This October marks the 100th anniversary of Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, formerly known as Coral Gables Elementary. To celebrate a century of educational excellence in our community, the school will host several events for students, parents, alumni, and the community, including a Centennial Gala at the iconic Biltmore Hotel on September 23rd and a rededication of the historic school auditorium.

Since opening in October 1923, Coral Gables Preparatory Academy has had a long and storied history. The school began as Coral Gables Grammar School with 39 students and just one teacher. It was financed by George Merrick, founder of Coral Gables, who believed that “beautiful things inspire higher ideals in the minds of children.” For this reason, Merrick commissioned the architectural firm Kiehnel and Elliot to build a school of Spanish colonial architecture. In 1971, the school was one of the first to integrate students of different races, breaking down barriers and promoting unity through education. It officially became a Coral Gables landmark in 1982 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places six years later.

Part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, this institution has laid a solid educational foundation for thousands of students over the decades. Teachers have devoted their entire careers to the school, and just seven principals have led it in its 100-year history. In 2011, the school’s name changed from Coral Gables Elementary to Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, increasing enrollment from PreK through eighth grade, with its middle school campus at 39 Zamora Ave., just a few blocks away from the main school building.

To commemorate the centennial, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is currently working on a $5 million renovation of its historic auditorium, the facade of the school along Ponce de Leon Boulevard, and the surrounding public areas of the building.

Many special events will be planned throughout the school year to celebrate the centennial. The Centennial Gala will kick it all off, with an evening of festivities at the historic Biltmore Hotel on Saturday, September 23, hosted by the Eagles Nest Fund, a non-profit organization that supports the school. The goal of the fundraising event is to raise $100,000 for a centennial of excellence, that will be used for outdoor enhancements at the school, including a new gazebo for art, science, and other educational projects, artificial turf for the courtyard, and improvements to the Merrick Garden, which was dedicated during the school’s 60th anniversary. Members of the community, alumni, and families are invited to the gala to support the fundraising goal. To buy tickets to the gala, visit 

The Centennial Gala is sponsored by the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the University of Miami, Jackson Health System, Florida Power & Light (FPL), Gunster Law, Kairos Roofing, Rua Realty, and the Office of County Commissioner Kevin Marino Cabrera.   For more information on Coral Gables Preparatory Academy’s centennial celebrations, or to become a sponsor of any of the events, please contact Luciana L. González, 305-609-2879,

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