Christopher Columbus High School

A Catholic School for Young Men in the Marist Tradition since 1958

January Principals Newsletter 2018

From the Office of Principal David Pugh

Happy New Year! Now let’s begin working on our resolutions…no time to waste! Did you know that while only 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 9% are actually successful at achieving them? This tells me that we are either not really interested in making changes, or we are setting unrealistic, unattainable goals. Let’s keep it simple and really focus on self-improvements, self-awareness, community service, and spending more quality time with family and friends.  
This month we celebrated the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his important work in civil rights. His messages, which encouraged social justice and human rights for all, continues to resonate with us today.

Based on the number of events and the success of our programs during the month of January, this year promises to keep us very busy and very proud of our academic and athletic accomplishments!
Flu Season is Here and Prevention is Key! 
The Flu season is here and we have taken precautions. All desks and classrooms continue to be cleaned daily, while hand sanitizing dispensers have been placed in all rooms.  Instead of handshakes, we prefer fist bumps at this time!  

For more information on Flu prevention and practices, CLICK HERE.
We Celebrated National Catholic Schools Week
“Education is, above all else, the work of good example, since virtue strengthens authority. It is natural for young people to imitate what they see; actions do more to persuade than words and commands. To educate young people, the teacher must have a claim on their respect and obedience. The claims that young people recognize and respect best are good example, professional skill, and compassion.” -St. Marcellin Champagnat
Students Honored for Academic Success
Through the Principal’s Breakfast and the freshman and sophomore honors ceremonies, we recognized those Explorers that achieved academic success, led clubs and activities, and provided community service.  Congratulations to all the outstanding students that received awards.   
Freshmen and Sophomore Assemblies Also Recognized Those "Most Improved"
At the Freshman and Sophomore Honors assemblies,  our guidance counselors discussed course rigor, college options, extra-curricular clubs and activities, and Naviance.   We also recognized students that were "most improved."
34 FBLA Members Win Medals at Dade County State Competition
The Future Business Leaders of America Club (FBLA) competed in district competition with 66 students and 34 of them brought home medals in their individual/team competitions, including 10 gold medals. The winners were: Advertising 2nd Place: Luis Felipe, Broadcast Journalism 2nd Place: Andres Lonescu/Marcel Von Herment/Grant Archer, Business Calculations 2nd Place: Stefan Hengartner, Business Communications 1st place: Emilio Valenzuela, Coding and Programming - 1st Place: David Perez, Computer Problem Solving 1st Place: Jesus Capo, Digital Video Production 2nd Place: Michael Saco, Christopher Gomez, Economics 1st Place: Michael Milian, Economics 3rd Place: Matthew Corazon, Impromptu Speaking 3rd Place: Clyde Dozier, Insurance Risk Management 4th Place: Chris Yankana, Introduction to Business 3rd Place: Adrian Noy, Introduction to Business 4th Place: Andres Miranda, Introduction to Business Procedures 2nd Place: Leo Cruz, Introduction to Business Procedures 4th Place: Daniel Rebollar, Introduction to FBLA 4th Place: Daniel Volpe, Introduction to Financial Math 3rd Place: Lukas Bleichner, Introduction to Financial Math 4th Place: Patrick Valerius, Introduction to Information Technology 1st Place - Justin Parrondo, Introduction to Public Speaking - 3rd Place - Dominic Alberty, Marketing Team 1st Place: Anthony Graubard and Angel Toro, Networking Concepts 2nd Place: Matthew Lopez Calleja, Organizational Leadership 3rd Place: Thomas Packert, Personal Finance 4th Place: Nick Richards, Public Service Announcement Team 1st Place: Daniel Diaz and Jose Fernandez, Public Speaking 2nd Place: Weikkang Hu, Sales Presentation 1st Place: Carlos Mesa, Securities and Investments 3rd Place: Andres Celis, Securities and Investments 4th Place: Sebastian Delatorre. The team will be representing Dade County in the State competition in March.

We also thank the rest of the students who, although did not win a medal, worked very hard and were an integral part of the overall team. Special thanks to Mr. Corazon, Mr. Moritz, Mr. Larrubia, Mr. Scholer, and Mr.  Delgado who helped prepare the students throughout the process. 
Debate Competed at Fairchild Challenge/Angel Toro Wins Top Speaker at Sunvite
AP Environmental students Javier Hernandez, Julen Huarte, Thomas Packert, and Matthew Rockwell competed in the 16th Annual Fairchild Challenge Debates against 42 teams from Miami-Dade/Broward.  They tackled environmental issues at the local, state, federal and international level. The team of Julen and Matthew made it to the final round after defeating teams from Archimedean, Alonzo & Tracey Mourning, Braddock, Jose Marti Mast, Hialeah, and Terra in preliminary rounds. The team of Javier and Thomas narrowly missed making it to the final round, but did have big wins against Robert Morgan, Hollywood Christian, Imater Prep, Hialeah Miami Lakes, and MAST Academy.  Thank you to Ms. Taylor for preparing these students.

