Laura Leon and Robert Leonard of Cutler Bay High School’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism were selected to participate in the El Camino de Santiago Program, which provides high school student leaders with social and cultural enrichment as they embark on a 500-mile journey from Sarriá to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Through a partnership between the City of Miami, the International Studies Foundation, and The College for International Studies in Madrid, the program was created to highlight the academic achievements of underserved students by allowing them to travel to Spain and share their experiences with students in Spain.
As participants in the program, Laura and Robert will participate in Spanish language, history and culture immersion courses, as well as physical training for the 500-mile trek. Teachers from The College for International Studies, volunteers from the International Studies Foundation, representatives from the City of Miami, and a chaperone from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami is proud to support the International Studies Foundation’s goal of providing our community with activities that enrich young children’s lives through cultural experiences and education,” said Gale Nelson, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. “With Miami and Madrid serving as ‘sister cities’ since 2014, this cross-cultural experience is a once in a lifetime experience for our participating little brothers and sisters.”
Palmer Trinity School’s Spanish-language team, the Halcones, were recently recognized for their award-winning performance during the 2019 Florida State Spanish Conference in Orlando. The conference aims to give students across Florida the opportunity to compete and test their proficiency in declamation, impromptu speech, and dramatic presentations against their peers. The 15-student team competed against several Florida-based schools and were recognized as “outstanding” in individual events, and also received a perfect score after performing a Spanish play.
Team members included Andrés Álvarez-Paul, María Anzola-Schnell, Pamela Ascobereta, Anastasia D’Agostini, Ornella Libi, Valentina Libi, Santiago Méndez, Aitana Nasse, Mateo Nasse, Diego Negrón, Rafael Olloqui, Álvaro Ortega-Morales, Natalie Pulido, Natalia Rey, and Rodrigo Santander. The team was accompanied by World Language instructors Raul González and Julio Carassou, and Department Chair Maria Trinidad Rodríguez-Rittenhouse.
“We are incredibly proud of how our students represented Palmer Trinity. They are a strong team of ‘native speakers’ and excelled in a challenging Division Two conference against formidable competitors,” said Rodriguez-Rittenhouse.
The National Endowment for the Humanities recently donated a $750,000 matching grant to Florida International University in support of the architectural design phase for CasaCuba, the university’s new think tank that will host lectures, academic conferences, community events, exhibits and more to further the understanding of Cuban heritage.
“This extraordinary award from NEH is a testament not only to CasaCuba’s inspiring vision and progress to date but to FIU´s long history as an epicenter of Cuban studies and culture,” said María Carla Chicuén, executive director of CasaCuba. “I am grateful to NEH for recognizing CasaCuba’s potential as a prominent intellectual and cultural institution and hope that this gift will inspire many others to support us philanthropically.”
CasaCuba was officially introduced in 2015, and FIU plans to make the think tank a leading venue for the creation and spreading of knowledge about Cuba and Cuban culture. FIU’s Next Horizon campaign is currently raising funds to secure a match for the $750,000 grant.
For information on CasaCuba, visit casacuba.fiu.edu.
Music teacher is a big winner
Jennifer Jimenez, a music instructor at South Miami High School, recently won $10,000 after being named a winner of the 2019 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award for her contributions to her students. The award program was created in 2010 in honor of Stephen Sondheim, a composer, and lyricist that often attributes his success to the teachers in his life, and to celebrate the significant role of teachers in society.
Jimenez was nominated by her former student, Jackeline Zelaya, who credited Jimenez for helping her master the flute and get through rough times in her life, including trying to survive a toxic household and suffering from a collapsed lung.
Jimenez plans to continue teaching music and inspiring new students at South Miami High.
DHL computer donation to school
DHL Express employees recently donated 80 used computers to the students at Sports Leadership and Management Charter Middle School, in North Miami Beach, to support the school’s first computer lab.
Through DHL Express’s charitable organization, Delivering Help to Learners, the lab features a mix of laptops, computers, and monitors. Employees also set up Wi-Fi and installed Firefox and Microsoft Office products on the computers for students. This week, the school held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal the computer lab to staff and students.
Educational institutions or orphanages interested in used computer donations from DHL Express can contact Mike Taylor at Mike.G.Taylor@dhl.com.