberg.

In addition to being an outstanding student, Paloma received The Princeton Service Award from the Princeton Club of Miami. The Princeton Service Award is given to an outstanding junior in recognition of their civic engagement, service and commitment to the community. Paloma Aisenberg is Coral Reef’s first recipient of this award. As a Drama student in the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Coral Reef she strives to balance her performing arts passion, her academics and her community involvement with an emphasis on social justice projects, Paloma also serves in numerous clubs and honor societies, often in a leadership capacity.  She has been in over 20 productions with the Miami Children’s Theatre and French Woods Festival of the Arts Camp and has won 4 Critic’s Choice Awards at the Florida State and District Thespian competitions. Paloma has been named a Social Justice Fellow at her Temple Beth Am’s Fellowship, participating in community service projects every month and was recently chosen – and attended – as an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) student ambassador in Washington, DC.


Photo: Paloma Aisenberg

June 3, 2017 – Davie, Florida – Coral Reef Senior High School is proud to announce that Mrs. Lou Gilman, CAP/College Advisor has been selected as the recipient of 4th Annual Ross Roberts Mentor of the Year Award Salute to Education Scholarship Program.  All of the 112 Ford Salute to Education Scholarship winners were asked to nominate their college advisor for this award and the nomination form submitted by Anderson Leal from Coral Reef stood out among them all.

Ross Roberts, a founding member of the Salute to Education Scholarship Program and retired Vice President of Ford Motor Company passed away several years ago. As a way to honor his legacy and his dedication and leadership within the scholarship program and within Ford Motor Company, Salute to Education created the Ross Roberts Mentor of the Year Award in order to honor those local mentors who too have provided dedication and leadership within their school and with their students.

The Ross Roberts Mentor of the Year Award is awarded to two college advisors in Miami-Dade County and two college advisors in Broward County. Over the last 23 years, the program has been so successful due in part to the amazing college advisors who have partnered with the organization and have helped to spread the word to the deserving high school seniors who have won our scholarships. They wanted to honor the hard work the advisors do for their students day in and day out as they approach the daunting task of applying for college and searching for financial aid and scholarships. They also wanted to honor the support the advisors  have given this program over the years.

As a Ross Roberts Mentor of the Year award winner, they were honored at this year’s Salute to Education Scholarship Awards Luncheon on June 3, 2017, at the Signature Grand in Davie, Florida. At the banquet, they were awarded with a plaque acknowledging their leadership and dedication and will also receive a $1,000 Best Buy gift card to purchase anything needed for their office or for the school.

At the event Anderson Leal also received his $1,500 scholarship and laptop as one of the Ford Salute to Education recipients.

Anderson and Gilman

Photo: Anderson Leal and Mrs. Lou Gilman

Miami, Florida – May 24, 2017 – Coral Reef Senior High School is proud to announce that Ms. Gina Marmol, Language Arts Teacher, for being selected by Univision Miami in collaboration with Papa John’s Pizza and Nova Southeastern University, as an outstanding South Florida teacher at the 16th Annual “Un Maestro Especial” (A Special Teacher) awards luncheon. The event was hosted by WLTV-Univision 23 anchor Sandra Peebles at the Miami Lakes Educational Center on Thursday, May 25, 2017.  This award was created by Univision Miami 16 years ago, “Un Maestro Especial” recognizes and rewards teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty and have a distinct and profound impact on their students. Ms. Marmol was nominated by her students: Annemarie Blanco, Francesca Lausen, and Anderson Leal.

“We are proud to honor these exceptional teachers with the ‘Un Maestro Especial’ award,” said Claudia Puig, senior vice president and general manager of Univision Miami. “Our teachers in the community have the very special assignment to educate and empower our future leaders and together with our partners we want to ensure the champions of education are recognized for their indispensable commitment to academic excellence.”

“We are very proud sponsors of the ‘Un Maestro Especial’ campaign,” said Ricky Warman, president of Pizzerias, LLC and franchise owner of Papa John’s Pizza in South Florida.  “As a community, it is very important for us to recognize those educators who are making a difference, and make learning a memorable and meaningful experience for students.”