The Debate Team had an outstanding showing at the 10th Annual University School Sunvitational Tournament held at Nova Southeastern University. Lincoln-Douglas Debater and team president, Angel Toro, finished the preliminary rounds undefeated with a 6-0 record and was ranked the top speaker of the tournament.  Overall, the team did well in a pool of 95 debaters spanning NY, FL, AL, and TX. 
Richard Estrella and Anthony Campos Display Work at Beaux Arts Exhibition
Junior Richard Estrella and Senior Anthony Campos had art displayed at the prestigious Beaux Arts Student Exhibition at the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami. Out of the hundreds of artworks submitted throughout Miami-Dade County, only 60 were chosen. Thank you to art teachers Mr. Isenberg and Mr. Santa Maria.
Marcel Van Hemert Placed 1st in the US Geography Olympiad
Sophomore Marcel Van Hemert placed first in the US Geography Olympiad & International Geography Bee National Qualifying Exam as well as the US History Bee National Qualifying Exam (JV Division), surpassing competitors from American Heritage, Ransom Everglades, and Archimedean.  He will be representing Columbus and the State of Florida at the upcoming  events in April, 2018 in Arlington, VA and possibly in Berlin, Germany.  
Congratulations to our Fall Sports Miami Herald All-Dade Athletes
Bowling: Giancarlo Perez
Cross Country: 
Deshay Fernandes
Football: Jeramy Passmore, Robert Crockett, Luis Cristobal and Henry Parrish
Golf: Sharif Amastha and Roberto Nieves.

Miami Herald All-Dade Fall Sports Listings
Basketball is Victorious at UM’s Wasco Center
Both our varsity and JV basketball teams were victorious in the annual rival games against Belen Jesuit at the University of Miami’s Wasco Center. Congratulations to Coach Lorenzo, Coach Landera and all the players.   It was a special moment when Oscar Ortiz ‘88 and the SebastianStrong Foundation, presented a check for $100,000 to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center during the game.  We look forward to seeing our Varsity team compete in the playoffs.
We also congratulate the freshman team (20-1), led by Br. Kevin, for winning the North Broward Prep Tournament Championship Game against Belen. 

Wrestling Team Captured 2nd Place at Tri-County Championship
The varsity Wrestling Team captured the 2nd place team trophy at the 4th annual Tri County Championship where 27 of the state’s top ranked teams from Dade/Broward/Palm Beach and select teams from Naples/Orlando/Jacksonville competed.  Seven Explorers won medals but it was a total team effort by all to bring home the runner-up trophy.   Sebastian Melguizo won 1st place while teammates Justin Valdes and Charles Huffman won 2nd place.  Earlier in the week, the team broke a season record number of team victories by winning their 37th match with only 5 losses.  Good luck to Coach Husk and the team as they will be competing in the G.M.A.C. Conference Championship this weekend.  

Soccer Ends Season at District Semi-finals
Our Varsity Soccer team had a good season, making it to the District 15 5A Semifinal. They finished with a record of 11-9-2 and was the first and only team in the county to ruin Miami Beach and Palmer Trinity’s undefeated regular season records.  The JV Team went undefeated and won the local JV tournament. JV players also scored a record 76 goals and only conceded 7 goals. Congratulations to Coach Stewart and the team.

