Student Spotlight – Rafael Reyes

Student Spotlight - Rafael Reyes


Coral Gables High senior Rafael Reyes has only been in the United States for six years, legally emigrating from Cuba. As a child, he took English in school making his transition from a student in Cuba to a student in America much easier.

“I came with the basics — how to say colors, good morning, good afternoon, good night. Most of the stuff, I learned it here,” he said. “I got here in sixth grade.”

The first year he arrived, Reyes moved to ESOL II and by eighth grade no longer needed the supplemental class.

“I would picture in my head the words in Spanish and translate them,” Reyes said. “When I was in seventh or eighth grade, it was confusing.”

Since then, he has discovered he loves the English language and considers it easy. This year he is taking a college dual enrollment class in English as well as algebra and Spanish.

He is interested in law and has taken law classes every year in high school including civil law, criminal law and court procedures.

“We did a lot of trial practice,” Reyes said.

This year he is taking constitutional law.

Reyes plans to apply to Florida International University, the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida. His long term goal is to become a lawyer.

“I like criminal law or civil,” Reyes said.

Reyes is a nice guy who likes to help others. When he was in a technology class, he used the knowledge he gained to teach senior citizens learn how to use the Internet. His grandmother had been invited to a computer class at a library, so he went and volunteered to help.

He continues to help his family with computer skills. Most didn’t have access to computers until they arrived in the U.S. and needed tutoring in order to learn how to use one.

— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld

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