Meet the 2021 valedictorians, salutatorians of Miami private, parochial and charter schools

·5 min read

Rachel Ponce had an outstanding high school career.

The Mater Academy student held positions at three different clubs, was a Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald Silver Knight nominee in General Scholarship and was the co-director of a state-winning community service project called Full Steam Ahead.

But, due to the pandemic, the culmination of high school did not play out the way she had hoped.

“There were very few times where we were given that opportunity to interact with one another, and that was what ultimately contributes to the great high school experience that we all have ideally in our minds,” said Rachel. “There were some days the challenges got the best of me, but I realized that once I kept an open mind about certain things, even when times were at their toughest point, that’s what kept me going through all of this.”

She overcame the challenges of online learning, finishing as Mater Academy’s salutatorian with a GPA of 5.427. She will attend the University of Florida to major in computer science.

Rachel is one of dozens of students who graduated this year at the top of their class as valedictorians and salutatorians in Miami-Dade private, parochial and charter school. They did this despite the global coronavirus pandemic, which led to disruptions in school starting back to last spring. They pivoted to online classes, mastered tech glitches and kept engaged in their schoolwork despite class schedules interrupted by quarantines and sick schoolmates and teachers. (Miami-Dade Public Schools does not rank its students.)

“I also went through this moment of realization that change, no matter how bad it may seem at certain points, it can often benefit you for the long run and it helps you grow as a person,” Rachel said. “Nobody expected for this to happen. Nobody planned for this, but you have to be ready for anything that comes your way, and it was really that change in mentality that helped all of us go through all of this.”

Here, then, are the valedictorians and salutatorians of this year’s high school Class of 2021. Congratulations are certainly in order:

ARCHBISHOP COLEMAN CARROLL

Valedictorian: Elizabeth Fitzgerald

GPA: 5.36

College: University of Notre Dame

Salutatorian: Camila Gloria

GPA: 5.27

College: Florida International University

BELEN JESUIT

Valedictorian: Nicolás Alarcón

GPA: 5.594

College: Columbia University

Salutatorian: Diego Garmendia

GPA: 5.589

College: Vanderbilt University

CARROLLTON

Valedictorian: Jacqueline Reed

GPA: N/A

College: Duke University

Co- Salutatorians: Paulina Boudet

GPA: N/A

College: Princeton University

Co- Salutatorians: Mia Quintana

GPA: N/A

College: University of Michigan

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS

Valedictorian: Lukas Bleichner

GPA: 5.66

College: Duke University

Salutatorian: Christopher de la Viesca

GPA: 5.65

College: University of Notre Dame

DADE CHRISTIAN

Valedictorian: Johanna Marie Cardona Montalvo

GPA: 3.98

College: Nova Southeastern University

Salutatorian: Angel Yadiel Gonzalez Ramos

GPA: 3.96

College: Barry University

DIVINE SAVIOR

Valedictorian: Christopher Lopez

GPA: 4.555

College: Washington University in St. Louis

Salutatorian: Elba Mota

GPA: 4.414

College: University of Miami

Florida Christian School

Valedictorian: Isabella Villaverde

GPA: 4.8046

College: University of Miami

Salutatorian: Katrina Hernandez

GPA: 4.7750

College: University of Miami

GULLIVER

Valedictorian: Paul Fynn Kuemmel

GPA: 5.9

College: Washington University in St. Louis

Salutatorian: Evelyn Patterson

GPA: 5.8

College: Johns Hopkins University

HEBREW ACADEMY (RASG)

Valedictorian: Yosef Fruhman

GPA: N/A

College: Yeshiva University Honors

Salutatorian: Esther Nahon

GPA: N/A

College: Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University

IMMACULATA-LA SALLE

Valedictorian: Andres Marquez Santacruz

GPA: 5.48

College: Boston University

Salutatorian: Mariana Bujalil

GPA: 5.42

College: New York University

MATER ACADEMY

Valedictorian: Henry Faria

GPA: 5.449

College: Cornell University

Salutatorian: Pablo Bueno

GPA: 5.427

College: University of Florida

MATER PERFORMING ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ACADEMY

Valedictorian: Genesis Capdevila

GPA: 5.431

College: University of Pennsylvania

Salutatorian: Rachel Ponce

GPA: 5.427

College: University of Florida Honors College

Miami Country Day

Co- Valedictorian: Alex McMillan

GPA: 4.91

College: Duke University

Co- Valedictorian: Andrew Weaver

GPA: 4.91

College: Columbia University

Co-Salutatorian: Michael Anthanassiadis

GPA: 4.88

College: University of California, Berkeley

Co-Salutatorian: Maya Kreger

GPA: 4.88

College: University of Pennsylvania

MONSIGNOR EDWARD PACE

Valedictorian: Cecilia Rodriguez

GPA: 5.56

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian: Nicolas Macias

GPA: 5.35

College: University of Florida

OUR LADY OF LOURDES

Valedictorian: Nicole Calderon

GPA: 5.34

College: Harvard University

Salutatorian: Erica Hengartner

GPA: 5.26

College: University of Florida

PALMER TRINITY

Valedictorian: David Fumagalli

GPA: N/A

College: Northwestern University

Salutatorian: Georgia Malueg

GPA: N/A

College: California Institute of Technology

Palmetto Bay Academy

Valedictorian: Rachel Kalski

GPA: 4.72

College: Rollins College

RANSOM EVERGLADES

Valedictorian: Erik Medina

GPA: N/A

College: Princeton University

Salutatorian: Maya Rosen

GPA: N/A

College: Harvard University

RIVIERA PREPARATORY SCHOOL

Valedictorian: Riley Simon

GPA: 5.53

College: University of Miami

Salutatorian: Carlos Gamboa

GPA: 5.29

College: Johns Hopkins University

SCHECK HILLEL COMMUNITY SCHOOL

Valedictorian: Anna Freiman

GPA: N/A

College: Yeshiva University

Salutatorian: Leonardo Bentata

GPA: N/A

College: Northwestern University

SOMERSET ACADEMY

Valedictorian: Daria Bannova

GPA: 5.54

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian: Sum Ye Poon

GPA: 5.52

College: University of Florida

SOMERSET ARTS CONSERVATORY

Valedictorian: Deborah Etienne

GPA: 5.36

College: Johns Hopkins University

Salutatorian: Kimbriah Alfrenar

GPA: 5.36

College: Florida International University

ST. BRENDAN

Valedictorian: Sophia Linale

GPA: 5.38

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian: Olivia Fernandez

GPA: 5.22

College: University of Florida

WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN

Valedictorian: Kayla Dumas

GPA: 5.42

College: University of Florida

Salutatorian: Kevin Zhang

GPA: 5.31

College: Johns Hopkins University

WESTWOOD CHRISTIAN

Valedictorian: Daniela Angulo

GPA: 4.5

College: Florida International University

Salutatorian: Ashley Bouza

GPA: 4.5

College: Florida International University

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting