The county-established mandate is teeming with discrepancies in its policy and execution, making it a cause for concern on whether it serves students fairly. PAGE 13
Issue 6, Volume 58
Canadian hockey player Jocelyne Larocque yanked off her silver medal at the Olympic podium, raising questions about the role of sportsmanship. PAGE 22
Caramelo Caramelo offers a variety of one-of-a-kind sweets that can catch anyoneâ€™s eye and serves as a party decor shop and and venue. PAGE 25
Coral Gables SHS 450 Bird Road, Coral Gables, FL 33146
2 preview features
As the school tightens its uniform policy, these tips will make polos and khakis look stylish and unique.
highlights dives into the different Cavalier athletic traditions from Gablettes to badminton.
With testing season approaching quickly, it is time for students to prepare by practicing mindfulness.
The varsity baseball team lost a close game against Westland, their sixth of the season.
news 9 12
A change to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship allows students to fund summer classes.
Satisfy your noodle cravings with the extensive menu available at Miami’s own Ichimi Ramen.
A new academic building is set to be built with the additional $11 miilion for improvements.
Miami’s local charities offer the city’s best and most accessible volunteering opportunities.
As the school year draws to a close, students offer advice to incoming sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
New metro cars prove, yet again, that Miami’s public transportation never fails to disappoint.
ON THE COVER
This issue, highlights covers the aftermath of the shooting at Parkland and takes a look at local, state, and national gun policy. See pages 10, 16 and 28 for the stories.
Following Parkland, concern about gun violence has come to the forefront of the national conversation. highlights analyzes the effectiveness of policy changes and security measures that have recently been implemented.
FIND US ONLINE
Editor-in-Chief Leila Iskandarani Managing Editor Vanessa Vazquez Copy Editor Jack Band Business Manager Amanda Pallas Social Media Manager Audrey Weigel Adviser Melissa Gonzalez Features Sofia Viglucci News Angelle Garcia Opinion Benjamin Estrada Sports Dylan Carol The Scene Natalie Viglucci Insight Alejandra Orozco & Sutton Payne Online Karina Wu
Makayla Bell Tatiana Campos Daniel Cortes Dilan Denham Estelle Erwich Ruben Escobar Sophia Heilman Kevin Monjarrez Thomas Morcillo Savannah Payne Arianna Peña Alejandro Prida Mathilde Requier Cecilia Rodriguez Sara Saliamonas Alexander Sutton Alexandra Torres Mariam Vela Alfredo Wolfermann
contributors Coral Gables Senior High School Brianna de la Osa Laura Vovan
highlights @highlightscghs @highlightscghs
24 What’s your opinion? Send us an email with the subject line “Letter to the Editor” at firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to publish any letters sent to this email.
publication policy highlights is the official student-produced news magazine at Coral Gables Senior High School published and produced by highlights staff members. highlights has been established as a designated public forum for student journalists to educate and inform their readers on issues of concern to their audience and dissemination of news and ideas to the entire school community. As the producer of a scholastic publication, highlights subscribes to the responsibilities set forth in the National Scholastic Press Association Code of Ethics for scholastic journalists and advisers. According to Miami-Dade County School Policy, student media is not subject to prior-review by administration or district personnel and as such, all content is determined by, and reflects the views of, student staff members only. highlights welcomes reader feedback. All letters should be addressed to email@example.com with the subject line “Letter to the Editor.” highlights reserves the right to publish any letters sent to this email.
letter from the editors 3
Dear Reader, W E WOULD BE LYING IF WE TOLD you our fourth and final year as highlights staffers hadn’t come with its fair share of challenges. Somehow, a bird sneaked itself into our first issue (and we may have intentionally slipped a dancing Caillou into a subsequent issue — or did we?); the staff saw an uncomfortably tense faceoff in a culmination of the quarter-zip vs. crewneck debate; and, during those fateful weeks when room 9220 was locked because Gonzo was scoring oral exams, the Editorial Board was forced to conduct interviews on the floor of the 2nd floor hallway. That said, our stint as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor had its moments. Our senior staffers, though undoubtedly burnt out, consistently created awardwinning work. We finally filled the cartoonistshaped hole in our hearts with Danny, whose artistry brought our writers’ words to life. Sara and Savannah managed to get an all-expenses-paid tour of Miami’s toughest food challenges, and, though we were fairly certain Prida had gone missing on a few memorable occasions, he always pulled together well-written Opinion stories, even if he only ever turned in a single draft. Angelle’s bubbly personality never failed to raise the staff’s spirit. A word of advice for next year: “i” before “e,” except after “c.” Sutton’s strange, off-beat clapping to the birthday song has become a permanent fixture in highlights culture (and we owe him a long-overdue thanks for lending us
his house and his dogs). Though Jack’s unparalleled ability to miss deadlines might have caused us a few problems, we hope his fourth year (and fourth position) on the staff is just as enjoyable as the last three. To Natalie and Sofia: highlights has never seen such quality entertainment as your ceaseless bickering. Natalie, though you may have never grown comfortable with InDesign, your knack for writing has proved invaluable. Try to fit us into your Oscars speech twenty years from now (feel free to name a few characters after us, too — we won’t mind). Sofia, your talent for photography has colored the pages of Features beautifully over the last year. U.C. Berkeley (or wherever you’ll go) doesn’t know what’s coming for it. Amanda, we still don’t know what you do, but thank you for doing it. We know highlights wouldn’t exist without you. Ben, your quiet, steady demeanor has been a calming force throughout the year. We’ll be waiting to hear about that Pulitzer. Karina, under your leadership, we’ve finally managed to produce (relatively) consistent online content. Your feistiness, professionalism and creativity will serve you well as The Scene’s editor next year. Similarly, Audrey ushered highlights’ social media presence out of its dark ages, and we can’t thank her enough. To the rest of next year’s editors: get ready. Mathilde and Alexandra, you’ve each grown immensely over the last year, and you
have our full confidence as future Social Media Manager and Co-Online Editor. Kevin, we know you’ll lead Opinion just as well as you lead Kevin’s Korner, if not better. Stay woke. Estelle, your out-of-the-box ideas and passion for storytelling will make Features flourish. Ruben, though we’ve never heard a word come out of your mouth (except on GablesLive!), you’ve made your mark on the staff as a silent-but-deadly reporter and will surely do the same as Business Manager. Tatiana, with your dedication to Sports, you’ll make a fantastic Sports editor. Just remember that there are sports other than softball. Mariam, your writing has been excellent since you first joined the staff, and we know you’ll pass your talents onto future staffers as next year’s Copy Editor. Finally, to Ale and Dylan: it’s all in your hands now. Ale, you’ve managed to create six (five?) incredible layouts for Insight. Your confidence and flair for design will make you an outstanding Managing Editor. Dylan, your writing skills are second to none. We have no doubt that the staff will produce some of its greatest content under its new Editor-inChief; just don’t get too frustrated along the way. Mrs. Gonzalez, we can’t thank you enough for your years-long dedication to highlights. It wouldn’t be the same without you. Never change, highlights. We love you.
Leila Iskandarani EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
highlights editors and writers experiment with a red lens after an enjoyable highlights holiday gift exchange.
Vanessa Vazquez MANAGING EDITOR
highlights is accepting applications Find the link on our Instagram (@highlightscghs) and Twitter (@highlightscghs)
From bland to bright
As the uniform policy strengthens, students search for ways to keep their outfits stylish By Sara Saliamonas, Staff Writer ECENTLY, THE SCHOOL HAS revamped the long-dormant uniform policy. Many students strive to keep their clothing comfortable, stylish and affordable, but when there is a strict uniform code to follow, this can become difficult. There are many ways that students can transform their uniform into a stylish outfit that follows the dress code most students are unaware of. Students incorporate vintage, chic, hip-hop, preppy, bohemian and many other fashion styles into their uniforms. Here are a few options for transforming the average uniform:
For a preppy look, tuck a white polo into a pair of pleated slacks with a black belt. Pair this with a preppy sneaker and a zip-up jacket or blazer. For a bohemian look, sport a pair of bootcut blue jeans and a red polo with booties and a cardigan. Accessorize with long necklaces and earrings. To rock a retro look, try a pair of high-waisted Levi’s blue jeans with a cropped polo to fit the waist of the jeans (make sure no skin is showing and the polo reaches about an inch over the jeans). Wear a pair of black Chuck Taylor’s and a colorful windbreaker. Instagram and other social media platforms offers millions of accounts and blogs, such as clothing store accounts like Urban Outfitters, to stem fashion ideas from for transformed outfits. Check out highlight’s Instagram account, @highlightscghs, for more uniform styling inspiration.
The Polo The polo does not need to have the school logo. Buy any white, black, red, or grey polo that fits your style and comfort. Dri-fit, 100 percent cotton and other breathable materials are acceptable as long as they are the required colors. Varying colors with the days of the week switches up style. Colorful jackets, cardigans and sweatshirts can be worn over the polo to transform your uniform top. Stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army sell used polos, jackets and sweatshirts at very cheap prices and can completely change your closet. Outlet malls like Dolphin Mall also have thousands of clothing store options that sell polos, like Ralph Lauren, for a discounted price.
ighlig onas/h aliam Sara S
Accessorizing your uniform can transform any boring old look. Vintage jewelry from Goodwill, garage sales or other antique/thrift stores can add a glimmer of light to the face and eyes for both guys and girls. Pairing specific necklaces with a polo, like a gold necklace with a black polo, accents the polo.Varying hairstyles with headbands or bandanas throughout the week can change how an outfit looks and prevent a monotonous uniform routine. Funky socks or tights can add a pop of color. Adding pins and stickers to the lanyard of the ID has become a popular trend to personalize the ID. There are hundreds of ways to accessorize the uniform to make it personal and stylish.
