Christopher Columbus High School

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

November Principals Newsletter 2017

From the Office of Principal David Pugh

Thanksgiving is the time to put your iPad and cell phone down, worry less about yourself and more about thanking those important people in your life who have made sacrifices for your happiness and well-being.  This holiday is more about giving than receiving….it is the time to provide compassion and empathy to those less fortunate.  I am so proud of our Columbus family who every year come together during this time, through our different drives and service activities, to help others in need enjoy the holidays.  
As we start to prepare for the joyous Christmas season, let us remember to count our blessings and give thanks to God for everything we have today!
82 Explorers Received the Sacrament of Confirmation
On November 9th, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation at a beautiful liturgy held at St. Brendan Catholic Church.  He confirmed 82 Columbus students who were ready to receive the fullness of Christian initiation.  Thank you to our confirmation team of Ms. Rayneri, Mr. Croke, Mr. Danny Rodriguez, Br. Michael, Br. Tom, Deacon Dugard, Br. Kevin, and Mr. Gonzalez who have been training and mentoring our young men since the beginning of the school year.  
Start of Advent is Celebrated With Prayer Service
Br. Eladio and the Squires commenced December by celebrating the beginning of Advent with a prayer service in our Genevieve Abraham Chapel.  The students ended the service by lighting up a beautiful Nativity. 

Lecture on Appropriate Use of Social Media
We also were fortunate to have had retired Miami-Dade police officer Danny Villanueva ’83 speak at the Principal’s breakfasts about the appropriate and inappropriate use of social media.
STEM Team Advances to Semifinals of Conrad Challenge
The STEM team advanced in the Cyber-Technology and Security category to the semifinals of the 2018 Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge. The team is preparing for the finals and hopes to present their concept at the Innovation Summit in April 2018 at the Kennedy Space Center.  Congratulations to Jesus Capo, Chris Perez, David Perez, Alex Cordero, and Michael Cassidy and special thanks to moderator Mr. Rodriguez.
Columbus Hosted Debate Tournament
Columbus played host to a Miami-Dade County After-School Debate Tournament with close to one hundred students competing.   
The Columbus sophomore team of John Reyes and Matthew Wolinsky went undefeated in the pool of 16 teams and finished the tournament in first place in Public Forum Debate. Sophomore Gabriel Perez finished in 3rd place in Dramatic Performance.  In Big Questions Debate, the freshman duo of Michael Denis and Christopher de la Viesca finished in third place.   Thank you to Mr. Martinez, Mr. Ciocca and Mr. Bello.
CCNN Live Placed 2nd in Nation for Sports
Their 2nd Story Aired on PBS

CCNN Live placed 2nd in the nation in the sports category in the Student Television Network competition.  They won for their piece on Jose Alvarez and his wife Carmen who participated in Miami’s  Ironman race.   View Winning Video Here
CCNN Live also had its second video package air on PBS through the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Program.  Seeds in the City, which aired several times in November, is a report on urban gardens in Wynwood.     
The Young Explorers of Art Visited the De La Cruz Collection
The Young Explorers of Art club visited the De La Cruz Collection in the Design District. Students were given a tour and learned about contemporary artists from around the world. They also visited the Wynwood Walls where they were able to see some of the latest murals by famous street artists. Thank you to moderator Mr. Peter Santa-Maria. 
Baseball Players Sign Letters of Intent
Congratulations to the six Columbus baseball players who signed national letters of intent during the first day of the early signing period:  EJ Doskow (Stetson University), Matt Alfonso (Manhattan College), Chris Bohrer (Indian River Community College), Ochi Benitez (Lynn University), Mike Mas (Wake Forest University), Danny San Pedro (University of Pittsburgh), and Christopher Mederos (University of Maine - signing at a later date).
360 Explorers Received Physicals Before Starting Winter Sports
With the help of our Head Athletic Trainer Br. Herb, Columbus has partnered with Nicholas Children's Hospital and the U.M. School of Nursing & Health Studies to provide mandatory comprehensive examinations to our student-athletes.  In total, 360 students received the exam which included an EKG. A leader in the area of sports safety, Columbus is the first high school in Miami-Dade County to start requiring the exam of all students that will play a sport.
Members of the Math Honor Society Placed 3rd in Barry University Olympiad
Congratulations to the Columbus team of Nicolas Sanchez, Manuel Arango, Matthew Lopez-Calleja, Lucas Rodriguez,  Carlos Silva, and Stefan Hengartner who placed 3rd at the Barry University Math Olympiad.  Lucas Rodriguez placed 8th in the individual event.  Thank you to Mr. Moro for accompanying and preparing the students. 
Midwest College Tour
The 30 Explorers who went on the Midwest College Tour visited eight colleges (U Michigan, Notre Dame, Loyola Chicago, Marquette, Lake Forest, Northwestern, U Chicago and Purdue).  Along the way, the group met with several alumni that attend the different universities. They are pictured with Brian Fenaughty '16 who currently attends the University of Chicago and gave them a personal tour of his school.  
The group also visited Willis Tower, Millennium Park, Giordano's Restaurant and had a conference call with The Profit Marcus Lemonis ’91 who treated the group to lunch at his restaurant, MLG in Lake Forest, IL.  Thank you to Mrs. Galvez-Cuesta, Ms. Vinson and Mrs. Cibran for accompanying the students.  
Football Team Reached Regional Finals
We congratulate our Varsity Football Team for another great season (10-2).  They worked very hard and were able to reach the Regional Finals. They ended the season with a devastating loss to Miami High (28-22).  We are proud of all the players and coaches and look forward to next year.

