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2017 Girls State

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

May 15, 2017 – Miami, Florida – Congratulations to Coral Reef Senior High School’s graduating senior, Reese Ecklund, in the Engineering Academy.  Reese has been named as a recipient of a competitive National Naval ROTC Scholarship for the University of Michigan. This is a four year scholarship worth $214,884.

Photo: Reese EcklundReese

May 16, 2017 – Miami, Florida – Congratulations to Coral Reef Senior High School’s graduating senior, Adrian Perez, as he was nominated by Ms. Gloria Martin, Guidance Counselor for the Legal and Public Affairs Academy and school personnel to receive the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) Operation Turnaround 2017 Scholarship. KFHA celebrates the success of students who employ winning strategies in their lives that place them on a pathway to academic and social success.  They provide awards, events, mentoring services, college financial-planning information and scholarships to deserving students from the greater Kendall area.

Adrian will attend Miami Dade College in the Fall and plans to major in Business Administration. Adrian was selected because he has exhibited the qualities of resiliency and perseverance through extremely challenging circumstances.  Honoring his father’s dying wish to have his son sent to the United States, to have the opportunity for a better life, Adrian’s mother sent him at age six to Miami, to live with relatives he never met.  Not only was this a new country – with a new family, but he was mourning the loss of his father and missing his mother.  It took time to learn English and adapt to his new surroundings; which did not occur without missteps along the way.  However, with the help of caring teachers and administrators, over time Adrian began to make the adjustment.  He is dependable, respectful, trustworthy, and has performed academically while maintaining a part-time job.  He never complains and the result is that through establishing goals and visions and sheer hard work, he will be the first in his family to graduate from high school. In addition, his mother has not been able to travel to the United States to see her son, and will likely not attend his graduation.

Since 1983, the Kendall Federation Operation Turnaround Scholarship Initiative has sponsored the Operation Turnaround Awards Students’ Luncheon held at Fire Tower.  As a Miami-Dade Public Schools “Dade Partner,” Operation Turnaround honors students from over 43 public schools within the greater Kendall Community every year.

Operation Turnaround is run with a 100% volunteer staff.  High school honorees, plus scholarships and grants for graduating seniors who are headed for college or other post-secondary institutions.

In addition to the scholarship, Adrian received a laptop computer, an internship and a job with Hotwire Communications.  Hotwire Communications is one of the nation’s leading fiber optics telecommunications providers specializing in multi-family communities. Hotwire Communications employs cutting-edge fiber-to-the-home technology in which fiber optic cable serves as the backbone for all of the community’s communications services. Because of this brand-new communication infrastructure, residents at every community they service will enjoy the benefits of a completely upgraded system.

Adrian Perez

Photo: Adrian Perez

May 10, 2017 – Miami, Florida – Each year, 15 Four-Year Florida Prepaid University Tuition Scholarships are awarded to graduating high school students. Coral Reef Senior High School is proud to announce that four graduating seniors are recipients of The Hubert O. Sibley (HOS) Four-Year Florida Prepaid Tuition Scholarship began in 1995.  Since then, South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union has helped hundreds of students attend college.

Congratulations to The 2017 Hubert O. Sibley 4 Year Florida Prepaid University Tuition Scholarship Winners, their academy, and the university they will be attending: Carlos O. Concepcion – Health Sciences; – Florida International University Amanda Grullon – Legal and Public Affairs – University of Central Florida; Brandon Rojas – Business and Finance – Florida International University; and Dianne Miranda – Visual & Performing Arts – Chorus – Florida International University.

As an educational Credit Union, they are proud to assist members by sending some of them to college. The education they receive helps them embark on their chosen profession and provides them with tools they can use throughout life.

To be eligible, seniors or their parent/legal guardian must have had a South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union (SFEFCU) account for at least one year prior to completing the scholarship application. Also, the student applicant must have a SFEFCU primary savings account (a savings account in their own name) by the application deadline.

