After 45 years of educating children at Vanguard School of Coconut Grove, Director John Havrilla will retire. His life’s work of helping over 3,000 students with varying learning difficulties will be celebrated at the school’s upcoming annual gala.
Havrilla and four other teachers from Vanguard School in Pennsylvania opened the Miami school with just 13 students in 1968. Along the way Havrilla has been honored and praised for his commitment. The Association of Independent Schools of Florida gave him the Distinguished Educator Award for developing a program to successfully mainstream students with learning disabilities into traditional classrooms or other school settings.
The nonprofit school’s motto is “Never, never quit.”
"I have enjoyed the experience of working with all the teachers, students and parents over the past 45 years,” Havrilla said. “It has been very rewarding to watch our students grow and become successful adults. My interest has always to been to help children and I have always tried to do my best to do just that."
Alumni, parents and staff are invited to the gala starting at 7 p.m., March 9 at Shake-A-Leg Miami. Tickets are $75. The volunteer parent group, the Vanguardians, is also holding fundraising for a commemorative tile mosaic wall as a tribute to Havrilla and the school. Current parents, alumni parents and all students may purchase and personalize a tile to add to this ongoing memorial.
For information on gala tickets or to purchase a commemorative tile call 305-445-7992 or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Vanguard School has individualized programs for first through eighth grade students with learning difficulties and/or attention deficit disorder. For more about the school check www.vanguardschool.com.
“EYES ON THE EARTH” FESTIVAL
The DuMond Conservancy will host a festival to celebrate the Earth from 1-4:30 p.m., Feb. 23 at Monkey Jungle, 14805 SW 216th St.
Dr. Kate Detwiler, one of the members of the history-making team that discovered the Lesula monkey last year in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will deliver the festival’s keynote address.
This youth-led festival will feature performances by Momentum Dance Company, and Brazilian dancers and drummers. There will also be a play written by New World School of the Arts drama student Kaithleen Conoepan, an Eco Fashion Show, and family activities to show ways our community can contribute in conservation.
Pre-sale tickets to the festival are $15 for adults, $10 for children (5-18 years) and students, and free for children under five years of age. Family tickets (two adults and up to three children) are $30. Admission to the festival also includes admission into Monkey Jungle. Buy online because tickets at the door are $29.95 for adults, $23.95 for children ages three to nine, and free for children under three. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at www.dumondconservancy.eventbrite.com.
39 YEARS OF CHICKEN BBQ
Amazing slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone chicken meals for $9 are what make the annual Chicken BBQ of the Silver Palm United Methodist Men a 39-year success story in rural Redland. This year the event will be on Feb. 23 with takeout meals served starting at 2:30 p.m. from the bright red First National Bank of South Florida trailer at the front of the parking lot at 15855 SW 248th St. (Coconut Palm Drive)