“To be a teacher is more than a profession, it is a vocation. Today we honor the brave teachers of our community,” said Dr. Armando Rodriguez, executive director, Education Programs in Latin America, FCE, Nova Southeastern University. “The Abraham S. Fischler College of Education at Nova Southeastern University is proud to offer our honorees a scholarship to continue their education because somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be learned and shared.”

June 2, 2017 – Tampa, Florida – Congratulations to Coral Reef Senior High School as the WINNER of the Florida College Access Network Florida CAN Challenge!  Specifically, the school has won the top award in the State for large high schools in the category of MVP—Highest FAFSA Completion Rate.

The Florida FAFSA Challenge is a statewide campaign that aims to increase the proportion of Florida high school seniors who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by encouraging schools, districts and communities to set bold and attainable FAFSA completion goals for their students.

Through March 31, 54 school districts and 390 high schools have increased the number of seniors who completed the federal financial aid form by at least 5% over last year, contributing to a statewide gain of 9.1%.  This translates to over $37 million more in Pell grant dollars alone for graduating seniors to help pay the cost of college.

“The boost in Florida’s FAFSA completions this year is phenomenal and a credit to the schools, districts, and community partners who have worked passionately to ensure all of our students have the resources to attend college,” said Laurie Meggesin, Florida CAN’s executive director.  “This is a real game-changer for the thousands of students and families impacted by this collective effort.”

In addition to bragging rights, Coral Reef’s award included:

  • 2017 Florida College Access and Success Summit on May 10 – 11 in Orlando. The program agenda can be viewed at
  • A trophy for the school

The mission of the Florida College Access Network is to create and strengthen a statewide network that catalyzes and supports communities to improve college and career preparation, access, and completion for all students. Their Big Goal is to increase the percentage of Florida residents who hold a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential to 60% by the year 2025.  For more information, visit

Sincere thank you to Coral Reef’s Mrs. Lou Gilman, CAP/College Advisor.

May 24, 2017 – Miami, Florida – The Coral Reef Senior High School Student’s Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club won First Place for the Youth Fair Project. They were presented with a check for $300.00 by Officer Lily Diaz of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Since its foundation in 1981, SADD has been the leading organization committed to saving lives by empowering teens to stand strong against destructive decisions. SADD has impacted the lives of millions: students, friends, parents, school and community leaders, law enforcement officials, and more. The strong connections that these groups built with SADD has resonated and grown into a brand that is recognized across the nation as a remarkable experience, equipping teens to become leaders and role models in their home communities and across the nation. In 1997, SADD expanded its mission to include other emerging issues, such as substance abuse, suicide, depression, bullying, violence, body image, and more. SADD does its best to equip students with the best, most effective resources to take the lead on the issues that matter to them.


Pictured are: Officer Lily Diaz, Miami-Dade Police Department,  Connor Forsythe; Ms. Tina Cushnie, Club Sponsor;  Emily Olson, Chapter President; Atiz Betancourt;  and Mr. Alvaro Mejia, Assistant Principal.

May 23, 2017 – Miami, FloridaThe Miami Herald at its annual Miami-Dade Athletic Awards breakfast event held at Jungle Island sponsored by Miami Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute Baptist Health South Florida and The Orange Bowl drew a crowd of 1,265.

Congratulations to Coral Reef Senior High School’s graduating senior, Kyle Dickson, as he is the recipient of the Miami-Dade County Scholar Athlete Award.  Among Kyle’s sports accomplishments include: played the following sports –  Baseball (9th-10th grades stopped playing due to injury to throwing arm); Golf (11th-12th grades); and Lacrosse (11th-12th grades); Maximum scores for push-ups and sit-ups on Naval Academy Fitness Assessment (sub-6 minute mile and 14 pull-ups as well) (12th grade); FHSAA Golf Regional Qualifier (2 time; individually 11th /with team 12th grades); All-Dade Golf Honorable Mention (11th grade); Barracuda Baseball Scholar Athlete (10th grade); and Barracuda Baseball Most Valuable Freshman Pitcher (9th grade).