Credit Union Winners 2017

Photo left to right: Dianne Miranda, Brandon Rojas, and Carlos Concepcion



National Letters of Intent

May 5, 2017 – Miami, Florida – Congratulations to the Class of 2017 student athletes that have signed National Letters of Intent:

  • Samantha Smith, Visual & Performing Arts – Wrestling – Lindenwood University – Belville, Illinois
  • Montana Ligman, Visual & Performing Arts -Soccer- University of Rhode Island, South Kingstown, Rhode Island
  • Brent Holcombe, Agriscience – Basketball – Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Chloe Bedard Khalid, International Baccalaureate – Swimming – Northeastern, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Abigail Chai-Onn, Visual & Performing Arts – Golf – Sienna College, Loudonville, New York
  • Nicholas Korovich, Health Sciences – Baseball – Stratford College, Danville, Virginia
  • Natasha Dacosta, Visual & Performing Arts -Volleyball – Florida National University, Hialeah, Florida

The NCAA manages the daily operations of the National Letter of Intent (NLI) program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) provides governance oversight of the program. Started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions, the program now includes 650 Division I and Division II participating institutions.

The NLI is a voluntary program with regard to both institutions and student-athletes. No prospective student-athlete or parent is required to sign the NLI and no institution is required to join the program.

The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.

  • A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
  • The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).

The penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement: A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.

An important provision of the NLI program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs the NLI. This prohibition requires member institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once an NLI is signed with another institution.

National Letter of Intent 2017Photo attached – left to right: Samantha Smith, Montana Ligman, Brent Holcombe, Nicholas Korovich, and Natasha Dacosta.  Not pictured: Chloe Bedard Khalid and Abigail Chai-Onn


Salute to Education, Inc. Winners

Miami, FloridaApril 19, 2017 – Through a unique partnership with the community in South Florida, the Miami-Dade and Broward County Ford and Lincoln Dealers and Ford Motor Company have awarded over $3.7 million in scholarships to more than 4,300 deserving public and private high school seniors in both counties.

Salute to Education, Inc., established in 1994, is a non-profit organization funded through dealership contributions and corporate support from Ford Motor Company. In addition, the program receives support from a Scholarship Committee composed of Ford and Lincoln dealers and business, educational and civic leaders who take time out of their schedules to judge the scholarship applications.  Community volunteer participation has been an integral part of the campaign’s success.

Congratulations to Juan Garcia  and Anderson Leal as they each received the scholarship in the amount of $1,000 designated only for tuition and other educational at the college/university they will be attending. Juan will be attenFord Saluteding the University of Florida and Anderson will be attending Loyola University – New Orleans.

Scholarship applications are judged based on the following criteria: Community Involvement, Academic Achievement, Demonstrated Leadership, Quality of Character, Life Goals & Interests, Obstacles Overcome, and Meaningful Objectives Achieved.  A special thank you to Ms. Lou Gillman, CAP Advisor at Coral Reef Senior High School as she announced Juan and Anderson, their category and the respective academy – Anderson Leal – ARTS: Performing Arts and Visual Arts  – Drama and Juan Garcia, SCIENCES: Natural Science – International Baccalaureate.

Photo attached: Juan Garcia and Anderson Leal

March 14, 20 1 4 – New York New York – Congratulations to two Coral Reef Senior High School graduating seniors, Nuria Dolphin and Samantha Smith, as they were recognized by The Alliance for You ng Artists & Writers as 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Award National  Medalists. In addition, the school received recognition for leadership, faculty’s efforts, and the school’s dedication to education in the creative arts.  Nuria received a Silver Medal and Samantha received a Silver Medal with Distinction.

National Medalists represent the top I % of submissions to the 2017 Scholastic Awards. This year students submitted 18,800 works of art and writing. About 17,000 submissions received Gold Keys – the top honor at the regional level. Only 2,740 Medals were awarded at the national level!

Hundreds of thousands of young people have been recognized through the Awards since the program began in 1923. Among t hem are some of America’s most respected artistic and literary talents.  Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Lena Dunham. Bernard Malamud, Joyce Maynard, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Pearlstein, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, and Andy Warhol all earned Scholastic Awards as high school students.

All National Medalists are   invited to attend the annual National Events in New York City, with the National Ceremony taking place at Carnegie Hall and a series of student showcase events. Art work and writing from National Medalists will also be featured in the National Exhibition at Parsons School of Design at The New School and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery. The exhibition will be on display J u ne 2 through June 1 2.