The options for bottoms are endless; black or beige skirts and dresses are acceptable. Blue jeans can make any school uniform go from boring to exciting, as there are hundreds of washes and cuts of blue jeans like light and dark wash jeans or skinny jeans and boot cut jeans to choose from. Unique belts and belt buckles can add color to the uniform as well. If blue jeans or pants get boring, dresses and skirts (that reach arm length) are a fashionable choice. Blue jean overalls can be worn with a polo or club shirt (on Fridays only). There are a variety of jeans to fit multiple fashion styles, switching up fashion styles (for example, a preppy style on Monday and a chic style on Tuesday) will also add a pop to daily looks. h
As testing season approaches, highlights explores ways to stay healthy, happy and stress-free By Estelle Erwich, Staff Writer
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-Laura Garcia-Ortiz, Sophomore
-Elias Benedith, Sophomore
“Try to get sleep as much sleep as possible… Divide your time evenly between classes and listen in class so you can retain as much information as possible.”
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DID YOU KNOW? A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 45 percent of all teens have said that they were stressed by pressure from school.
students speak up
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“The best way [to reduce stress] is to be responsible and manage your time correctly. Take the time to study and then have free time so you don’t get stressed.”
Baccalaureate (IB) counselor Nattacha Lezcano, poor mental health practices during this time can take on many forms. “[Students] are not being present in the moment.” Lezcano said. “They’re using headphones, drugs, alcohol or anything else they deem necessary to allow them to escape from being fully present in the here and now. They neglect their mental health during testing season by not being organized and planning their time accordingly, procrastinating and then not sleeping well because they are pulling all-nighters, using stimulants to help keep them awake and alert, and not eating well. All the things that in the end, are counterproductive towards achieving their desired outcome.” The Academy of Communication, Art, and Digital Media (CAF&DM) and
“If you’re under a lot a stress it helps to get out, exercise and take deep breaths. It helps to not overthink the test and avoid the panic.”
and success in the life of a high school student. Though it often ends up at the end of students’ priority list during finals, the practice of mindfulness is imperative for mental clarity, health and success during exam season. The most effective way to prevent stress during testing season is preparation. A lack of planning for busy times can lead to an overwhelming amount of work, and consequently causes spikes in stress and a lack of focus. Neglecting sleep and personal time leads an unfocused, exhausted mindset and a lack of motivation. Of course, many students are left with the consequences of failing to prepare for exam season. For many, disregarding mental health is merely a situation in which the ends justify the means. According to International
S FINAL EXAMS approach, students everywhere begin kicking into cram mode. Sleep and relaxation become an infinitesimal priority as high schoolers immerse themselves into learning, relearning and memorizing material. The competitive culture of the school system forces students to disregard their mental health in their state of panic. This dangerous mindset can lead to uncontrollable stress, mood swings, exhaustion and overall poor mental health. One of the best ways to combat this dangerous practice is through the strict discipline of mindfulness. Mindfulness, the practice of being fully aware of one’s circumstances and mental and physical health and happiness, is instrumental for health
-Amanda Ramos, Junior
as testing season nears, students provide their top tips for mindfulness, mental health , relaxation and organization.
features The academy of Design, Education and Health (DEH) counselor Stephanie Nunez also notes the importance of mindfulness for a young person’s mental health. “As a counselor, I have observed that students struggle with the problem solving and coping skills necessary to work through their feelings of stress amongst other issues. For this reason I believe that mindfulness and access to mental health services is of high importance to high school students… Mindfulness is about observation without criticism and being compassionate with yourself — it’s about being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment — without interpretation or judgment,” Nunez said. Though stressors pile up during testing season, it is imperative to practice mindfulness and emotional management during this tense period. Practical scheduling is a helpful tool, allocating enough time for studying and self care. Nunez also outlined other habits she recommends to students during testing season. “Sometimes it helps to talk to someone when you are feeling stressed. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can help you confront, and make better sense of what may be causing your stress,” Nunez said. “Stay organized using a planner and/or lists, prioritize tasks completing the most urgent and important assignments before moving to the next, breath and take it one day at a time — balance is key!” Regardless of the time of year, however, one of the most influential things a student can do for him or herself is to practice mindfulness on a daily basis. Putting effort into thinking mindfully and living intentionally is essential, according to Lezcano. “Too often, students are distracted by outside influences that may hide or mask what is really going on, rather than taking a good, hard look at what is really causing the problem that is affecting their state of mind and mental health,” Lezcano said. “When one experiences mindfulness it affords the student the ability to be aware of the issue and act upon it to resolve
HALL >> talk The highlights staff records what students are talking about in the hallways during passing
it rather than escaping from it.” P r a c t i c i n g mindfulness can take many forms. Meditation and intentional breathing practices are easy and accessible, thanks to apps like Headspace, which offer guided meditation tutorials. Daily journaling is also a healthy way to recount one’s day and decompress after a stressful scenario. Developing artistic skills and practicing other hobbies are other ways to combat stress. If stress becomes unmanageable and feelings uncontrollable, this could be an indicator of a deeper mental health problem. The next necessary step is confiding in a trustworthy adult or seeing a mental health professional. The school offers various resources for mental wellness, according to Nunez. “Motivational Coaches of America (MCUSA) is a mental health resource available to students at school at no cost. MCUSA addresses topics such as respecting authority, setting and achieving goals, responding assertively rather than aggressively, violence and substance use prevention... Students are also able to request appointments with their school counselor at the main office,” Nunez said. It is important to be focused on the present
Headspace offers guided meditation, which can be focused on stress-relief or other topics and vary length in time to help beginner and advanced meditators alike. Calm encourages its users to make relaxation and mindfulness a daily habit with guided meditation and sleep practices and healthy living tips.
Happily focuses on convenient, five-minute meditation and mindfulness practices that can add relaxation and stress relief to any busy schedule.
Pacifica helps users who battle stress, anxiety and depression through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, guided meditation and mental health help.
“You smell like my favorite soup.” “It was snowing in the freezer yesterday.”
“My dad would be so pissed if I was pregnant with a vampire.”
moment and the task at hand. Allowing tasks to pile on and future stress to build is not only detrimental to mental health, but to the results of tests as well. Preparing and planning to ensure a stable mindset during testing season will allow for students to be calm and collected during testing season, yielding positive results. “Take a good look at what you are doing and fix what you need to in order to achieve the results you are looking for,” Lezcano said. “The more aware you are, the better prepared you will be.” h
BLOCK 2 “I don’t need to watch Nacho Libre to know what jorts are.” “I’m going to a dayjam, can I borrow a burka?” “A fricken french fry is a sandwich!”
A Night to Remember
Students enjoyed themselves at this years’ “Black Tie” prom at the J.W. Marriott in Brickell
Courtesy of CavsConnect
Courtesy of CavsConnect
PARTY AT PROM:
Courtesy of CavsConnect
Seniors Alyssa Lamadriz and Alain Guerra were crowned prom king and queen (top left) while guests took pictures in a photobooth and on the dance ﬂoor.
Guests danced with dates (bottom right) and took selﬁes with their friends while enjoying the buffet provided at prom (top right).
News Briefs By Sophia Heilman & Alfredo Wolfermann, Staff Writers
Improved scholarship fund
RIGHT FUTURES IS A state-funded program which offers scholarships for Florida residents who attend an in-state college based on student’s high school academic achievement. Recently, changes have been made to ensure that the scholarship covers tuition for any public Florida school in full. The scholarship can also be cashed out to be used for a private school for a lesser amount. The program features different award levels depending on a student’s grade point average, test score and number of logged community service hours. In previous years, the program offered up to $3,000 in scholarship money per year, but the “Florida Excellence Act in Higher Education Act” is set to change that. In January 2018, the Florida Senate voted unanimously to make signiﬁcant changes to the state’s current Bright
Futures Scholarship Program. Governor Rick Scott’s signed the bill into law in April and with its approval came $124 million that will be invested into the program, which had previously lost funding due to the recession of the late 2000s. The act plans to expand the impact of the Bright Futures Program by extending the top award to fully cover all tuition. The top scholarship would also cover the majority of schools fees like books. Undergraduates attending one of Florida’s public universities are required to complete nine hours of summer credit. Under the old program, students would not be able to apply Bright Futures money to these credits. Now, these credits are also covered in full. Read the full story on CavsConnect under the highlights tab. h
4/27 4/30 5/22 5/25
Sophomore Treat Day
IB Senior Brunch
5/30 6/7 Graduation
Last day of school Source: CavsConnect
Congratulations Sophomores Johnathan Mesa, Aleksander Aguilar and David Fernandez, and juniors Nikita LeusOliva, Emily Simon, Dylan Carol and Natalia Rodriguez qualiﬁed for Future Business Leaders of America’s national competition at their conference in March Junior John Mark Kellogg and sophomore Kevin Monjarrez received “First Team All-Dade” in soccer and bowling, respectively. Senior Cavan Wilson was named an Academic All-State by the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Trafﬁx App Miami
RAFFIC IS A KNOWN INCONVENIENCE TO all of Miami’s residents. In an attempt to alleviate some of that inconvenience and better facilitate the way trafﬁc effects citizens, Christopher Cohen, a citizen of Coral Gables created the free app “Trafﬁx Coral Gables”. The app was created to ﬁnd an innovative way to help people navigate trafﬁc in different forms of transportation like the trolley or driving and also provide a way for people themselves to report on trafﬁc conditions. Coral Gables Trafﬁx is the ofﬁcial reporting app to let city ofﬁcials know about trafﬁc issues within the City of Coral Gables boundaries. The app is interactive and personalized, giving citizens a way to communicate to the local police and other users of the app about non-emergency trafﬁc issues they experience. The app lists different issues from pedestrian’s problems to rampant speeding in the city, which can then be addressed by the police. Users can take photographs and report recurring trafﬁc issues such as blocking a box, speeding, illegal parking, speeding in a school zone, jaywalking or running red lights and stop signs. The issue can be reported by photo or location. People are advised not to use the app for emergency purposes. Trafﬁx does not replace the 911 service, but it does have responders over the phone. The Trafﬁx App has also been introduced in other metropolitan cities like Chicago and New York. In these cities it has worked to ﬁx some of their most common trafﬁc problems which are comparable to those in Coral Gables. h
MARCH Students, teachers and the community come together to try and put an end to a threat that haunts schools nationwide By Ruben Escobar, Staff Writer
INCE THE SHOOTING AT Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Florida, students at the school have been actively participating in anti-gun violence events, such as marches and walkouts. Although not officially school-sponsored, students were given the opportunity by the school administration to participate in anti-gun demonstrations, such as wearing orange on certain days and taking part in a walkout on Feb. 21. Another anti-gun violence walkout happened on March 14 at 10 a.m., but, this time, instead of standing in front of the Ralph Moore Building, also known as the New Building, like the previous walkout, students walked out onto the track and marched one lap. Then, students lined the edge of the track for a 17-minute-long
moment of silence in honor of the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The walkout concluded with a recital of the school’s alma mater. According to multiple news outlets such as CBS, TIME Magazine, CNN and The New Yorker, the #NeverAgain youth anti-gun movement has begun to build a following. Students all over the country are protesting against gun violence and the National Rifle Association (NRA). Marches and walkouts are not just happening in Florida, there have been demonstrations in all fifty states, like a Colorado school partaking in a 17-minute walkout on Feb. 21, similar to the one that took place at the school. Additionally, all over the school, teachers are beginning to support this youth anti-gun
violence movement. Some teachers are even selling pins to support the families affected by the MSD tragedy. “The fact that there is a student-lead organization really shows that we are a very powerful generation and that we are so dedicated to making change,” junior Sophie Sepehri said after a town hall hosted by students and politicians regarding gun policies in the U.S. During the town hall, they also discussed the threat guns pose for the general public and students in particular. Along with organizing town halls, other students interested in becoming involved in advocacy have created community based organizations for teenagers. “I worked with the Miami-Dade Democratic Party on planning a youth leadership summit
Thomas Morcillo/highlights Morcillo/highlights Thomas
STUDENTS STAND UP: At the Miami March For Our Lives event, students waved posters and gave speeches showing their disapproval for the current gun regulations.
