Ransom Everglades students win at Berklee High School Jazz Festival

Ransom Everglades School’s student jazz combo and vocalist Isa Peña recently won four trophies from the 2019 Berklee High School Jazz Festival in Boston, one of the largest musical events featuring talent from across the globe.


Vocalist Isa Peña performs at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival.

Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Isa placed first in the Jazz Singers Showcase and opened the awards program by singing “Almost Like Being in Love” to a crowd of 4,000 people at the Hynes Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Connor Munroe earned the Outstanding Musicianship Award, James Gerrard earned the Judge’s Choice Award, and the jazz combo won second place overall. Members of the combo include Connor as the tenor saxophonist, James as the drummer, Alex Otero as the multi-saxophonist and director, Danny Sauceda as the bassist, Will Mathes as the trombonist and Max Vallone as the pianist.

In addition to their wins, students received scholarships to attend the 2019 Berklee Summer Music Camp.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and school board members recently recognized Oliver Diez, a music teacher at Palmetto Elementary School, as the 2020 Francisco R. Walker Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year.


Oliver Diez of Palmetto Elementary, left, smiles as he is given the 2020 Francisco R. Walker Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year by Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, right, on Thursday, January 30, 2019 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center in Miami.

Carl Juste cjuste@miamiherald.com

After almost 20 years with Miami-Dade Schools, Diez was honored for his creative and innovative teaching methods and the abilities of his students to perform at multiple ensembles at the local, state and national level. His students can perform as early as first grade and this March his chorus and band will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.

School board members also recognized Laura Haim from Pinecrest Elementary School has Rookie Teacher of the Year, and Ray Parris from Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School and Christopher Fisk from Miami Northwestern High School as runners-up.

Palmer Trinity School

The students of Palmer Trinity School’s theater department invite the community to their Spring All-School Musical featuring “Hairspray Jr.,” a play set in the 1950s that highlights a girl’s dream to dance, find love and integrate American television while wearing an elaborate hairstyle.

There will be two 7 p.m. shows on March 14 and 15 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 St., in Cutler Bay. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and children ages 10 and under, and $10 for Palmer Trinity School students.

To purchase tickets, visit smdcac.org or call the Box Office at 786-573-5300.

Cutler Bay High School

Select Cutler Bay High School students were recently inducted into the Spanish National Honor Society, an academic society that focuses on Spanish language excellence in education and aims to promote continued interest in Spanish studies.

To be a member of the Spanish National Honor Society, students must take three semesters of Spanish or Portuguese, and also maintain a 3.5 GPA. Each student received a certificate and was inducted by Principal Lucas De La Torre and Dally Hernandez, the chapter’s sponsor.

Inductees included Alejandra Velasquez, Marcos Rivas, Gabriela Cegarra, Gabriela Rivas, Lianis Lopez, Ana Rodriguez, Dianibel Pazos, Maria Castillo, Yoania Pérez, Ana Garcia, Rocio Iglesias, Lauren Ginoris, Darlyn Montes, Kyara Huichapa, Kylee Parrado and Sara Montoya.

Also, the high school was recognized by Magnet Schools of America with the National Merit Distinction Award, which honors the top magnet schools across the United States for their commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, diversity efforts, and high-quality educational services.