Last year, Darian Miranda ‘13 and Sebastian Bartlett ‘15 began brainstorming ways to develop an app targeted to Special Olympics athletes. Their primary goal was to create a user-friendly and safe online community for these athletes. The pair also wanted to help Special Olympians keep their busy schedules organized by tracking the status of events and their locations. The app they created is called Sonnet – short for Secure Online Network.
While the initiative was launched last year, several Java gurus from the Gulliver’s computer science program have already stepped into leadership roles in order to finalize the app. Sebastian Bartlett ’15, Max Bochner ‘14, Noah Jacobs ‘15, Faraz Masroor ‘17 and Schuyler Reinken ‘15 are currently preparing it for beta testing. “I really wanted to jump at the chance to make a program that someone was really going to use,” Schuyler says.
Faraz adds that, “I really wanted to program an Android! When I took the honors Java class, Mr. Morell taught us how to program an Android and I really wanted to apply my knowledge on that and help people.”
Sonnet will be available on Android tablets that currently work with secure data networks. A dedicated administration team, focused on the athletes’ security, will oversee confirmation of each member requesting access. Plus, the app will not be available to a general audience; instead, it will be limited to about 200 athletes. Sonnet will include a news feed with text and images, as well as color coded events, friend status and maps with location updates on each Sonnet user. The student developer team plans to execute final testing rounds with the athletes by the beginning of Spring Break in order to receive final feedback and begin finalizing the application.
Gulliver faculty members Dean Morell and Miami-Dade County Special Olympics head Lindsay Harris Smith have been especially helpful to the students, assisting with brainstorming, development and quality control.
Let’s congratulate the team on all their hard work and effort to provide a user-friendly and safe online community for Special Olympics athletes!
The Gulliver Boys’ Soccer team (22-1-1) brought the 2013-2014 class 2A boys' state championship to Gulliver after defeating Bishop Moore Catholic High School of Orlando by a score of 5-1 at Eastern Florida State College on Saturday, February 15.
The Raiders used last year’s loss to Jacksonville Bolles in the 2A championship game to fuel their ambition to become Florida High School Athletic Association state champions.
“We just remembered that empty feeling last year of having to sit there and watch Bolles put their winning medals around their neck and take pictures with the championship trophy,” said Alex Moztarzadeh ‘15. “Today was our turn to pose with that trophy.”
The Raiders were led by stellar play from goalkeeper Esteban Sapentinizky ‘14, who defended the goal marvelously as Bishop Moore tried to attack. Offensively, the Raiders were led by Zane Van de Put ‘14, Luis Diego ‘14, Jesus Bolivar ‘14, Alex Moztarzadeh ‘15 and Alex Alvarez ‘15, who all scored a goal in the championship game.
This state soccer championship was the fifth for the Gulliver boys’ soccer program and its first since 2008. This win stands proudly beside state titles from 1992, 1999, 2000 and 2008. The Raiders also become the only team from Miami-Dade to win a boys’ soccer state title since 2008.
We congratulate the boys’ soccer team on winning the 2A state soccer championship and bringing the championship trophy back to Gulliver.
The Miami Heat honored Gulliver Academy student-athlete Catherine Bettridge '20 with its Miami Heat Youth Academic/Sportsmanship Team Player Spotlight Award. Catherine, who plays basketball and volleyball for Gulliver Academy, received the award on February 3, while attending a Miami Heat basketball game with several of her basketball teammates. She was one of a few Miami-Dade student-athletes honored at the game. Her proud coaches and teammates stood courtside, rooting her on!
Catherine is a sixth grader at Gulliver Academy, where she leads her Gulliver Raiders as a starting guard on the basketball court and is also a leader in the classroom. A participant in the prestigious International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP), she began the academic year on the Dean’s List and earned all “Excellent” marks in effort and conduct. She displays sportsmanship with respect for her teammates, coaches, opponents and referees.
Though small in stature, Catherine is a sparkplug on the court, lacing up her pink Nike high-tops and making plays, selfless passes and high fives in basketball. A true student-athlete, she works hard in the classroom to earn great grades in order to keep her starting point guard position. “Catherine is a solid student; she strives to do well in Geography,” says her IBMYP geography teacher, Marge Prenner. “She is a hard worker and very conscientious. Catherine exemplifies so many characteristics of the IBMYP learner profile of being principled, open minded, caring and balanced.”
Coach Brittney Waters has been coaching Catherine for two years in basketball and loves her positive attitude, encouraging nature and perseverance in leading the team.
Gulliver always works hard to provide international experiences to our students by introducing new cultures and helping communities in need around the world. Last year, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme sponsored an event at the Prep, inviting young African teachers and leaders to join us from a private high school, Lycée Privé Barack Obama, in Burkina Faso (in western Africa).