MSD: a timeline
to teach teenagers how to keep the [anti-gun The ﬁeld trip was set to promote youth violence] movement alive and achieve the goals activism and provided students with a shirt and of the movement,” junior Nikita Leus-Oliva a poster that featured the opinions of students said. regarding the issue at hand. Almost 50 students Leus-Oliva, with the support of chemistry from the school attended with signs they had teacher Elizabeth Kiely, plans to start a civic made at a sign-making event. Students from engagement club at the school to continue to all grade levels, with the support of a handful plan events similar to “March For Our Lives” of teachers, marched from Miami Beach High and encourage civic activism in students at School to Collins Park where many elected the school. They hope to have the Political, ofﬁcials and community leaders delivered Activism, and Civil Engagement Club, or speeches advocating for the expansion of gun PACE, running next restriction laws in order to school year. keep the community and Other students KEEP ADVOCATING. schools safe. remain hopeful for a Many prominent leaders ONE OF THE BEAUTIFUL change but are cautious in the community attended ASPECTS OF THIS about the activism to show their support for the TRAGEDY IS HOW MUCH students trying to change taking place. CIVIC ACTIVISM THERE gun laws and regulations “I think it was really honorable to HAS BEEN AMONG YOUNG across the state and nation. protest, because you PEOPLE. THE FUTURE IS There were congressional see that kids care about candidates in attendance YOURS — HIGH SCHOOL as well as Florida State it, but I don’t see the STUDENTS BECOME Senator Annette Taddeo, point of it if nothing’s going to happen after MAYORS. BUT YOU’VE GOT Mayor of Miami Francis this, because the real TO GET ACTIVE. Suarez, Miami Beach mayor change you make by FRANCIS SUAREZ, Philip Levine and ﬁve time doing things, not by GRAMMY-nominee rapper CITY OF MIAMI MAYOR Flo Rida. protesting in your own school. If you want to “It is about time our make a change, you have to start emailing the nation wakes up and recognizes the voice of our government, and contacting politicians,” senior young people. There is no middle ground and as Ginevra Cerreto said. superintendent of Miami Dade County Public Individuals at the school also organized Schools, as a father [and] as a citizen, I stand a ﬁeld trip so that everyone could have an with the young people. They are worth more opportunity to attend the “March for Our than guns, they are worth more than politics and Lives” rally on March 24. During the march, we have to respect them, be with them and love participants chanted “we want gun control” and them,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools held signs with phrases like “protect kids not Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at March guns.” for Our Lives. h
Armed ex-student, Nikolas Cruz killes 17 students and staff members at MSD in Parkland, Fla.
One week after the shooting, one of the ﬁrst nationwide walk-outs and demonstrations takes place involving thousands of schools and universities
The second walk-out happens one month after the tragedy, with many schools standing in solidarity with the students and victims at MSD
Over 900 cities around the world hosted a March for Our Lives event, with the one in Washington, D.C. drawing a crowd of 800,000 people
by the numbers On Feb. 21 more than 2,200 middle and high schools hosted demonstrations in honor of the shooting at MSD As of April 13, 373,657 people signed a March For Our Lives petition pressing for more gun control At the Youth Leadership Summit, 18 politicians signed a pledge to advocate for gun control Source: CNN
Plans drafted for enhancement of campus School administrators acknowledged the need for improvements by introducing a plan to improve the school and construct a new building By Alexander Sutton, Staff Writer
HE SCHOOL HAS AN upcoming appointment for a facelift. Massive-scale renovations to the school have been outlined in plans drafted largely by the school administration, and construction is forecast to begin in early 2019. The school improvement proposal was developed with separate components focusing on the various issues the school faces. The plans are, in part, a response to the outcry which students and teachers have expressed about what they see as the deteriorating condition of the school’s infrastructure. Chief Facilities Ofﬁcer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools Jaime Torrens listed the predominant concerns about the school: peeling paint in buildings six and seven, broken windows and roof leaks throughout the school, faulty plumbing in restrooms and defective air conditioning and electrical systems, among other school concerns. After identifying these issues, Torrens announced that the school board had begun to work with an architect in developing a plan to refurbish the school’s infrastructure and aesthetic quality. The plan’s main focal points are organized into three phases, the ﬁrst of which delineates measures which have already begun to take place. The second phase is where the plan becomes most sizable: it involves the complete demolition of two buildings on campus. Buildings six and seven, which when taken together represent about a quarter of the school’s land space and include parts of the school central to a student’s educational experience — the ﬁnance building, the band, chorus and weight rooms and the old cafeteria — are designated for complete destruction. After these parts of the school have been torn down, another structure, a new two-story classroom building will replace it. This construction is set to begin in the 2018-2019 school year. In addition to the demolition of two very large school buildings, the plan includes designs for a new electrical
vault, as well as a new chiller plant, which runs the school’s air conditioning units. As the ﬁrst phase is less ﬁnancially burdensome and already underway, phase two is the biggest decision made within the renovation plan. The third phase of the school’s plan would represent the largest change in school landscape in several decades: renovation of buildings one, two, three and four as well as the gymnasium. However, no district funding has been allocated towards those structures’ proposed renovations. Though phase three has yet to receive guaranteed funding, phase two is funded from the current General Obligation Bond (GOB) allocation. Currently, $11.2 million dollars have been allocated to the school for facility renovations.
Courtesy of: Coral Gables Senior High School
“The original GOB was $11 million dollars — that’s basically just going to cover the new building. We’re going to need about another $10 million dollars to do the rest of the renovations,” Assistant Principal Joseph Evans said. Many students are weary of the future construction. “I don’t like that there’s going to be construction in the school which will most likely mean that our classrooms are going to be overcrowded and we’re gonna be in a tighter space, which means it’s harder to learn and for teachers to give one-on-one time with the students,” sophomore Vanessa Grau said. Though school renovations could be seen as a hindrance to learning many are optimistic that the renovations will ultimately impact the school in a positive way. h
MAKEOVER MONEY: Top: The proposed apperance of the newly designed academic building are shown along with the blueprints of where the new building is going to be located on campus (bottom).
The district’s attendance policy should be evaluated in order to better serve students
or more cumulative class absences in an annual course
or more cumulative class absences in a semester course
may result in a student having their quarterly, semester or final grade(s) withheld pending further approval from the Attendance Review Committee. Furthermore, a student who accumulates:
unexcused class absences
will be barred from participating in interscholastic competitions or performances for the remainder of the school year. Source: MIami-Dade County Public Schools Student Attendance Reporting Procedures Handbook
HE 10/20 ATTENDANCE rule is a district-established mandate that states students who reach ten absences or twenty tardies over the course of one school year will be exempt from extracurricular activities, such as class trips. Although it sounds reasonable and even sensible on paper, the 10/20 rule is full of too many discrepancies and nuances in not only its requisites, but its enforcement as well, making it grounds for vast modification. There are many situations that merit flexibility in terms of school attendance, and rather than make a judgement on the validity of a student’s absences on baseless district regulations, administration should view cases holistically. Students can usually excuse their absences with a parent or doctor’s note. However, once a student attains nine absences, they are no longer allowed to excuse any more thereafter, even if they have verifiable proof that they had a health issue. This aspect of the rule alone marginalizes students who suffer from any multitude of diseases or mental illnesses, and inhibits them from participating in pivotal high school experiences with their peers, through no fault of their own.