Cross Country Team Placed 6th at States
Deshay Fernandez is Runner-Up
The Varsity Cross Country team finished 6th at the State Championship, a great improvement from last years' 18th place finish.  They also placed 2nd in the Regionals.    
Senior Deshay Fernandes was the individual state runner-up with a 5K time of 15:44  (5:02 per mile for 3 miles). This ties for the second best placing in Columbus history for an individual.
Swim Team Competed at States
The 4x100 Relay Swim Team of Nando Rodriguez, Alejandro Basalo, Mathew Amor, and Brandon Vives competed in the state championship and finished 13th in the Freestyle Relay.  Brandon Vives qualified for the finals, placing 4th in the Butterfly and 5th in the 200 IM. Alejandro Basalo swam in preliminaries for the 200 Freestyle.
Basketball and Wrestling Teams Off to a Great Start
The Varsity Basketball Team posted a 55-33 road victory over Varela at a pre-season classic and defeated Terra 67-36 at the season opener.    The JV team also defeated Terra (71 – 29) while the Freshman team won its first two games against St. Thomas Aquinas (57 – 23) and Pace (68-20).  Congratulations to Coach Lorenzo, Landera, Br. Kevin and all the players.  

The Varsity Wrestling Team hosted the Pre-Season Classic Tri-Meet and defeated Coral Reef (75-3) and Sunset (66-15) to successfully start their season.  The JV team secured 4 victories at a 5 team dual meet at Coral Park High School.    Congratulations to Coach Husk and the team.

