It was planned as a pep rally for high test scoring.
But it equally became an impromptu rally for the University of Miami’s NCAA tournament basketball fortunes at West Kendall’s Winston Park K8 Center on Mar. 21.
On stage before hundreds of students, teachers and administrators, University of Miami president Donna Shalala appeared to encourage students on the school’s annual “Red and Black Day” when a pep rally and intramural football game help motivate students for FCAT testing.
But when joined by the UM’s mascot Sebastian and Winston the Wildcat, Shalala also became head cheerleader for hoops as well as academics when yells rang out to support the UM basketball team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference title and championship, followed by a “March Madness” run in the NCAA tournament.
“President Shalala’s speech was spectacular,” said Maria Moscoso, Winston Park Center’s PTSA president. “It was like a commencement address, inspiring the students, encouraging them to be champions, too.”
Winston Park K8 Center, with approximately 1,250 students, has been an A-rated school for 11 years, Moscoso noted.
“Even with the current economic turndown, our school has continually excelled. It was an awesome day.”