Another pitfall of the 10/20 rule is that it applies to both excused and unexcused absences. This means that even if one goes through the process of acquiring and presenting official documentation like doctor’s notes, they will be penalized regardless of the legitimacy of their excuse. In terms of administrative review and punishment, excused and unexcused absences carry the same weight, bunching together students who have genuine personal or medical problems and those who do not. If a student is consecutively ill or has a clear emergency any time throughout the year, the rule should not punish them, but rather mold itself to fit their needs on a case-by-case basis. Such a case is experiencing a death in the family, which only allows for three consecutive absences. Even though the rule is often unenforced, putting a timeline on students’ grieving is simply inhumane and one of the many vacuous aspects of the district’s attendance policy. Students have the opportunity to appeal their absences by submitting a lengthy essay explaining their situation or circumstances that provoked them to be absent from school, but the appealment
Compiled by Benjamin Estrada
process in itself is biased and flawed. Collectively, administrators have not come to a consensus on what meets the criteria for appealing students’ absences, so the request to appeal may or may not be accepted, depending on the administrator or office personnel one happens to discuss appealment with. An additional prominent issue with the 10/20 rule is the fact that the intricacies and loopholes within it, like the appealment process, are not publicized properly. It is unfair for administration to try to enforce a policy as complex as this one without explicitly and consistently informing students what the policy entails first. Establishing a clear line of communication between administrators, teachers and students in terms of what is to be expected in regards to attendance and the consequences certain actions would evoke is something that seems to be a given, but has not actually been enacted yet. In order to avoid unjustly punishing students and to better accomodate their needs, the 10/20 rule should either be expanded with adjustments or include solely unexcused absences and tardies, rather than excused ones as well. h
from the way out
After another year of growth and learning, highlights members at every level offer insight on how to take advantage of next year
Seniors Commentary by Vanessa Vazquez, Managing Editor CAN’T wait to get out of
Gables. The latter rings especially true when being a Cavalier. The CAP office and your counselors here.” are a blessing and a curse. Use them to This is what I your advantage, but do not get frustrated thought to myself when you have to make the long walk in the time leading up to senior year. to the Main Office multiple times to get However, as talks of graduation surfaced, a hold of someone. When frustrated — it hit me that I will be leaving behind and you will be — do not be afraid to tell my support system, my dog and every someone. If there is anything I regret, it person that has influenced me. So here is taking too long to voice my concerns is my advice for to my teachers and you soon-to-be friends. crowned seniors: “I FEEL LIKE I’VE DONE The majority be thankful, be MY TIME HERE AT of you will not mindful and know what you GABLES AND I FEEL LIKE will be doing prepare for the emotional I JUST WANT TO GO OUT until post-high rollercoaster that school, so take INTO THE WORLD AND awaits you. advantage of GET STARTED ON MY Miami throughout Senior year starts off hard CAREER.” the year. Wake with college ANAMARIE DEL up to see the sun applications rise over Key AMO, SENIOR Biscayne and eat being the number one culprit. To at the Denny’s on remedy this, do everything during the Miracle Mile after 2 a.m. a few more school day. Do homework as soon as it times than needed. is assigned, take advantage of time in Above all, talk to your parents. If class and skip your daily nap every once you do not want to go to college, do not in a while. This year has taught me two wait until May to tell them. If you want important things: the more I do during to leave Miami for college, tell them the day the easier it will be to sleep at now. Whatever it is you want, include night and you are not alone here at your parents in the conversation. Your
family wants what is best for you; spend extra time with them when you can before embarking on your journey as an adult. Be smart about your spending and saving next year. Without a doubt, senior year is the most expensive year of high school. If you can get a part-time job, it will help make senior year more enjoyable. With the extra cash you can go on field trips with the school; Grad Bash is a trip with friends you will never forget, to say the least. Moreover, do not skip out on senior activities out of laziness. Stand in line for the delicious sundae, and fill out the form for Senior Picnic. These are symbols of hard work. Lastly, be honest with yourself. There are many options that lead to successful lives. Consider community college to save up some money, or go straight into the workforce if your desired profession does not require a degree. If you do not feel ready for college, or just want a chance to take a break, consider taking a gap year and traveling. Do not hesitate to reach out to past seniors and ask them about gap years or skipping college if you are unsure about what is right for you. Senior year has its perks and its rough parts, but remember that senior year is not the end— it is just the beginning. h
Juniors Commentary by Audrey Weigel, Social Media Manager
JUNIOR YEAR IS THE LAST YEAR TO COMPLETELY GET INVOLVED WITH CLUBS AND MAYBE EVEN APPLY FOR A LEADERSHIP POSITION FOR YOUR SENIOR YEAR.
ig We rey Aud
- Mary Vidal, junior
HE MOST IMPORTANT YEAR for the future is beginning: junior year. You should develop stronger relationships with peers and teachers, improve organization skills, be more active in community service organizations and seek internships. Socially, this is the year where I learned who my real friends are. Spending time with them was crucial to managing stress. The best way to work through all the internal conflicts I was facing was through doing homework, ranting and going out with them. Do not undervalue their role in your life. Friends serve as motivators to influence you to step outside your comfort zone. As an upperclassman, I found it essential to have strong organization skills. I was aware of the responsibilities I had been in charge of managing beforehand, and I was able to manage my sleep and school schedule better. Maintaining two calendars was my greatest aid; I would import all my
class assignments and meetings into a physical agenda and another on my computer. I also learned which study methods worked best for me, another skill that proved useful as most of my grades were based on tests. Get involved with a community service organization this summer or find local internships. Businesses will sometimes recruit high schoolers that show maturity and initiative. On the other hand, if you have decided that the traditional four-year college experience is not the path that you want to take, begin researching the possibility of a gap year or other alternatives. Junior year differs from all of the other years because it is full of social activities, is the most important for extracurricular board positions, and requires focusing on academics and looking into summer programs. h
Commentary by Makayla Bell, Staff Writer RESHMAN year is over and summer days are near. But sophomore year is closer than it seems and you must prepare for what is to come. Now that the school is no longer the maze it used to be, it is time to get involved. With a growing accumulation of responsibility and work, taking part in extracurriculars will make sophomore year more enjoyable. Now is the perfect time to immerse yourself into all things Gables. If you have always wanted to be a cheerleader, president of the debate club or run on the track, sophomore year is the time to join and, if possible, work your way up. Consider the clubs you joined freshman year and decide on which ones you are truly passionate about, as these will be the ones you focus your time and energy on next year. However, do not be afraid to try something new if you remain unsure.
Given the surplus amount of leisure time and all the new extracurricular activities, meeting new people and forming stronger bonds is bound to happen. Use a club as an excuse to go out with fellow members and bask in the increased freedom you might enjoy. With all that fun, you must not neglect the importance of academics. Sophomore year comes with a significantly heavier workload, including increasingly difficult courses and a more rigorous testing season. Luckily, sophomore year is the perfect year to practice balancing your extracurriculars and academic life with tactics like starting assignments early. Overall, remember that sophomore year is about making a name for yourself and finding your niche at the school, with the help of extracurriculars. Combine what you excel in with what you enjoy and as cliché as it sounds, just have fun. Appreciate the free time sophomore year allows and try not to stress the small things. Enjoy it while it lasts. h
START STUDYING HARD FOR THE SAT AND GET GOOD GRADES BECAUSE SOPHOMORE YEAR IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT YEARS IN HIGH SCHOOL.
- Lorenzo Balvedi, sophomore
TWO VIEWS: Gun violence
As guns continue to be an issue in the United States, so does the search for a viable solution Commentary by Jack Band, Copy Editor MERICAN citizens a c r o s s the country have stood up in protest, angered by the repetitive failure of the American government to keep such powerful semi-automatic weapons out of the hands of mentally unfit owners. It is no secret that more gun regulation is required. Realistically, the nationwide regulation of specific weapons and modifications for such weapons is impossible and misguided in its purpose. The real objective should lie with mental health and increased regulation on the basis of purchasing such weapons. Every year, more than 33,000 people are shot and killed in the United States. It is widely believed that this indicates patterns of rampant homicide and mass shootings across the country; however, according to FiveThirtyEight, roughly two-thirds of gun deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to self-harm or suicide. This fact is unbelievably daunting. Not only because of the terrifying quantity of suicides being committed, but how they are being committed. While it
is unfortunate, this makes the gun problem in America abundantly more complicated. Firearms have been accessible for centuries. In the U.S., they are considered household commodities to many. The idea of the U.S. government implementing a recall of all guns, or any guns for that matter, is ludicrous. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are more than 300 million guns in circulation throughout the U.S., meaning that taking away all guns would be equivalent to taking away all cars. While extreme, the impossibility of a nationwide recall is blatantly apparent. This begs the question: what about a ban on solely assault weapons and assault modifications? While the argument for a ban on assault weapons, or weapon modifications that can convert normal guns into assault rifles, is well-founded, it does not improve the problem. Currently, weapon modifications can be made anywhere with a 3-D printer or homemade construction. The accessibility of such resources immediately discredits any policy which provides that a ban on the sale of such accessories defeats the
Student polls 64% 54%
Out of 374 students surveyed:
Of students believe that firearms are necessary in the united states
80% Compiled by Benjamin Estrada
chance of a mass shooting occurring. Therefore, lawmakers must find ways to implement stricter controls on how weapon modification information is made available and who can access it. Such information should be kept out of the reach of the general public. Right now, in most states, an 18-year-old can walk into a store and walk out with a military-grade weapon, despite not being able to purchase many other items that are considered less lethal. Florida has recently raised the age of which one can purchase a firearm to 21, and the rest of the nation should follow. Allocating more attention to the age requirement would be a more comprehensive solution, serving as a first step to further regulations in the future. Moreover, the screening process by which the government judges the capability of an American to safely own and operate a gun must be enhanced and revised in order to better screen for mental health and other factors. If America hopes to ameliorate gun violence across the nation, they must redirect their arguments towards the process by which the purveyors of crime obtain the weapons, rather than the lethatlity of the weapons. h
Of students believe that retail stores should carry and sell guns
OF Students view bans and restrictions on gun modifications as constitutional
BY THE NUMBERS
7 OUT OF 96
percent of americans have a gun in their home
PEOPLE KLLED DAILY BY GUN VIOLENCE IN THE u.S. ARE UNDER 19 YEARS OLD
Two Daniel Cortes/highlights
Compiled by Benjamin Estrada
Gun Violence injuries are sustained per every gun violence death in the U.S.