Columbus on Display at Open House
The Columbus administration, faculty, staff, and students came together in true Marist family spirit to put on a spectacular Open House.  We showcased all of our programs and facilities in an impressive way to the hundreds of students and their families in attendance.   If you know anyone who has an interest in attending Columbus, please have them contact Mr. Marinelli, our Admissions Director.
Food and Wine Festival
Wine, spirits, food and some of the best grilling in south Florida all come together at the 12th Annual Columbus Food & Wine Festival. This year’s event featured bourbon tasting, hand crafted wines and some of the best “from farm to table” cuisine. A fun time was had by all.  Special thanks to alumni director Barbara Branas and the alumni association for coordinating the event.  
Honoring Our Veterans
In honor of Veteran’s Day, we held a special ceremony at our Patriot Plaza to recognize all the Columbus alumni who have served in our armed forces.  Alumnus and Navy Seal, Lane Jackson ‘00, gave the key note address.  Special thanks to Michael Carricarte ’59 and his family who whose support has made Patriot Plaza and these events possible.  Thank you also to the Patriot Club led by Dr. Burrus.
Students Visit The Museum of Discovery & Science
Ms. Valdes took her Physical Science classes to the Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale.  They were able to see an exhibition on airplanes and had a fun learning experience.
Adolfo Anzola and Javier Lopez Win HOBY Award
Sophomores Adolfo Anzola and Javier Manuel Lopez are the winners of the HOBY (Hugh O'brien Leadership Award) and will be participating in one of HOBY’s 70 State Leadership Seminars.  The seminar weekend is filled with interactive activities and workshops that allow students to discover their personal leadership strengths and helps them learn to cultivate their skills to lead others and make a positive impact in their community.   Thank you to Br. John for guiding them in the endeavor.
Drug Prevention Program Hosts Lecture on Marijuana Affects on Brain Development
Mr. Keith Green and the Guidance Department sponsored an informational meeting regarding Marijuana and how it affects adolescent brain development. This was an excellent in-service presented by Ana Moreno of Family Recovery Specialists. More information is provided “On Campus.” 
Christopher Columbus High School is dedicated to its drug and alcohol prevention program.  We are committed to providing our families the support necessary in educating our young men throughout their most formative years. We work closely with the Miami Dade Police Department as we discuss the negative effects of smoking, drinking, and making poor decisions.  Together, we provide our students with educational resources such as presentations from local and national guest speakers.  Every student in the school is drug tested at least once during the school year.  We are committed to maintaining a drug free environment. We are also committed to a vapor free environment…where according to our student handbook, no student should have a vapor on campus and any student in violation of the policy will be suspended immediately.
Blood Drive
Over 85 students, parents, teachers, and staff participated in this year’s blood drive which was organized by The National Honor Society.  Special thanks to NHS moderator Lourdes Cofresi who coordinated the effort for the OneBlood organization.
Turkey Drive Collects over 500 Turkeys/Squires Deliver Thanksgiving Meals
The Columbus Turkey Drive was able to collect 576 turkeys and help many families enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.  The turkey donations went to the Miami-Dade County Police Department and Rockway Elementary.  Thank you to Mr. Gonzalez and to students Daniel Barrenechea, Javier Figueroa, Federico Maranges, Jorge Martinez, Brian Milan, Robert Polster, Diego Ramos, John Rivera, Paul Signori, Carlos Valderrama, Gregory Valerius, and Rafael Vergara for serving throughout the Turkey Drive.  Mr. Staiano, Mrs. Folch, and Ms. Meadows received the turkeys at the stations.  In addition, the Squires Club delivered Thanksgiving Meals to 57 families from St. James Church, St. Brendan Church and St. John the Baptist.  Thank you Br. Eladio.
Warm Ears, Warm Hearts – Winter Clothing Drive Through December 8th
Alejandro Morles, through his nonprofit, Warm Ears, Warm Hearts, has been collecting winter clothing to help economically challenged children in the Northeast.  The last day to donate items for this drive is December 8th
Items can be dropped off at the following classroom:  Mr. Crossman (A14), Mr. Pelegrin (B13), Mrs. Mallafre (C22), Ms. Cofresi (D15), and Ms. Cibran (Mas Bldg. 3rd Floor).
Toy Drive Running Through December 15th
SAC is sponsoring its annual Christmas Toy Drive, in collaboration with the Miami-Dade Police Department, NBC6/Telemundo, and Opa Locka Police Department.  We are collecting new, unwrapped toys for children up to age 17 through December 15th.     
Please have students bring toys to the SAC office.  Thank you in advance for your support and generosity.

$1,300 Raised For No Shave November
Thank you to all the students who participated in No Shave November.  The effort raised over $1,500 for the SebastianStrong Foundation which benefits Pediatric Cancer research.  I'm sure the boys enjoyed the time off from shaving.  Remember, on Monday it's back to being clean-shaven.  
Carter Burrus Day Held at Arbetters
Arbetter’s Hot Dogs honored our legendary teacher Dr. E. Carter Burrus at their “Carter Burrus Day” on November 10th.  Arbetters gave away Carter Burrus T-shirts and pictures while the Columbus band entertained the patrons.  Dr. Burrus was on hand at the event signing autographs and greeting many old and new friends.  The establishment chose to recognize the popular teacher for his loyal patronage and his service to the community.  
Become a Host Family for a French Student
We thank the CCHS community for making French exchange student Carl Chambert feel at home during his time at Columbus.  Carl is now going back to Paris after living an amazing experience in Miami.  We are now reaching out to families who may be interested in becoming a Cultural Exchange host family for a French student in Spring 2018 through Inspired Gateways.  The host family would have the student live with them for approximately one month. This program provides an excellent cultural experience for both your son and the young man from France.  If you are interested please contact  You can also contact Mr. Marinelli at or Mrs. Pugh at
Salsa Dancing Night at Columbus on Dec. 15th
Calling all our students who are interested in salsa dancing. Join us for a salsa dancing lesson in the Columbus cafeteria on Friday, December 15th from 5:00 – 6:00pm.  All high school aged girls are welcome.  There will be a limited amount of tickets sold in the SAC office for $5.00 per person. 
Students Thank Their Teachers
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, several Columbus students expressed how thankful they are to their teachers by writing them letters.  CCNN Live produced a video capturing the moments when the students read their letters to their teachers. View Video

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 Cognia and is a member of the Marist Association of Secondary schools, the National Catholic Education Association and the Independent Schools of South Florida.