Miami-Dade County

Friends of Gables High raising money to build performance space, replace band room

Friends of Gables High includes alumni, students, parents, and residents who have stepped up to help Coral Gables Senior High School restore its place as a premier national public school.
Friends of Gables High includes alumni, students, parents, and residents who have stepped up to help Coral Gables Senior High School restore its place as a premier national public school.

Dirigo is Latin for “I Lead.” It is the powerful motto for students of Coral Gables Senior High, the historic public school that opened in September 1950 on the corner of Bird and LeJeune roads.

There have always been leaders among Gables’ graduates. They have included award-winning scientists, authors, musicians, actors, and journalists; astronauts and inventors; doctors, lawyers, and judges; Olympians; Super Bowl champions and many other professional athletes.

At one time, the school was listed in the top 10 public high schools in the country. But that was a long time ago, and although academics are still very strong at Gables High, there are now many more public, private, and charter high schools.

A new group called Friends of Gables High wants to make the school shine bright again in every way. Alumni, students, parents, and residents have stepped up to help.

At a recent Cavalier Kickoff party held at the home of Allen and June Morris, the Friends gathered to raise money. June Thomson Morris is chair of the group.

Lon Dowlen, Coral Gables High Class of 1961, said one of the groups’ key contributions is “helping with items not supplied by the school to aid the students and faculty.”

“We gave $10,000 in mini-grants recently as an example of this support. We have arranged that a moot court by the students could be done in a Gables grad federal judge’s courtroom. We can encourage other mentoring opportunities,” Dowlen said.

The Friends of Gables High also want the campus “fully restored with healthy buildings, improved landscaping, and quality fencing.” They want it to be “an environmentally safe and aesthetically respectful place to learn.” They want to make the school a top choice in the community once again.

They are asking for donations from alumni, community leaders, and concerned citizens to secure the school’s future as a premier traditional public high school.

And they are dreaming big. The Friends want to build a new performing arts center “with a wall to open out to the courtyard for pep rallies, concerts and plays.” Funds are being allocated for repairs. They also want to replace the dilapidated band room.

Gathering to help raise money for Coral Gables Senior High School at the Cavalier Kickoff party are Sally Stoltz, Denise West and Ginger Jochem.

“Unfortunately, the total repair is not funded and that is unacceptable because of the sorry state of the present band room. It will be a deterrent to achieving parity with the alternative education choices and our group hopefully can encourage its repair now,” Dowlen said. “As an alumnus of Gables, and essentially a lifetime resident of the city, I want to be proud of Coral Gables High.”

You can get involved and make a donation through the Coral Gables Foundation. Note that it is for Friends of Gables High at For more, visit


One of the most fun fundraisers in Miami is “Band Together for Dade Legal Aid,” in which musically talented lawyers (including a judge) in six bands celebrate with a concert to raise money for the unmet legal needs of the community’s indigent population. The event is open to the public.

More than 300 lawyers, local leaders, judges, musicians and friends are expected to attend the event, which will be from 3-11 p.m. on April 13 at InsideOut, 337 SW Eighth St., Miami. The annual fundraiser will feature South Florida lawyer bands Chillable Hours, The Urge, Crazy Talk, LLP, Feedback, and The 540s.

The event is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Dade Legal Aid.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase. The event will also have a local food truck, Crepe Maker, and free giveaways. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Student tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit for tickets and for the band play schedule.

Dade Legal Aid handles legal matters for disadvantaged individuals, children, families, nonprofits, veterans, tenants, artists and others with family law, domestic violence and sexual assault, guardian ad litem, guardianship, teen advocacy, Small Claims, housing, child and teen advocacy, contracts, patent, deeds, mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy and more.


Miamians are invited to give a little of their time, maybe just an hour, for National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, at numerous projects hosted by United Way of Miami-Dade. This is your opportunity to create meaningful change, inspire others, meet new people and make lasting memories.

Each project calls for a specific number of volunteers and the list will close once it reaches capacity. Children are welcome to get involved, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Projects include doing art and music sessions with children, seniors, or at-risk youth; painting, planting gardens and beach cleanup; helping furry friends at an animal shelter; and creating a sensory-friendly garden focused on sight, sound, smell, touch and relaxation for children and older adults.

“April is all about engaging through service,” said Ana VeigaMilton, president and CEO, José Milton Foundation, and chair of United Way of Miami-Dade’s engagement committee.

“We are so proud to bring diverse volunteer opportunities to our friends and neighbors, as National Volunteer Week serves as the perfect prelude to April 24, when United Way will kick off its 95th birthday with additional service projects in collaboration with four local agencies that have been partners since 1924.”

All events are open to the public. To learn more, pick your project, and register at Also check


The public is invited to share the joy of performance when 200 middle and high school students with special needs perform an inclusive dance concert at 10 a.m., April 12, at Miami Senior High School Auditorium, 2450 SW First St. The performance is free and open to all.

“Global Adventures” is the result of a 13-week dance residency program in 10 Miami-Dade County schools hosted by Karen Peterson and Dancers. This is the 13th year of the program funded by the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs and The Children’s Trust.

KPD will be the guest dance company program along with vocalist Ari Reinoso from Cutler Bay Middle School. For more information, call Karen Peterson at 305-298-5879.


If you love opera, plan to hear the Finals Concert of the Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera 30th National Voice Competition at 1:30 p.m. on April 13 at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach.

Young singers from all over the country will be competing for prize money to help them further their careers. The audience will select the winner of the Audience Favorite Award.

Judging both the semifinal and final round of the competition are Cory Lippiello, artistic administrator, Lyric Opera of Chicago; William Powers, managing director, Pittsburgh Opera; and Brian Speck, director, Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Tickets are $25 and include an invitation to the Sparkling Winners Reception after the awards presentation. Purchase tickets at the Colony Theatre box office at 800-211-1414 or online at Special $10 rates for students and for groups of 10 or more.

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