Guidance Department News:
It has been a busy month for our guidance department which has:
-Visited all of the Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior English classes to discuss PSAT scores, Naviance and the Road to College.
- Visited with the Junior and Freshman parents to distribute and discuss PSAT scores.
- Visited with Seniors about their college acceptances and pertinent college information.
- Guidance counselors will be hosting individual one-on-one conferences with parents after the business day to discuss any concerns.
46 Juniors Went On Florida College Tour
The second Florida College Tour of the year was attended by 46 juniors and four guidance counselors.  The students participated in information sessions that covered admission criteria along with a walking tour of each campus. The schools visited were: University of Central Florida, Florida State University, University of Florida, University of South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University, and Florida Polytechnic Institute (pictured).
Columbus Students Joined the March for Life in Washington D.C.
A delegation of nine students from Columbus made the pilgrimage to Washington D.C. to join the March for Life, the largest pro-life event in the United States. During the trip they were able to meet several activists and members of our legislature, including Senator Marco Rubio. Thank you to Rev. Dr. James Dugard for accompanying our students on the trip.
Explorers Doing Business With Explorers
Columbus’ New Business Directory
Have you ever needed to find a business like a general contractor, a law firm, a realtor, an auto repair shop, etc… and wondered if there is a Columbus alum or parent in the industry that you can work with? Well now there is a resource that will allow you to find businesses that are headed by Columbus alumni and/or parents and sorted by the type of business. The directory officially launched in January, 2018 and already has over 100 businesses.  This is a free service which provides great networking and promotion within the Christopher Columbus High School community. This service is exclusively available to the Columbus alumni, alumni parents, and parents of current students. It is designed to help strengthen the Columbus Network.
Log onto to access the directory and register your business today. If you have any questions, please contact Alumni Director Barbara Branas at 305-223-5650 X 2242, /
Interested in Hosting a French Exchange Student?
If you would like to host a French Exchange Student through Inspired Gateways, please contact our admissions director Mr. Marinelli at or our French teacher Mrs. Pugh at The student that they are looking to place, Gaspard Susini, attends Saint Jean de Passy in Paris, the same school as our Fall Exchange Carl. Gaspard is 14 years old, enjoys sports (tennis/karate), and loves travelling. 
Cyber Safety Expert, Richard Guerry, Speaks to Columbus Family
Nationally renowned cyber safety speaker, Richard Guerry, spoke to the Columbus family about the short and long term consequences of their actions when utilizing the rapidly evolving digital technologies irresponsibly. Mr. Guerry is the founder of the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell Phone Communication and author of multiple cyber safety books.
CCNN Covered Beckham’s Miami MLS Soccer Team Announcement
Our CCNN team was able to cover David Beckham’s announcement of his Miami Major League Soccer Team on January 30, 2018 at the Adrienne Arsht Center. The Beckham franchise will be backed by Columbus alumni Jorge ‘81 and Jose Mas ’89 of MasTec Inc., among others. CCNN’s President Chris Ahrendt along with students Gonzalo Londono, Antonio Castellanos, and David Perez were at the forefront of the press interviews and were able to interview Beckham and the Mas brothers among others (view their video report here).
Lego Drive Underway to Benefit San Juan Bosco Creativity Classes
Sophomore Javier Fernandez has launched a service project to benefit the children of the San Juan Bosco Learning Center in Little Havana. He has organized a collection of lego pieces for the center to use in their creativity classes. If you have any lego pieces you want to donate, put them in the red bins in the classrooms of Mr. Kumer, Mrs. Mallafre, or in the Mas Family Program office. Remember that "every piece counts" so please donate. 
Faculty Member Armando Rodriguez Selected by NASA as a Solar System Ambassador
Mr. Armando Rodriguez, our Physics/Project Lead the Way Engineering teacher and STEM Club moderator, has been selected by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to serve as a Solar System Ambassador.  In this role, he will act as a volunteer spokesperson for NASA, communicating the science and excitement of the organization’s space exploration missions and discoveries to people in their communities.   Mr. Rodriguez has incorporated project based learning and space flight simulators in the classroom as an interactive learning tool. He has mentored student teams in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, FIRST FTC Robotics and numerous other academic and engineering competitions. As a former engineer, he supported multiple programs with mechanical engineering, computational fluid dynamics analysis, test data analysis, and design for underwater vehicles, thrusters, structures and electronic equipment assemblies.  Congratulations to Mr. Rodriguez!
Mrs. Sara Pita Becomes College Counselor
Mrs. Sara Pita, who has worked as the Mas Family Program Coordinator for several years, has taken on the role of College Counselor.  With the addition of Mrs. Pita, Columbus now has two College Counselors.  Ms. Pita will work with students with the last names that end in (A-L) and Ms. Rafuls has (M-Z).  Although their focus will be on advising seniors and juniors, they will meet with students from all grade levels. 

Luis Collazo ‘12 Joins Faculty
Welcome to Luis Collazo, alumnus from the class of 2012, who has joined the Columbus faculty as a permanent substitute teacher. He will also be assisting our librarian Br. Edmund Sheehan. 

2018 Colin Myrtetus & Irene Culmo Memorial 5K
Will you go the distance for Columbus? Join us for our annual Colin Myrtetus & Irene Culmo Memorial 5K Race & Fun Walk on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Zoo Miami! Runners and walkers are welcome.  All proceeds benefit Christopher Columbus High School.  REGISTER HERE.

Upcoming Dates to Remember:

August 16: Seniors Report to Purchase Parking Permits (9:00am – 12:00noon, Room A-12)
August 17: Orientation for Freshman (in Gym) and Transfer Students (in Café), 7:45am – 12noon
August 18: New Parents Reception (7:00 – 9:00pm, Cafe)
August 20: First Day of Classes - All students report (7:45am – 2:45pm, regular full day)
August 21: New Parents Meeting A-L (6:00 – 8:00pm, Cafeteria)
August 22: Picture Day for all students
August 22: New Parents Meeting M-Z (6:30 – 8:30pm, Cafeteria)
August 24: Beach Bash, school dance (7:00pm – 11:00pm)
August 28: Back to School Night (9th & 10th grades, 6:00 – 8:00pm, Cafeteria)
August 29: Back to School Night (11th & 12th grades, 6:00 – 8:00pm, Cafeteria)
August 30: 60th Anniversary Opening Mass with Archbishop (8:00 – 9:30am, Gym)
August 31: Freshman Field Day (7:45am – 2:45pm)
Christopher Columbus High School | 3000 SW 87 Avenue | Miami, FL 33165 | (305) 223-5650
Christopher Columbus High School is a private, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory high school, conducted by the Marist Brothers of the Schools. We aim to make Jesus Christ known and loved, as we prepare young men for higher education and for their continuous challenge of harmonizing faith, culture and life. We foster a family spirit among all who are committed to the success of the school and promote opportunities to work together as a community of learners. 

Columbus is fully accredited by AdvancEd and a member of the National Catholic Educational Association.