gUN SALES HAVE BEEN STOPPED BY BACKGROUND CHECKS Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gallup
Commentary by Dilan Denham, Staff Writer NE LONGrunning and impassioned debate in American politics exists on the topic of gun control. There is a major rift separating the most often cited viewpoints on the issue. More comprehensive background checks, combined with lesser retail availability and higher personal accountability may help alleviate the gun issue. Those on the right-wing favor looser restrictions on guns than their left-wing counterparts, and few policy makers seem to be able to reconcile the two sides into constructive debates that yield favorable results. Neither side will concede in the slightest to other’s viewpoints, leaving the implementation of useful policy by the wayside. Despite their stubbornness, the left makes a more prudent argument that would do wonders in a time when gun related tragedies are virtually commonplace. There have been 19 mass shootings in the U.S. since 2010 each leading to the deaths of at least three, and as many as 50, victims. In each, these rates are extreme, but become slightly more understandable given that there are
more than 300 million guns in the U.S., which is almost the same as the U.S. population of 325 million. Their widespread ownership is due in no small part to the ease of access to firearms in the U.S. Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods are examples of retailers that sell guns and ammunition. Although these businesses have taken measures to make the sale of weapons more regulated, the fact that they are even available in the first place is an issue. Guns are, of course, not solely responsible for death. However, their overwhelming presence is difficult to understate when incessant violence has become part of the news cycle. The mass scale production and selling of guns in America make it so that virtually anyone can manage to buy a gun. One solution could be very strict gun laws, including a limit on the number of guns a person can buy. Yet, many opponents of gun control policy claim that limiting access to firearms will cause an increase in crime rates and make the public generally less safe, as their presence serves as a deterrent to would-be criminals. These arguments fail to account for the many countries where strict gun
laws are in place, and violent crime rates are lower than that in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, England and Japan are just a few examples. Japan, for instance, has one of the lowest rate of homicides committed with a gun per 100,000 of its population at 0.01 compared to the U.S. at 2.97. The reason being that to get access to weapons, one must obtain formal instruction and pass a battery of written, mental and drug tests and a rigorous background check. Then, owners must inform the authorities of how their weapons and ammunition are stored and submit to annual inspections. Although these Japanese standards might seem excessive, they prevent thousands of firearm murders from happening every year. If executed in the U.S., this would likely lower the number of homicides committed with a firearm. While it remains in the public’s consciousness, gun control debates among lawmakers are often rare and do not lead to progress due to the staunch viewpoints held by the opposing political parties. Even more difficult is the enactment of gun policy, which has only recently changed in Florida. Views aside, it is important we keep gun control in the public dialogue. h
The Miami metrofail
New metro cars have diminished important cultural heritage from the city’s transit system Satirical Commentary by Kevin Monjarrez, Staff Writer
cushions and plush was too luxurious a commodity to afford, forcing metro users to ride in eternal discomfort in what seems like the transit world’s equivalent of the underworld, treating users like savages. The absence of proper seats also denies users adequate lumbar support, gravely damaging their lower backs. This is especially problematic for the youth, whose backs are still developing, putting them at risk for scoliosis, back strain and even herpes. Although it seems impossible to make decisions more flawed than omitting cushioned seating, MDC decided once again to shatter the world’s expectations, following through on what should be its motto: “overpromising and under delivering since 1836.” For one, the main purpose of introducing metro cars with new technology— the bike rack, for instance — was to reduce delays which allegedly outraged passengers. What MDC ignored, however, is the overwhelming majority of people who value the time that delays provide, using it to bond with their fellow metro-goers. In an attempt to erase culture and harm the children, Miami-Dade Transit had also made the poor decision of implementing “easier to clean materials.” This change will likely mark the extinction of metro murals, commonly dubbed “graffiti.” This erasure of an essential part of metro culture will cement Miami-Dade as a cultural wasteland. Furthermore, the introduction of easy to clean materials will likely drastically reduce the availability of free candy and gum on metro cars. This will not only starve the hungry but also contribute to the growing issue of malnutrition among children, further cementing Dade Transit’s hatred toward children. Miami-Dade Transit has a history of making poor decisions, but they pale in comparison to the atrocities committed with the introduction of new metro cars. The actions taken to “improve” the metro-rail have undoubtedly called
into question whether it was worth undertaking the project to replace metro cars, even despite the inclusion of the modern marvel that is the bike rack. Although Dade-Transit purportedly tries its best, it has once again betrayed the trust of its ever loyal transit users, and will likely continue to do so until the end of time. h
AST MAY, M i a m i D a d e County (MDC) made a promise to the fair and hopeful patrons of the Miami Metrorail — a promise that would guarantee better service and bring modern technology, namely bike racks, to the old metro-rail, which had not received a new car in over 30 years. No longer would passengers be plagued by old and decrepit cars. No longer would they be both disappointed and unsafe due to a lack of security cameras. Needless to say, transit users were metro-moved by this proposal. However, since last November, when the first new metro car was brought into service, the light at the end of the tunnel dimmed considerably, as the situation shifted from hopeful to dire. As new metro cars are continually being put into circulation, it has become evident that the county did actually deliver on most of its promises. It implemented bike racks, computerized announcements, easier-to-clean materials and more. Unfortunately, instead of fixing problems directly, MDC prefers to play a game of transit whack-a-mole, creating new problems in the process of addressing old ones. Our benefactors at the department of transportation continually ignore basic needs in favor of trivial pursuits like functioning air conditioning systems, bringing into question whether the metro cars introduced any real improvement. The greatest basic need ignored by MDC has been the lack of proper, comfortable cushioned seating, which can only be seen as irresponsible and degrading. “When I hop on the new metro car, I feel insulted,” sophomore Chris Brazda said. “I find it extremely hard to believe that they forgot to implement such a basic change.” With the county’s high and mighty $350 million budget, it seems that soft
Irene Martinez: blades of glory
Skating her way into the spotlight, Martinez is excelling in an unfamiliar sport in South Florida By Alexandra Torres, Staff Writer
HEN SHE WAS YOUNGER, freshman Irene Martinez would sit in front of her television every day to watch Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner glide across the ice. She looked up to them, hoping that one day, it would be her on the ice. Though it was always one of her favorite sports, Martinez never actually considered ice skating until three years ago when she went ice skating with a group of friends. “I think I had sort of forgotten how much I love ice skating, and actually doing it in real life instead of just watching it on TV made me realize that it’s definitely what I was meant to do,” Martinez said. “After my re-encounter with ice skating, I immediately started taking lessons and haven’t stopped since.” Although she is fairly new to ice skating, Martinez is one of the best in her level, freeskate three, which follows eight beginner levels and two intermediate levels. She plans to continue skating throughout college and hopes to make it to the Olympics, following in the footsteps of Wagner and Gold. According to Martinez, Wagner and Gold are her main sources of motivation due to the many obstacles they have both overcome to achieve success. They have shown her that if she pursues a career in a sport she loves, then she has the power to succeed. Before starting ice skating, Martinez tried her hand at a variety of sports — soccer, volleyball and track and field, among others — but still felt that there was something missing. She always yearned for a sport that combined both the artistry that she loves about dance and the athleticism she loves about the sports she previously attempted. When she stumbled upon ice skating, she knew she had
finally found her sport. “To me, ice skating is different from other sports because it’s not just the athletic part that you need to work on, it’s also the artistic part. You have to be able to perform really difficult moves while still maintaining your grace and composure,” Martinez said. “I love that skating allows me to express myself and that I’m constantly learning new techniques.” Martinez’s average practices range from four to five hours in length. She warms up and goes through her routine while her coach, Margarita Tyler, gives her suggestions on how to improve her technique. Then, she practices jumps and spins in order to prepare for the upcoming competition season. Martinez’s most difficult jump is the salchow, in which the skater takes off on one foot, spins 360 degrees and lands on the opposite foot. She learned this jump only recently after months of practice, but is already incorporating it into her routine for the upcoming competition season. “It’s impressive how much Irene has learned in only three years of skating. She’s definitely one of my better skaters, and most of the other skaters have been practicing for more than five years,” Tyler said. “Every time she comes into practice she has an enormous smile on her face and is always ready to learn.” Though she has attended a very small number of competitions, she has excelled in all of them — placing first or second every time — and hopes to continue doing as well as she has in the past. “[Ice skating] has taught me how to keep going after being defeated, making me a stronger person both physically and mentally,” Martinez said. h Alexandra Torres /highlights
Teeming with tradition
highlights looks into some of the traditions behind Cavalier athletics By Savannah Payne, Staff Writer
gablettes Since 1975, Gablettes has been a team rich with traditions. From their white shoes and slouch socks to their checkered vests and red bows, the Gablettes hold themselves to a high standard. Gablettes was founded as a kick team, and has remained to this day a team with a heart of high kicks. Starting with kicking at football games, Gablettes has evolved into a fiercely competitive National Champion kick team, while still maintaining the basis of their traditional style of dance. Gablettes also competes in the team performance category, which is a combinations of hip hop, jazz, pom and high kick. The team traditionally finishes off the team performance dance with high kick, to highlight their specialty. “I think that the traditions that are implemented on the team gives everybody a sense of family and unison,” dance teacher and Gablettes coach Veronica Montes said. The “Are you from Gables?” performance is a traditional kick sequence that Gablettes
perform along with the band and cheerleaders at the football games when the school scores a touchdown. The Gablettes line up for the sequence and end in a jump split, in which the dancers leap into the air and land in a right split. The kick sequence is so embedded in the tradition of the team, that alumni are commonly spotted on the sidelines at football games mimicking the Gablette dancers kicking “Are you from Gables?” after a touchdown. On Senior Night, which is typically the last home football game in the regular season in which the Gablettes perform, the senior Gablettes kick to “Are you from Gables?” and receive a shiny senior Gablette jacket, a culmination of their four years on the team. They are supported by family and friends who come to watch them and traditionally wear the jacket as alumni when they return to see the team. “The whole team is watching them on the track for the last time,” junior lieutenant Julia Andrada said.
Juniors Cathereine Otano and Caitlyn Quartas and senior Alisa Sanchez perform their traditional high kick.
girls soccer The girls varsity soccer team has a pre-game tradition that inspires a sense of unity and camaraderie on the field. The entire team huddles into a circle and yell the traditional “Gables on three! Gables on three! One, two, three, Gables!” Then, the 11 starting players make their way to the field and form a second circle. They press their palms together to create a stronger connection between them and gear up for the next 90 minutes on the field. The first person to speak in the circle states the date of the game. Then, going around the rest of the circle, each starting player contributes their goal for the game. The final team member in the circle always concludes by saying “no injuries.” The huddle ends with a clap of solidarity among the players
that breaks the circle up as they make their way to their starting positions and prepare to take on the challenges the game will present. “It solidifies what everyone wants from the game and creates a common goal,” senior and girls soccer team captain Brianna de la Osa said. de la Osa said that the tradition has been in place since she was a freshman on the varsity team. She wants the tradition to continue after she and the rest of the senior soccer players graduate. She hopes it will help the team connect with new members next year, and foster team chemistry. “I do not think we would be as likeminded on the field if we didn’t do that before each game,” de la Osa said.
