‘Chat & Learn’ Event to Highlight Vast Student Opportunities at Coral Gables High

Key Biscayne’s historic home high school is currently attended by some 70 local kids. The Art Deco-style building at 450 Bird Road has seen innumerable distinguished alumni since it opened its doors in 1950, and Gables High is showing no signs of stopping, with $28 million in student scholarships for the 2019 academic year alone and a $26 million renovation underway.

 

On Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Center Lighthouse Room, the Village of Key Biscayne’s Education Advisory Board is hosting a ‘Chat and Learn’ about Gables high, where teachers, parents and students can share their experiences and answer questions.

 

“It’s a powerhouse,” said Jackie Gross-Kellogg, current president of the Parent Teacher Association, “like a mini college campus.”

 

Gross-Kellogg is serving her second year as PTA president and will be on the panel Thursday. Her son John Mark was a recent scholarship recipient and is now in his first year at Creighton College. Daughter Mariana (who went on to FSU) was a ‘Gablette,’ a member of the competitive dance team that won Nationals in 2015. Youngest son Peter is a Gables junior and at the moment traveling with fellow students on a state college tour organized by the school counselor.

 

Gross-Kellogg shares her alma mater with her children. She said that legacy left an enduring foundation.

 

“It boosted my confidence and pride. I was motivated by my peers and being a hard worker was contagious. These are positive patterns begun early that continue your whole life.

 

I was a jock who played soccer and had a great coach, but I also had a really great English teacher, Mrs. Riley. She totally lit my brain and turned me on to Literature. I qualified for English Advanced Placement the next year, and became a Literature major in College.”

 

Besides AP, International Baccalaureate (Gables sits in the highest tier of IB magnet schools with an 80 percent diploma rate), a top-five county athletic program of at least eight different sports, debate team, clubs and five journalistic publications, Gables offers honors classes and gifted programs and is recognized for its academic orientation.

 

Students enter one of six academies within the school offering a curriculum along with core courses in business, communications, health sciences, design, liberal arts (the IB), visual and performing arts, and an Academy of Finance program that is one of only three in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

“The way it’s broken up into academies, every academic head and counselor knows their kids,” said Gross-Kellogg.

 

Dual enrollment options for students are free, so graduating seniors with an Associate of Arts college degree already under their belt is not uncommon.

 

Gables offers an entire spectrum of courses for special needs students who are partnered with peers from the larger student body in a buddy system designed to be mutually beneficial, cultivating empathy and unity among the students.

 

“The ripple effect for the community is enormous,” said Gross-Kellogg. “Gables helps kids move in the right direction for becoming educated and contributing members of society.”

 

Gross-Kellogg also believes it’s good for students to get off the Key “and out of the fish bowl.”

 

The idea for Thursday’s event came about when discussing the many Gables programs with EAB member and Key resident Lili Warner.

 

“Her kids are younger but she [Warner] said there are so many great things going on – we have to get the word out!” continued Gross-Kellogg.

 

“Parents think: ‘If I don’t get into MAST its over.’ Parents should ask themselves ‘Is MAST the right fit for my kid?’ Gables might be the right fit for their kid.”

The Nov. 7 “Chat and Learn” at the Lighthouse Room in the Community Center will also be attended by Gables chemistry teacher Elizabeth Kiely, IB history teacher Oscar de Armas, Key Biscayne parents and students. This event is also being held in anticipation of the Coral Gables Senior High School Open House Nov. 13.

Chemistry teacher Elizabeth Kiely:

 

“This is my sixth year at Gables as a Chemistry teacher. I’m actually an alumnus having graduated in 2004. I have a master’s in neuroscience which I obtained in Germany where I worked in a hospital for a couple of years before transitioning into the Education field. My experience working at Gables has been incredibly humbling. The students are ambitious, talented, and hungry for knowledge and experiences that help them identify their strengths, interests and passions.

 

The school itself offers clubs that represent such a variety of interests, I would bet it’s difficult for a student to not find something they’re into (From robotics to yoga to gaming to debate). I think Gables is a school that parents on the Key should consider for a few reasons. The IB Magnet Academy and the NAF Financial Academy are just two leading curricular programs that engage our students and truly prepare them for collegiate work and the workforce.

 

We also constantly have guest speakers, fieldtrips, internships, college visits, and other opportunities for students to learn outside of the traditional classroom setting. Additionally, being in a large school, despite the negative connotation often associated, gives students a reality check of what the real world is like. It allows for so much diversity; diversity being one of the largest branches of innovation and growth.”

Current students speak out:

 

“There’s a lot to like about Gables. I love how it’s a big school and there’s something for everyone. For me, it’s Academy of Finance and the academy is truly preparing me to go into the real world when I graduate from both high school and university.”

Alan, class of 2022

“I love Gables because of the people I met here, everyone in the school pushes each other to be better students and encourages student when they are feeling down.”

– Stephanie, Class of 2021 

“Coral Gables Senior High has truly been one of the most extraordinary things that I can never forget about. From the teachers to my fellow friends and classmates, Coral Gables has given me one of the best high school experiences ever! Coming to this school has gotten me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to join many different clubs and sports like FBLA and UCS Special Olympics, and being in the Varsity Volleyball team. It’s been a great four years and I’ll always cherish the memories that were made!”

-Edward, Class of 2020

“Gables is a very diverse school. There will always be someone there who can help you in anything you need. There are a lot of opportunities, internships, great advice from guest speakers, and colleges visiting the school to talk to and gives us advice on what it’s all about and their application process so we have an idea. I chose Gables because it is more vibrate and very social like. Gables not only focuses on academic but also, the sports and clubs that are in the school. It’s important to me because, I am athletic and I love volunteering.”

-Natalya, Class of 2021

“Coral Gables to me is one of the top schools as students are truly given the opportunity to make their experience unique and tailored to their interests. Due to its, uncommon to many other schools, 8 period schedule students are allowed to take more electives than your average high school student.

 

As President of the Academy of Finance along with my great board and lead coordinator of the business program Natasha Lopez, we have introduced a freshman mentorship program to help students focus on academics, extracurriculars and the opportunities offered to them.”

-Richard, Class of 2020

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