Kyle’s academic accomplishments include: received the highest score on the ACT Test; Congressional Medal of Merit; U.S. Presidential Scholar Nominee; National Merit Scholar; National Hispanic Scholar; AP Scholar With Distinction (11th; 5’s on all exams taken); and Principal’s Honor Roll – 9th through 12th grades every quarter.

Kyle’s community service primarily through the band program at Coral Reef and through a rock-climbing mentorship group he volunteers with on Wednesdays. In band, he is the  drum major and leads the marching band (as well as the jazz band for all events performing at a football games, shows, community parades, or Miami-Dade Public Schools’  function.  He works with a rock-climbing group based out of Xtreme Rock Climbing in West Kendall run by Dr. Gary Lancelotta, Child Psychologist at Baptist Hospital. They meet every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8, where he serves as a mentor, helping boys of elementary and middle school age overcome obstacles in life through physical activity and determination on the climbing walls. The group actually helped him through the grieving process when his sister passed away Merkel Cell Carcinoma during his sophomore year, and, today, he uses his story to help others struggling with the same circumstances.

Kyle received acceptances from Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, and the United States Naval Academy.  He will be attending Harvard with a Naval ROTC Scholarship.

Kyle Dickson

Photo: Kyle Dickson, Scholar Athlete

May 7, 2017 – Palmetto Bay, Florida – American Legion Post 133 in Palmetto Bay hosted the orientation briefing on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

The American Legion Women’s Auxiliary conducted the meeting to inform this year’s delegates, alternates and their parents about what to expect during the trip to Tallahassee and the week’s visit to the state capital.

Irene Lathrop, a Girls State Staff member and Girls State chair for Unit 36, was the orientation presenter, addressing the group and going through the list of forms that needed to be completed. She also offered travel tips and explained the ground rules.

Stacy Cusano, president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 133, participated with other members.

The Florida Girls State program is designed to instill an understanding of the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship and public service.

Each year 300 young women have a chance to learn about America’s democratic form of government through first-hand experience.

This year’s delegates for the Girls State are juniors from Coral Reef Senior High School, are and their respective academy: Elaine Melgareja (International Baccalaureate), Jane Perez (Legal) and Leyana Williams (Business & Finance).

The delegates will arrive at Post 133 very early in the morning of June 7 to board busses that will take them to Tallahassee on a nine-day trip.

There will be more than 35 staff members and six State Troopers accompanying the girls at all times, and they will stay in dormitories on the campus of Florida State University.

The students will form their own city governments, run for office, write bills and attend actual meetings in the State Capitol to observe how things work.

Besides the activities in Tallahassee, the delegates will have a chance to compete for several scholarships that will help with college costs. They will return on June 15.

Girls State 2017

Photo left to right: Jane Perez, Leyana Williams and Elaine Melgareja.

Silver Knight Award Winner

May 17, 2017 – Miami, Florida – Coral Reef Senior High School certainly had an amazing evening at The Silver Knight Awards and keeping the tradition alive. The Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards is one of the nation’s most highly regarded student awards programs. The purpose of this Awards program is to recognize outstanding students who have not only maintained good grades,but have also unselfishly applied their special knowledge and talents to contribute significant service to their schools and communities. The Silver Knight Awards program was instituted at The Miami Herald in 1959 by John S. Knight, past publisher of The Miami Herald, founder and editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and 1968 Pulitzer Prize winner.

Congratulations to Coral Reef Senior High School’s Silver Knight winner, Anderson Leal in the Drama category. Anderson will attend Loyola University New Orleans in the fall. In addition, a very special thank you to Mrs. Kristin Ortiz, Silver Knight Coordinator.

Nominees from all Miami-Dade schools – public, private, and charter are interviewed by a panel of independent judges. Names are not revealed until the Silver Knight Awards ceremony. Each nominee is introduced and receives a certificate. Silver Knights receive $2,000, a Silver Knight statue and a medallion presented by American Airlines. The cash awards are made possible in part by the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Photo of Silver Knight Winner, Anderson Leal