Courtesy of Brianna de La Osa
The girls varsity soccer team gathers for a pre-game circle to share team goal.
The badminton team celebrates their district tournament with ice cream from Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream.
The badminton team has a traditional trip to The Big Cheese and Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream in South Miami following their annual district tournament. This year, the badminton team competed at the Greater Miami Athletic Conference District Tournament (GMAC) on April 4, and returned to the two venues in order to continue their age-old tradition. The team eats to celebrate their time at Districts, whether it be a win or a loss. A large slice of pizza and ice cream can serve as both a victory meal and comfort food in the case of a loss. “Without its traditions, [the team] would only be a shell of its former self,” senior and badminton team captain Robert DeDonatis said. At Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, the team takes on the Great Wall of Ice Cream Challenge in groups. The monster challenge consists of a 12-flavored mountain
of over 24 scoops of ice cream, decorated with an assortment of various toppings. The team has attempted to conquer the great wall after their tournament several times, and in 2016, the team was even featured inside of the ice cream shop on the “Wall of Fame.” “I think [the tradition] really brings the team together… everyone can bond over ice cream,” DeDonatis said. The team takes part in the ice cream challenge after eating a full meal at The Big Cheese, an Italian restaurant serving gigantic portions of pizza, pasta, subs and salads. Although filling, the meal prior to the ice cream challenge has not yet hindered them from accomplishing the “Great Wall” after their district competitions. This year, the team successfully conquered the ice cream challenge after filling their stomachs with Italian food after a successful h trip to the GMACs.
Sportsmanship wanes at the Winter Olympics, setting a bad example for athletes at every level Commentary by Tatiana Campos, Staff Writer it was unacceptable at the Olympic level. Though each sports each organization has its specific guidelines for sportsmanship, the term is generally defined as “fair and generous behavior or treatment of others in a sports contest.” These core values of sportsmanship are enforced early on in an individual’s athletic career — children are taught to respect one another, win or lose. So, any act of poor sportsmanship at any competitive level, especially the Olympic level, is petty and pathetic. Larocque is one example of many athletes who have disrespected this code of conduct. It seems that these athletes too often forget that their acts of poor sportsmanship not only reflect poorly on themselves, but on the team and its fans. As a fan, it is upsetting to witness players displaying acrimonious tempers just because of a loss. As for the younger viewers who often look up to these players, it sets a terrible example for how they should act when playing sports. At the high school level, the same sportsmanship guidelines are enforced by coaches and faculty, for many student athletes, high school is
students speak up
GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP IS NOT LETTING YOUR PRIDE COME IN THE WAY NO MATTER IF IT IS A WIN OR A LOSS. I’VE TAKEN QUITE A BIT OF LOSSES YOU CAN’T ACT LIKE IT REALLY AFFECTS t gh hli YOU, AT LEAST NOT g i h os / Tatiana Camp IN FRONT OF EVERYONE ELSE.
-Gabriela Morales, Junior
their last opportunity to participate competitively in any sport. To make the most of their time left, it is imperative that athletes adhere to these guidelines. The United In fact, in order to participate in any States sport for Miami-Dade Public Schools, women’s students must sign the Student-Athlete Contract, a set of fifteen hockey team Sportsmanship rules that serve as the sportsmanship had not won guidelines in the county. the gold For the most part, it seems that the medal in 20 lack of sportsmanship is not an issue years, with arising from the institutions, but rather an issue arising from the athletes’ individual their last win attitudes. Therefore, Larocque’s actions, coming in among other acts of bad sportsmanship, 1998. should not overshadow the respect that Source: ESPN. other athletes have demonstrated for com their respective sports. For example, in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and the U.S.’s Abbey D’Agostino collided with each other while running the 5,000 meter heat. D’Agostino fell and injured her leg, unable to get up. Hamblin helped her opponent and they finished the race together. Actions like these demonstrate how athletes should conduct themselves in high school and beyond. h
DID YOU KNOW?
IT’S NOT JUST FOR HERSELF IT’S FOR THE ENTIRE CANADA[...]GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP IS BEING NICE TO YOUR TEAMMATES, NOT GETTING INTO FIGHTS AND l igh h / s SUPPORTING OTHER po Cam Tatiana PLAYERS EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT IN YOUR TEAM. ig ht s
HE 2018 Pyeongchang W i n t e r Olympics featured a series of memorable moments: North Korea and South Korea took amicable measures and marched together under one flag in the opening ceremonies, the Nigerian bobsled team became the first African female competitors to participate in any Winter Olympics and Chloe Kim, at age 17, became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in snowboarding. However, the event that perhaps captured the most attention was the U.S. women’s hockey olympic win against Canada. After losing the gold medal match, Canadian defensemen Jocelyn Larocque yanked off her silver medal after it was placed around her neck. Larocque’s actions were promptly spread across social media and she was heavily criticized for her lack of sportsmanship on one of the largest sporting stages in the world. Her choice not to wear her silver medal may have not been one of the worst acts of poor sportsmanship, but
-Christopher Aruaz, Sophomore
Cavs fall to Westland Wildcats
The varsity baseball team dropped a hard fought game to Westland in heartbreaking fashion By Mathilde Requier, Staff Writer
N MARCH 21, THE CORAL Gables Cavaliers and the Westland Wildcats prepared for a tough game. Ambitious after having won against them 6-5 last year, the Cavs expected a hard fought game, an expectation that became a reality early on. In the end, the Wildcats won the game 7-6, putting the Cavaliers’ record at eight wins, six losses and one tie as of April. 6. Upon starting the game, the team put out their best defense. With strong sophomore pitcher Louis Marcantonio, the team was laying the groundwork for a victory. In the second inning, senior first baseman Juan Osorio hit a solo home run to open the scoring. Cavaliers rushed out of the dugout to shake hands with Osorio, a Cavalier ritual. “As soon as he hit the ball off the bat, we knew that it was going out. That ball was gone and it was a home run,” senior infielder Brenden Reyes said. As the game advanced, pressure and tension increased. The Wildcats made headway as senior first baseman Gian Munoz and senior outfielder Gilberto
Diaz scored runs. Their cheering from the dugout boosted the team’s confidence, resulting in an elevated level of play. But even as the Wildcats stepped up their game, the Cavaliers maintained their gameplay. The team kept the score close, often tying or going ahead by one run. The game remained close late, until Osorio once again scored a run, tying it up 6-6 at the end of the sixth inning. Some significant errors contributed to the team’s defeat. Despite Osorio’s play, a number of defensive errors at key points of the game proved to be the roadblock for a Cavalier victory. “We did fine but one of the mistakes I remember was from [Nicholas Montes]. He got a groundball and instead of firing it to first he punt faked it and the runner was safe,” freshman pitcher Christian Olazabal said. During the top of the fifth inning, an errant pitch from Olazabal resulted in a walk for the Wildcat catcher, who, later in the inning, scored a run for
Senior Harrison Stampler hits a line drive into the outfield for a hit.
the Wildcats. As the game drew to a close, the players and spectators alike grew restless. A single run proved to be the difference between coming home to a loss or a win. As the top of the seventh inning proceeded, Wildcat right fielder Ronaldo Martinez scored a run that would ultimately lead to a win for the Westland High School Wildcats. The Cavaliers will continue to play their way to playoffs, expecting to bring home some major wins for the school on their quest for a district championship and beyond. h
24 the scene
Ramen Ready Get your ramen on
By Karina Wu, Editor
“Spicy Shrimp” for $12 and “Scallion Pancakes” for $6. “Tonkotsu Wonton Ramen,” which includes chicken wonton, a hanjuku egg, tokana, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and pepper strings for $15, stands as the most popular dish among locals. Other classics include the “Summer Thai Ramen” and the “Garden” along with Ichimi’s special, “Ramen of the Day,” which each cost $14. “The ramen is your prime traditional Japanese comfort food and Ichimi takes it and adds their own twist to it,” junior Allison Chan said. “My favorite food has to be the Tonkotsu Wonton Ramen… I love how they serve savory wontons with the noodles and broth because of the richness that it gives.” The fresh, steaming noodles and savory broth along with the contemporary ambiance make this Asian delicacy worth every bite. h
KALEIDOSCOPE OF Saké bottles line the bartop, which overlooks the booming Miami nightlife brimming with party-goers and tourists alike. A quick turn of the head reveals the hand-painted Ichimi banner and intricate duocolored graffiti painted across the left wall. Ichimi Ramen, a small Japanese joint that serves authentic ramen and izakaya — Japanese for quick and easy — meals, adds a cultural touch to the streets of Coral Gables. “We make sure that everyone who comes here, all of our regulars, newcomers… really know what Ichimi is about. Our name, Ichimi, means ‘one of a kind’ because we give a one of a kind experience,” server Joan Vega said. Located at 2330 Salzedo St., the hip atmosphere along with the traditional dishes on the menu make Ichimi Ramen stand out among locals as a good find for Asian cuisine. Founded three years ago, Ichimi Ramen is one of the only establishments in Miami to serve authentic ramen with freshly made noodles and home-cooked broth. The leather benches, dim lighting and polished bamboo tables add to the urban ambience that make Ichimi Ramen unique. “The techno-alternative beats playing throughout the establishment really added to the modern vibe of the joint. The servers were all really kind and cheerful,” junior Brianna Curran said. “It’s sometimes difficult for me to eat out because I follow a plant-based diet but the service was accommodating and able to point me in the right direction towards what I should try, and answered all my questions.” Their menu consists of four main sections: izakaya, ramen, gyozas and buns. Izakaya lives up to its name in Ichimi, offering bites such as “Uni Taco” for $14,
The Tonkotsu Ramen bowl serves as Ichimi’s most popular dish for only $15. Blending modern and traditional, Ichimi creates Asian masterpieces.
