The Learning Experience Fashion Show… big crowd, big success

The Learning Experience Fashion Show... big crowd, big success

The Learning Experience School’s older students model formal wear during recent Fashion Show fundraiser.

The Learning Experience Fashion Show attracted a crowd of more than 720 supporters for the school’s annual fashion show. The sheer joy of watching these special needs children strut their stuff with such joy left very few in the crowd with dry eyes. For this writer, it was one of the best afternoon’s ever. Not only was the show terrific but the silent auction was enormous thanks to our generous South Florida Community. For new Executive Director Ann Stith de las Pozas, this was her first show and one that may break records for attendance and fundraising.

With a theme of “Let’s Rock,” this 21st annual affair did just that on April 12, at the Doubletree Miami Airport Convention Center. As The Learning Experience School’s primary fundraiser, support for the fashion show is enormous and critical. In fact, many of their students are only able to attend the school through use of scholarship dollars raised at this affair. TLE counts among their generous sponsors and partners the likes of Dillards, Zayas Fashion, Miranda Production, Pete Diaz Production, A.J. Video, Vitagraphics and Moulin Rose Bakery, who continue to help them every year. Instrumental in the success of this event were the event chair Terry Alvarez-Arango, who has been the lead on this for more than 10 years together with her co-chair, Barby McDaniel. Also lending a hand was Henk Milne, a board member, and father of TLE student, Alexander, both made opening comments and helped kick-off the event.

The Learning Experience Fashion Show... big crowd, big success

Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga (left) and his wife Zulma are seen here with Hank Langston and John Krutulis at Becker and Poliakoff reception sponsored by Gulliver Schools.

For those unfamiliar with The Learning Experience School, it is a 501(c)3 not for profit, school for children and adults with developmental disabilities with the goal of maximum independence for each student. For more info on the school, visit .

Gulliver Schools hosted Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga, Florida’s next Chief Justice, and his wife Zulma. The couple had a busy schedule with meet and greets before the Justice Labarga spoke to a sell out crowd at the Coral Gables Chamber breakfast sponsored by Gulliver Schools. The night before, Gulliver hosted a reception at Becker and Poliakoff attended by the Labargas and numerous influential community leaders.

Those looking to enjoy the Kentucky Derby in a big way, will want to contact the Coral Gables/ South Miami Elks Club. Plans are underway for a great Kentucky Derby Party on May 3, from 4 – 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact Annie Goodrich at 305-668-1676.

For those who love music, you will not want to miss the 14th Annual Gala For Two Pianos to be held Saturday, May 3rd, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 4th, 4:00 p.m. at the Miami Conservatory of Music located at Mayfair Center, 2911 Grand Avenue, Ste. 400A, Miami, FL 33133.

The Learning Experience Fashion Show... big crowd, big success

Dave Barry autographs book for Pam Garrison following 200 Club Dinner.

The Unconservatory’s past Galas have presented the internationally recognized team of Kirk Whipple & Marilyn Morales, Duo Pianists & Composers, along with a thrilling array of renowned guest artists performing world premiers of original works and arrangements, as well as beloved traditional pieces, to enthusiastic local audiences. This year’s concert series once again features the Whipple-Morales Duo performing with world-class local artists Wayne Bumpers and Virginia Covarrubias. Look for works and arrangements for two pianos by Whipple & Morales, Manuel Ponce, Arturo Marquez and Nikolai Kapustin at this year’s event. The four pianists will join forces at the end of the concert in a thrilling finale for 2 pianos / 8 hands – that’s 40 fingers. Also on the program will be Outstanding Young Artist Stefan Kirkcaldy. For tickets visit or call 305-442-2283. Advance tickets: $15 general, $10 students & seniors, $10 groups of 10 or more by advance reservation.

Finally, a huge crowd gathered at the Country Club of Coral Gables for the 200 Club’s Spring Dinner that featured Dave Barry. The larger than ever crowd were thoroughly entertained by Barry who stayed around after the dinner to pose and sign books for his many fans. Michael Maguire is the current president of the 200 Club, an organization whose purpose is that of benefitting families of law enforcement officers and fire fighters who have died in the line of duty. Among the hundreds attending the event were Peter Bermont, Mark Mills, Bill Gautier, the Honorable Milton Hirsch, Hank Langston, Kirk Landon, Pam Garrison, and Izzy Reyes, to mention a few.

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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