For the event, IB French students helped put together a presentation on the previous U.S. election, as the international teachers had never been in the United States and were fascinated with President Barack Obama. The Gulliver students and the teachers from Lycée Privé Barack Obama had such a great time that they wanted to find a way to continue working together. This year, the IB Programme has been working with Gulliver’s French teachers in order to continue to communicate with the teachers in Burkina Faso. Gulliver faculty member Milondo Kabamba initiated videoconferencing “cultural sessions” between the two schools. Gulliver students were able to videoconference with teachers and students at the Lycée Privé to learn about their day-to-day life and culture. Hank Langston and the IB Programme faculty helped set up the experiences.
“The goal is for us to have videoconferences at least once or twice a month during my French Studies in a Global Context classes with other students in Africa or overseas so they can exchange opinions and ideas on culture and practice their language together,” Milondo says. “Since I am from Africa, I was very interested in assisting any way I could to set this up. I know the culture, since I grew up there, and want my students to experience it, too.”
On Saturday, 13 Middle School drama students attended the Junior Thespians State Festival in Melbourne, Florida, led by Gulliver faculty Carlos Orizondo and Casey Craig. Out of 10 entries, the students received eight Superior and two Excellent scores – for a grand total of 15 medals bestowed upon our students.
College and Guidance Counselor Jeremy Sale will be among the presenters this year at the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling’s Annual Conference. Jeremy, who has spoken at the conference five previous times and has attended for 12 years, is particularly excited to present at this year’s conference, which takes place April 5-8 in Myrtle Beach. Attended by a diverse audience of both counselors and vendors, it will cover best practices, new products and software, upcoming changes in college applications, best ways to educate parents on the applications process and more.
Jeremy will give two presentations. The first will be a case study on what is typically called “conundrums and college counseling.” It’s a how-to on the most challenging scenarios of counseling, such as working with students with average grades and above-average expectations for college, as well as with students who may have been caught cheating and the impact it has on college applications. For the second presentation, Jeremy will mediate a discussion on the process and challenges of “switching sides of the counseling desk” – moving between high school counseling, college counseling and working for software or program vendors.
Jeremy looks forward to several additional conferences this year, as well, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling Conference, which will be held September 15-18 in Indianapolis. He is extremely excited to be attending this event, which will focus on technology. He will present “Technology Transitions and Education Management,” in which he will take a look at how high schools apply Naviance and other CRM-style systems in the common application process in order to help students make decisions during the college process.
“From my experience of being in college admissions, I just try to find out what other schools are doing and figure out a way to always do it better,” Jeremy says. “Even after 12 years of college counseling, I now have to really know 3,500 colleges in the U.S. and 15 different countries’ worth of colleges because I want my students to look at different schools and be able to have the best opportunity possible.”
Gulliver student Jerónimo Guijarro Aguirre '15 has been selected to attend El Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto, also known as the FLII 2014 economic conference. It will be held in the Mexican city of Mérida, Yucatán from February 18 – 20. The conference has positioned itself as one of the most important events focused on strengthening social entrepreneurship and the impact investing ecosystem. This year the conference will focus on priority areas for development in Latin America, such as access to housing, sustainable agriculture, financial services and education.
Jerónimo has had a passion for business for as long as he can remember, but he wants to be able to help others and better their lives, too. “I grew up around a lot of businessmen and I’ve always loved it!” he says “However, I want to be able to find a way to always benefit the greater good of the community. My family has very strong values and morals, and they have showed me that doing the right thing is very important.” With that in mind, Jerónimo has actively sought out opportunities for real-world experience. After successfully completing the “World Leaders for the Social Change” summer camp at Yale University, he wanted to get more hands-on experience in social entrepreneurship. He interned at Fundamex, a nonprofit organization with a mission of assisting the educational and cultural development of Guatemala and Mexico.
Through his experiences and educational opportunities, Jerónimo has identified many factors that can create better communities. For instance, he notes, “There are so many unfortunate accidents that can be avoided. In Brazil, they had a band playing a concert and one of the band members lit up a firework in the middle of the room. In a matter of seconds, the room was engulfed in flames because of the insulation. This is an unfortunate accident that could have been avoided. Safety needs to be a priority and most importantly, needs to be affordable for everyone.”
Let’s congratulate Jerónimo on continuing to seek opportunities that will help him in his career!
Gulliver faculty member Kamal A. James welcomed two attorney guest speakers, Aabad Melwani '97 and Michael Cheah, who provided real-world knowledge to students in his Intro to Business Course. The business students have been actively reading and analyzing Bloomberg articles in class and have shown interest in multiple sectors of business. Kamal brought the guest speakers in to show them the various ways in which law and business cross and the many options they have for careers in both worlds.