the scene 25
South Miami Sweet Spot
Caramelo Caramelo offers unique twists on candies and chocolates and a welcoming environment to customers
By Cecilia Rodriguez, Staff Writer
OCATED IN THE RIVIERA Plaza at 1560 South Dixie Highway, Caramelo Caramelo’s colorful décor immediately distinguishes the store from those surrounding it. Though the shop’s extensive array of candy and party necessities may seem overwhelming, once the welcoming staff offers their assistance, customers feel comfortable navigating the shop. Within the store, there is a room with white walls used to create a “blank canvas” so that various themed parties can be held there. On one side of the space, rows upon rows of the candies Caramelo Caramelo has to offer are displayed in clear jars, side by side, with color-changing lights illuminating the sweets. Some of the candy offered at Caramelo Caramelo is rare in Miami, including chocolate-covered sunflower seeds and sour coke bottles, which are the most popular sweets at the store. This is one of the appealing qualities of Caramelo Caramelo— their hardto-find products are easily accessible. To purchase candy, customers fill up a paper bag to whatever amount they please, and the price is determined based on the weight of the bag. The store is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but is closed on Sundays. Not only does Caramelo Caramelo Sweets ‘n Soirees carry a grand supply
of candies and chocolates, but it is also stocked with party decorations, piñatas, and entertainment options. The idea of combining both the party planning and the availability of sweets came from the Caramelo Caramelo shop in Puerto Rico, which the manager Rebeca Parades originally opened. She brought the original idea of mixing party planning and candy sales to South Miami. “I opened my party business in Puerto Rico, and they added the candy to their store so that gave me the idea to add it to mine here in Miami,” Paredes said. One reason the shop has been popular is because of its multi-purpose offerings. Whether it be a candy craving, a need for themed décor or sweets that need to be organized for a an event, Caramelo Caramelo is capable of meeting all demands. “When I first saw Caramelo Caramelo, it drew my attention because of the boldness of their decorations, I then wanted to immediately try the candy showcased throughout the store — they do a really good job at making their products look as appealing as possible,” junior Diego Acosta said. When either planning for an event or simply just fulfilling some candy or cravings, Caramelo Caramelo will not only provide some of the best lookingcandy but some of the fastest selling candy in South Miami. h
26 the scene
Gables Lends A H
highlights seeks out the best o eager to vo
By Arianna Pena & Thomas M
The Cat Network Inside the PetSmart on 3301 SW 22nd St, Coral Gables Cat Network (CN) volunteers work hard to try to find loving and caring homes and families for the cats available for adoption. The cats sleep and lay around in cages, while the kittens play and run around a small room in the store. Volunteers wear gray aprons with the orange CN logo as they care for the felines. The CN focuses on three main functions: spaying and neutering community cats, adopting out cats and kittens to the public and advocating non-lethal population control and humane public policy. The CN was established in 1995 and is a grassroots volunteer based organization with over 3,500 volunteer and donor members. Volunteers have a number of options to choose from when working with the Cat Network. For example, volunteers can take part in the Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program. Around 400 volunteers
help collect homeless and abandoned cats, get them sterilized by a veterinarian, and then return them to the location they were found. Volunteers can also foster cats for adoption or attend adoption shows every weekend. The adoption shows take place in 15 different PetCo, Pet Supermarket and PetSmart locations around Miami-Dade and give volunteers the chance to show off cats and kittens while also allowing them to play with the cats. “I like being at the Cat Network mainly because I feel that animals need better homes,” volunteer Rino Denegri said. “Sometimes, they need the help in order to find said homes and I feel that this is the gateway to be able to live better lives.” The CN provides an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for those looking to work with animals. Potential volunteers can find further information on thecatnetwork.org.
Outside Warehouse 15 at 15441 West Dixie Highway, students volunteering with Joshua’s Heart Foundation (JHF) pack donations of food and clothes into boxes to be sent to families. JHF is dedicated to feeding and providing food, toys, clothes and general assistance for people, not just in Miami, but on an international scale. JHF was founded in 2005 by Joshua Williams, when he discovered that the number of youth volunteer organizations available to the public was lacking in a big way. Eventually, he founded JHF in order to create a worldwide community service institution. There are multiple opportunities for those looking to volunteer with Joshua’s Heart Foundation. Volunteers can become members as part of the organization’s Junior Advisory Board, where participants act as a “board of advisors” for the organization, lead community projects and guide younger members of the organization. Prospective volunteers can also participate as food distribution volunteers. Food distribution volunteers can take on one of
the scene 27
A Helping Hand
est organizations for students to volunteer
omas Morcillo, Staff Writers several roles: food sorter, a packer or a distributer. Additionally, volunteers can work in the food box distribution assistance area, where they help hand out supplemental food program boxes at distribution sites on weekdays and register new clients. “We empower kids and let them know you are never too young to do some good for the community and help out,” Williams said. Joshua’s Heart Foundation is a great way to work with people and do good for the community while also gaining hands-on service experience. More information can be found online at joshuasheart. org.
Touching Miami With Love Located at 711 NW 6th Avenue in Overtown and 1350 SW 4th Street in Homestead, one can already see what a unique program
Touching Miami with Love is. Outside the building in Overtown, a brightly colored mural with the word “love” greets volunteers. Another mural of a young girl holding dandelions is seen before entering the court where students run, play basketball, football and other games with older volunteers. Touching Miami with Love works to provide resources for low income families. Founded in 1995, Touching Miami with Love has worked with volunteers, group services and churches to do good for these low income communities. Inside, students from ranging age groups do homework and enjoy the afterschool program provides. High school students talk amongst each other in the Youth Lounge while younger students receive tutoring and homework help from the various volunteers in rooms decorated with posters and paintings made by the students there. Touching Miami with Love is organized into youth, adult and child programs. The organization’s youth program provides services such as SAT/
ACT tutoring and help with school projects. Additionally, the youth program presents interactive activities for improvement in social skills to try and influence positive attitudes in the members regarding their communities and themselves. What’s more, the program organizes evening sitdown dinners for the members to interact with each other. The program runs from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Volunteers can also join a community outreach program, such as being a guest chef, which requires bringing prepared meals for the organization’s dinners, or participating in the organization’s Back to Back event, where new backpacks and grade-appropriate school supplies are collected for the students in the organization’s programs at both of its locations. Touching Miami with Love is a great organization where anyone who wants to work with students can learn to help and better the people in their community and the communities surrounding them. The organization can be found online at touchingmiamiwithlove. org. h
SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TAFT UNION HIGH SCHOOL PRICE MIDDLE SCHOOL HILLSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NORTH PANOLA HIGH SCHOOL CARVER HIGH SCHOOL AGAPE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL STEPHENSON HIGH SCHOOL WEST ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL ARAPAHOE HIGH SCHOOL LIBERTY TECHNOLOGY MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL EDISON HIGH SCHOOL BERRENDO MIDDLE SCHOOL NORTH HIGH SCHOOL SALISBURY HIGH SCHOOL MADISON PARISH HIGH SCHOOL EAST ENGLISH VILLAGE PREPARATORY ACADEMY HORIZON ELEMENTARY CLARKE STREET SCHOOL PLAYGROUND REYNOLDS HIGH SCHOOL SAUNDERS ELEMENTARY ABERMARLE HIGH SCHOOL FERN CREEK HIGH SCHOOL LANGSTON HUGHES HIGH SCHOOL MARYSVILLE PILCHUCK HIGH SCHOOL WISCONSON LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL VANGUARD HIGH SCHOOL WILLIAMSON HIGH SCHOOL FREDERICK HIGH SCHOOL TENAYA MIDDLE SCHOOL SOUTHWESTERN CLASSICAL ACADEMY COPPELL MIDDLE SCHOOL EAST ELOLF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NORTHSIDE HIGH SCHOOL HARRISBURG HIGH SCHOOL LAWRENCE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL MUSKEGON HEIGHTS HIGH SCHOOL INDEPENDENCE HIGH SCHOOL MADISON HIGH SCHOOL HIGH POINT HIGH SCHOOL HUFFMAN HIGH SCHOOL AVA HIGH SCHOOL MCLAIN HIGH SCHOOL ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL TOWNVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL VIGOR HIGH SCHOOL SOUTH AIKEN WEST LIBERTY-SALEM HIGH SCHOOL WARREN ELEMENTARY HIGH SCHOOL NORTH PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SCHOOL HICKMAN ACADEMY PREPATORY SCHOOL NORTH LITTLE ROCK HIGH SCHOOL MATTOON HIGH SCHOOL FREEMAN HIGH SCHOOL RANCHO TEHAMA AZTEC HIGH SCHOOL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BEECHER MANUAL HIGH SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL ITALY HIGH SCHOOL MARSHALL COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL OXON HILL HIGH SCHOOL APOSTOLIC REVIVAL CENTER CHRISTIAN SCHOOL TAFT UNION HIGH SCHOOL OSBORN HIGH SCHOOL STEVENS INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS AND ARTS HAZARD COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE CHICAGO CESAR CHAVEZ HIGH SCHOOL STATE UNIVERSITY LONE STAR COLLEGE PRICE MIDDLE SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA NEW RIVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY MASSACHUSETTS WARE MITCHELL MIDDLE SCHOOL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY OSSIE SANTA MONICA COLLEGE RONALD E. MCNAIR DISCOVERY LEARNING ACADEMY NORTH PANOLA HIGH SCHOOL SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIVERSITY STEPHENSON HIGH SCHOOL BRASHEAR HIGH SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL LIBERTY TECHNOLOGY ARAPAHOE HIGH SCHOOL EDISON MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL HILLHOUSE HIGH SCHOOL BERRENDO MIDDLE SCHOOL DELAWARE VALLEY CHARTER SCHOOL WIDENER UNIVERSITY PURDUE UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY LOS ANGELES VALLEY COLLEGE EASTERN FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY NORTH HIGH SCHOOL SALISBURY HIGH SCHOOL CHARLES F. BRUSH GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGENTS UNIVERSITY BENJAMIN BANNEKER HIGH SCHOOL JOHN F. KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL MARSHALL COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
THOUGHTS&PRAYERS BY SUTTON PAYNE
after the tragedy in parkland, florida the issue of gun reform and school safety has come to the front of national debate, highlights investigated how students were affected.
2 4 1
HREE DIGITS SEEMINGLY meaningless to most; a figure that perhaps represents nothing in many cases. However, since the catastrophe of Sandy Hook in 2013, a horrific event pledged never to be allowed to happen again, the number references something far more unnerving: 241 school shootings since Sandy Hook. .