March 3, 2017 – Ocala, Florida – Florida Public Service Association (FPSA) members of the Legal and Public Affairs Academy at Coral Reef Senior High School are showing their awards earned during the State Competition. The Honor Guard:  Parmie Dean, Brandon Naranjo, Jordyn Turner, Jayla Burton, Sarah Borrero, Malka Trujillo, and Danieska Lopez and Parliamentary Procedures Team:  Hannah Llende, Jane Perez, Sebastian Ranut, Damon Veras, Emily Olson, Angelica Almanza, and Benjamin Caserta) took First Place.  Angelica Almanza received First Place in CPR, Damon Veras took First Place in Extemporaneous Speaking and Dina Thomas earned a $500.00 scholarship to Johnson and Wales for her Third Place finish in Extemporaneous Opening Statement. Lionel Esperance earned First Place in Obstacle Course and Annabelle Colon won Third Place in Obstacle Course. William Garcia earned Third Place in Prepared SpeakingMax Tamayo, Megan Lichtman, Christian DeLao and Annabelle Colon earned Third Place in Building Search. Thomas Hodgins, Joshua Defreitas and William Garcia earned First Place for the Prison Project.  Other winners include:  Danieska Lopez, Victoria Briz, Daniela Rodriquez, Andres Vargas, Karl Pridemore, Michael Guerra, Dylan Heimer, Annabelle Colon, Malka Trujillo, Angela Olave, Nicole Ramirez, Natalie Boix, Vickie Avalo, and Gaby Hernandez. The team is led by Ms. Tina Cushnie, outstanding Academy Teacher.

Founded in 1990 as the Florida Association of Public Service Students (FAPSS), the Florida Public Service Association, Inc. (FPSA) is a public service driven career technical student organization (CTSO) recognized by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE).

As a CTSO, FPSA provides coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education and careers in the criminal justice, law studies, firefighting, public administration and teaching assisting through career development events.

As an association, FPSA provide students with academic, general employability, problem-solving, technical and occupation-specific skills to meet the demands for a career in public service.

Photo below: Winners with Ms. Marinka Stuvel, Lead Teacher and Mr. Thomas Ennis, Principal



2017 National Merit Finalists

Evanston, Illinois – March 2, 2017 – Seven Coral Reef Senior High School students were among National Merit® Scholarship Corporation’s highest scoring participants in the SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) and are now Finalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Competition. These academically talented high school seniors are: These academically talented high school seniors are: Mahmoud Fahmy, Leila Halley-Wright, Gianni LaVecchia, and Timothy Whiddon from the International Baccalaureate Academy; Daniel Crair from the Health Sciences Academy;  and Dario Amador-Lage and Kyle Dickson from the Visual and Performing Arts Academy.

Beginning in March and continuing to mid-June, NMSC notifies approximately 7,400 Finalists at their home addresses that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship® award. Merit Scholarship awards are of three types:

  • National Merit® $2500 Scholarships

Every Finalist competes for these single payment scholarships, which are awarded on a state-representational basis. Winners are selected without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or major and career plans.

  • Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards

Corporate sponsors designate their awards for children of their employees or members, for residents of a community where a company has operations, or for Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. These scholarships may either be renewable for four years of undergraduate study or one-time awards.

  • College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards

Officials of each sponsor college select winners of their awards from Finalists who have been accepted for admission and have informed NMSC by the published deadlines that the sponsor college or university is their first choice. These awards are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study. The published deadlines for reporting a sponsor college as first choice can be viewed on page 3 of the Requirements and Instructions for Semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit® Scholarship Program.

Merit Scholarship awards are supported by some 440 independent sponsors and by NMSC’s own funds. Sponsor organizations include corporations and businesses, company foundations, professional associations, and colleges and universities.

Photo attached left to right: Daniel Crair; Mr. Thomas Ennis, Principal; Dario, Amador-Lage, Timothy Whiddon, Leila Halley-Wright, Mahmoud Fahmy, Kyle Dickson, and Gianni LaVecchia.