Aabad Melwani '97 has experience both in and out of court, but his passion and focus are on his family’s business, Rickenbacker Marina. His responsibilities include assuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible, which means he overlooks everything from government regulatory matters, employee management and drafting complex proposals to heavy negotiations and, most importantly, assuring that his guests and clients have the best experience possible. “I work with two essentials: humility and a sense of urgency,” Aabad says. He has a deep understanding of waterfront real estate because of his upbringing in the marina, which is why he chose to focus his legal work on this sector. “Any venture you want to pursue, law school will prepare you for that road you choose to take,” he says. His degree has helped in his career with Rickenbacker Marina, as well as in additional business ventures he has taken on since law school.
Michael Cheah has a different passion and focus as an attorney. He handles litigation for all the corporate properties that are owned by IAC, a leading media and Internet company focused in the core areas of search and applications. Those holdings include About.com, Shoebuy.com, Urbanspoon.com and Dictionary.com. He is also general counsel for Vimeo.com, one of IAC’s properties. The very popular video uploading and sharing website receives about 60,000 uploads per day, and his primary responsibility is to manage any intellectual property and copyright lawsuits that come up. “A lot of cases come up and they take years to settle sometimes,” Michael explains. “Vimeo is extremely popular due to the excellent service they provide. They have a clean platform – the highest-quality uploading available, no intrusive ads and a respectful community that provides critique, not judgment.”
While both guest speakers are attorneys, Kamal wanted to showcase a few paths that a law degree can provide into business. “Law school is a great foundation to get into any business sector you desire,” he says. Let’s extend our gratitude to Kamal for coordinating such wonderful guest speakers to present to Gulliver Business students, and to Michael and Aabad for giving their time!
Gulliver student Camila Mirow ‘15 is so dedicated to outdoor sciences and marine life, she has logged more than 500 volunteer hours in those areas. She has been a key member of multiple Gulliver clubs, including the Rowing Club, Oceanography Club, National Ocean Sciences Bowl, Environmental/Recycling Club, Fishing Club and Scuba Club. Most recently, she has been helping to develop a new club, the Future Society of Women Engineers. “Ever since I was little, I have always been exposed to nature and the ocean. I never sat and watched TV – I’d go outside. I would take things apart and put them back together. That was really the beginning of engineering for me,” Camila says.
Camila has spent her summers working with organizations such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she assisted the ocean chemistry division at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Virginia Key, Fla. “I was able to find my way into it because I just kept asking,” Camila explains. “I really wanted to get my hands on science and work with actual scientists and real engineers to see what they do on a daily basis because there is not a lot of exposure to that right now. It gave me a really good idea of what I wanted to do.” She adds that NOAA is involved in climate monitoring, fishery management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce. Its research impacts everything from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor, and it is constantly working to keep citizens informed about the changing environments around them.
Camila credits her passion for science, in large part, to Gulliver science faculty member Mrs. Toyos-Vilberg. “When I was having problems in chemistry, she made every effort to sit there and help me. It’s really important for teachers to do that, because it makes a difference in the student’s life,” Camila says. “When you show interest and support, it gives you a sense of ‘OK, I’m struggling now, but I will get through this.’ That was something she has always helped me with – not just with chemistry, but any science.”
Out of all of Camila’s after-school activities revolving around animal life and sciences, she finds it difficult to pinpoint her favorite. She loves all the clubs and projects she has been involved in, but some of her most unforgettable moments have been turtle tagging with NOAA, shark tagging and beach cleanups with the Oceanography Club and coral restoration with the Scuba Club. “Once you know what you want to do, you will go through anything to try and get an internship,” she says. “You throw yourself into these niches and they open up a lot of doors for you!”
We applaud her commitment and dedication to outdoor sciences and marine life and wish her all the best in her future endeavors!
Gulliver faculty member Zoe Chen has set a new trend by teaching Chinese to students via Skype. It comes as no surprise that Skype was selected for this type of e-course, as it is one of the leading communication tools internationally, and includes instant messaging and audio calls, as well as video conferencing. “Today’s technology enables teachers to have real time face-to-face teaching methods with students,” Zoe says.
Zoe began teaching via Skype because she had to be away from Gulliver for an extended period of time. “I was very worried about my classes,” she says. “How can I still take care of my classes when I am away? If students have any questions, how I can help them? I thought, ‘If I can communicate with my family (who is in Taiwan) without problems everyday, then I should have no problem communicating with my students in class.’”
While Skype provides a convenient way of video conferencing for many users, it doesn’t necessarily have all the features required by instructors or others in education. Zoe explains that the lack of personal interaction with her students means that she has to work harder to prepare the course. However, because of that same lack of personal interaction, students know they cannot talk at the same time due to the “one-on-one” feel Skype provides. Skype courses also can feel a lot like college courses, as a fair number of classes are often taken online.
We appreciate all of the efforts Zoe has put into continuing her classes with her students and commend her on setting this new trend at Gulliver.