The Issue The reoccurrence of school shootings in the United States represents a need for change, a lack of action and a desire for answers by the general public. These travesties have evolved into a prevalent issue nationwide, an issue that terrifies parents who send their children to a place of presumed safety and education and one that plagues representatives in office desperate for a solution. In an event that appears to be an unthinkable and unforeseen calamity, the commonality of gun violence within our school system is too vast to be overlooked as a tragic rarity. For a coherent reflection of data, highlights’ specific criteria for what is deemed a “school shooting” lies in accordance with the definition given by the Gun Violence Archive. This nonprofit organization defines a school shooting as “an episode on the property of an elementary school, secondary school or college campus”. It only includes incidents during school hours, and ones that involve at least one death or injury related to gunfire. Mass shootings in particular, are more common than ever in America, with the number of public mass shootings tripling since 2011, according to Harvard University. The frequency of these shootings in general, let alone in our schools, poses many concerns on the reasons for mass gun violence in the United States. However, what is even more alarming is the regularity of these shootings within schools. According to CNN, in relation to the 10 deadliest shootings in modern U.S. History, half of them have occurred within a school or university. As result of these afflictions on the grounds of high schools and educational institutions, our schools have devolved from a perceived sanctuary of learning to a target for violence and bloodshed. This is no longer an anomaly. A study done by the Academy of Critical Incident Analysis showed that between 2000 and 2010, there have been 57 incidents of school violence in 36 different countries. Of those, half occurred in the U.S., meaning the U.S. school violence toll equaled that of 35 countries combined. That is a vast disparity and one that indicates a distressing inclination of violence. Unfortunately, this violent trend is continuing its downward spiral. Since the start of 2018 , there has been 15 school shootings
registered in the United States according to Mother Jones, a nonprofit news magazine. Shockingly, gun violence is not federally studied on a major scale in the United States. The Center for Disease Control briefly led the national study on gun violence but were forced to stop when the Dickey Amendment was passed in 1996, leading to the subsequent loss of funding towards gun research because of accusations of political bias by the NRA. The amendment, which was inserted as a provision of the federal government’s omnibus spending bill, states that none of the funds at the CDC can be used “to advocate or promote gun control.” Following the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, then-President Barack Obama ordered the CDC to continue their studies on gun violence; however, little was done. “In the area of what works to prevent shootings, we know almost nothing,” Mark Rosenberg, who led the CDC’s gun-violence research efforts in the mid-1990s, said. Other federal divisions, like the Justice Department, have completed research on this topic as well. However, the budget for that research is only a miniscule fraction of what the government spends on the researched causes of other high-mortality hazards, like car accidents or smoking — money that has led to actions that greatly reduced deaths in both categories. This limitation has not only hindered the government’s research, but it has also restricted certain private institutions and corporations. This has further halted the country’s apprehension of these crises and has led to policymakers dealing with outdated or insufficient data. Whether it be increased gun policy, mental health resources or school security, feasible solutions are not attainable without proper acceptance and research of this rampant.
State The solutions for school gun violence are handicapped by the confusion surrounding federal, state and local policy. The current widespread approach is reactionary, conveying the message that school shootings are unfortunately a possibility at any school in America, and that we must be prepared for such emergencies. In the wake of the Parkland shooting, there has been a common consensus in Florida that there is a necessity for increased school security, certain stricter background checks and raised minimum age requirements to ensure safe possessions of arms. Following the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, survivors and student activists like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg have been preaching for increased restrictions
30 insight OVER 45% OF STUDENTS BELIEVE THESE ARE REQUIRED TO BUY A SEMIAUTOMATIC GUN
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BUY A SEMIAUTOMATIC GUN IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA AS OF FEB. 14
BACKGROUND CHECK 21 YEAR OLD AGE MINIMUM REQUIRED GUN PERMIT
Source: The New York Times
WAITING PERIOD on gun sales and possession. Gonzalez and Hogg, voice, along with many others, have inspired millions on this issue. Student activists spearheaded the March for Our Lives protest that was held on March 24 in over 800 locations, advocating for increased gun policy. Other groups, like the National Rifle Association (NRA), feel that this movement is misguided in its mission, as they believe unaddressed mental health issues and shortcomings of state/ local agencies to be the main causes for these school tragedies. They advocate for the focus to be shifted on more preventative measures like increased school security and facilitated accessibility to mental health professionals in order to make an effective change. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) Public Safety Act, which Florida governor Rick Scott signed into law on March 9, 2018 took major strides in addressing this issue. The legislation specifies the limitations for gun purchases, one of which includes prohibitions for those who have previously been checked into a mental institution. The act also directly addresses firearm safety by instituting new policies, like the three-day waiting period, raised minimum age for purchase and ban on bump stocks. It also allows for the arming of teachers and increases spending on school security, though, fails to ban assault weapons in the state.
Local At a local level, representatives have the potential to take proactive measures in our own communities that can prevent a future incident. While it is evident that the Miami-Dade County policies lie in accordance with the state, the county includes several extra programs to maintain gun safety. Some of these include the Gun Bounty program, where residents receive $1000 for reporting an illegal gun owner, and several Gun Buyback programs, in which the state repossesses guns and give out gift certificate credit. District representatives like congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen have had
Alejandra Orozco / highlights
some impact on the movement— Ros-Lehtinen, for example, has demanded recuperative action to address these recent tragedies. Ros-Lehtinen is a Republican representative for the Florida’s 27th district and has advocated for gun control by actively supporting the assault weapons ban and co-sponsoring the Gun Violence Research Act and the STOP School Violence Act. She believes in funding the implementation of federal law enforcement officers and resources in our public schools. “Tragically, the events in Parkland show that we need to do more to protect the lives of innocent Americans, and specifically students, across the nation,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “In the wake of these shootings, we need to take action to better prepare for, and respond to, horrific events such as these”. The MSDHS Public Safety Act, however, was not convincing enough for the City of Coral Gables, which consequently attempted to pass an ordinance banning assault weapons. Because the proposed ordinance would contradict state law F.S. 790.33, if the ordinance passed, Governor Rick Scott could have removed any locally elected official and impose a personal fine of $5,000. Coral Gables was forced to back away from this measure because of its potential for lawsuits against the City. However, this constraint has not held back local governments in spreading their opinion. Several South Florida cities, including Coral Gables, plan to sue the state over these penalties on local gun laws. “We’ve taken a risk but felt it was necessary to send a message to other elected officials that making the rights decision is more important than keeping your job as a politician,” Coral Gables commissioner Frank Quesada said. Quesada believes that proactive approaches are necessary, and that coordination from all levels of government will be the most effective approach to combating this issue. Public schools are overseen by the County School Board, meaning the local government is limited in its ability to enact legislation protecting students. In reference to the MSDHS Public Safety Act, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has expressed that he is not in favor of arming teachers with firearms and instead advocates for increased funding towards building security. Within the school, there have been evident changes in regard to these developments. As part of a district-wide initiative, the school has closed off its campus to make it a single-entry school. The school has also decided to strictly require all school personnel and students to wear identification and uniform at all times. For students seeking mental or psychological assistance, nine of the school’s counselors have refocused their efforts to providing t aid around the clock. The district continues to push the “see something, say something” initiative that hopefully warns administration of suspicious student behavior. According to school principal Adolfo Costa, the school already has looked at all security measures and they feel comfortable with the changes. However, he feels more can be done. “There is always a mindset when going into why these types of things happen,” Costa said. “There is typically a knee-jerk reaction and there needs to be more thought put into preventability. Increased school security spending is something that needs to happen.” Funding for public schools is deficient . MDCPS’ annual expenditure for school safety is $50 million, and, as of last year, the state allocated $9 million for school safety. So, schools are forced to take up this financial burden from their own budget, which thus takes funding away from other needs such as buying proper resources and hiring adequate teachers. According to New York Times, over 130 students and faculty have died at the hand of school shootings since Sandy Hook, and over 400 have been injured. What these figures fail to grasp, however, is the immeasurable damage on our youth’s outlook and mentality going forward. As mentioned previously, students have been told to accept this tragedy as a possibility nationwide. Yet, only by rejecting this threat as a conformity will we be able to make progress in resolving it. h
COMMUNITY VOICES ra
n/ va Vo
-Flo Rida, Rapper
WHEN WE STAND TOGETHER IN SUPPORT, LOVE, PEACE AND HARMONY, YOU WILL DEFINITELY MAKE A CHANGE. I LOVE HOW EVERYONE’S COMING OUT IN SUPPORT AND THAT I COULD BE A PART OF THIS MOVEMENT.
WE’RE THE ONES WHO ARE /highlights BEING ATTACKED SO OF xander Sutton le COURSE WE’RE GONNA A SAY SOMETHING AND WE’RE THE NEXT GENERATION THAT’S GONNA GO INTO THE WORKFORCE, SO IT’S ON US FOR CHANGE TO COME. -Kassandra Luis, Senior
of students feel they are not protected from a potential mass shooting at school
of students do not believe arming teachers will prevent the issue of mass shootings
I LIKE THAT PEOPLE ARE STEPPING UP, ESPECIALLY STUDENTS, BECAUSE WE SHOULD FEEL SAFE GOING TO SCHOOL... I WANT TO SEE BIGGER SECURITY UPGRADES. WE DON’T KNOW IF PEOPLE HAVE GUNS IN SCHOOL.
of students feel the tightened school policies are not effective in preventing an attack
of students do not believe the school is well equipped to give psychological support
-Francisco Lucero, Freshman
of students believe more restrictive gun policy would be effective in combating the issue
of students believe police/ school security measures would prevent this event
Quotes compiled by: Alexander Sutton/highlights
350 people surveyed as of April 13, 2018 Alejandra Orozco/highlights
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Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. What’s your opinion? Tell us your point of view on a topic published in highlights with an email titled “Letter to the Editor.” We reserve the right to publish any letters sent to this email.
lightbox At the college signing on April 17, students who have committed to attend 4-year colleges competed in games like ships and sailors, musical chairs and hoola hooping. Here, College Assitance Program adviser Elizabeth Stack leads a team of seniors in a game of tugof-war.
Issue 6, April 2018, Volume 58