Philip Wang bids farewell; students honored at luncheon

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A huge farewell dinner was held at Tropical Chinese for Director General Philip Wang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami. As Philip’s favorite restaurants, Tropical Chinese was an appropriate location for this occasion.

Philip has been called back to Taiwan after many years of service to our community as a Rotarian and representative of his country. Philip, who also is a Coral Gables Rotarian, will be greatly missed but expects to return again in the near future. More than 120 friends, including many Rotarians, gathered to wish him well and reminisce. A video produced by his staff was entertaining and a beautiful tribute to this great diplomat.

The Independent Schools of South Florida celebrated its 28th annual Star Luncheon at the Doubletree MACC Hotel on Apr. 18 attended by some 55 of its member schools honoring outstanding students with medals and certificates. Among the schools represented in the Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Brickell areas were St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School whose star students were Adriana Carvalho, Gonzalo Mendoza and Sirikorn Unsri; St. Theresa Catholic School with students Enrique Ferrer, Valentina Guerrazzi, and Fernando Sanchez; St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School whose stars were Carolina Caceres, Alexqnder Jorge and Kathyn Ortiz; St. Huge Catholic School with students Andrea Altamirano, Justin Aguiar, and Danialle Medina; Ransom Everglades with star students Gaurav Gajavelli, Yara Haddad, and Alexandra Henriquez; Riviera Day School and Riviera Preparatory with students Isabella Siu, Grace Williams, Isabella Briatore and Thomas; Metropolitan International School with students Leila Boyer, Lou Lou Hauser and Vaugn Harrington, and Gulliver Schools with their stars Daniel Bayer, Archer Bellas, Nicole Herrera, Cassandra Kraft and Victoria Cristina Lainez.

The GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club, whose members come from all over South Florida, continues supporting this organization of accredited independent schools hosting their spelling and geography bees year after year at their historic clubhouse in Coral Gables.

Kudos to the organizers ISSF president Cheryl Rogers, ISSF executive director Dr. Teri Logan, Alicia Casanova, and many others who volunteered to help with this massive event attended by nearly 800 people.

On hand representing the club with this writer and accepting a sponsor recognition was 2016-18 CGWC president Deborah Van Stone, who also represents so well Gulliver Schools. This was one of Debi’s last events as club president prior to handing the gavel over to 2018-20 president Arely Ruiz.

In other student news, Junior Orange Bowl president Frandley DeFilie recently presented a total of $5,000 in scholarships to six students at the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Scholar-Athlete Luncheon. During the luncheon, one male and one female student from each of the 38 public schools in Miami-Dade County were honored for their achievements in athletics and in the classroom.

In other JOBC activity, the Junior Orange Bowl’s Sports Ability Games Committee recently provided support to adaptive athletes at a MDCPS Track & Field Event at Braddock High School. More than 200 students participated in the 60-meter, 100-meter and 200-meter races, and field events.

The Junior Orange Bowl is a great way to get involved in community service and always needs volunteers. Those interested in learning more about their many events and volunteer opportunities should visit or call 305-662-1210. Finally, A Safe Haven for Newborns held its Annual Golf Tournament on Apr. 27, at Trump National Resort, a long time host for this fundraiser. Players enjoyed a boxed lunch and drinks before tackling the course on a drizzly afternoon. Lots of laughs and partying transpired before sirens blasted signaling lightning strikes.

It was not as bad as it seems. Most golfers had completed nine holes, enough for prizes, and all the players got a voucher to play another day. The afternoon concluded with dinner, awards, a silent auction and even a raffle, all of which raised lots of money to support the work of A Safe Haven for Newborns that has now saved the lives of 270-plus infants in the past decaade. Founder Nick Silverio thanked all who participated and sponsored the event and, in particular volunteers like Gina Perez and Marti Bueso.

For information on how you can support or register, visit

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Active in many non profits, she received numerous awards across the community. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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