Gloria’s Gab: Farewell dinner and students recognition top April events

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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. He will be greatly missed but expects to return again in the near future. More than 120 friends gathered to wish him well and reminisce. A video produced by his staff was certainly entertaining and a beautiful tribute to this great diplomat.

The Independent Schools of South Florida held its 28th Annual Star Luncheon at the Doubletree MACC Hotel on April 18th attended by some 55 of its member schools honoring outstanding students with medals and certificates. Among the schools represented in the greater South Miami area were Riviera Day School & Riviera Preparatory School whose star students included Isabell Briatore, Thomas dos Santos Lara, Isabella Siu and Grace Williams. Other schools participating were Our Lady of Lourdes Academy whose star students were Lillian Felipe, Evely Forte and Erin Eddenberg and Alexander Montessori whose students honored were Eva Battle, Marena Goodman, Vanessa Hinke, Gabriela Rombaut and Orson Swift. 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.

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. At 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. South Miami Senior High School’s Cindy Santana was one of those students presented with scholarship awards from the Junior Orange Bowl. Others scholarship award winners from Miami Dade high schools included Destiny Cepero, Hialeah Gardens; Jonathan Feliciano, Hialeah-Miami Lakes; Mia Thomas, Southwest; Levis Aguila Jr., Hialeah Gardens; and Edward Luca, Alonzo & Tracy Mourning High School. Congratulations to all.

In other action, A Safe Haven for Newborns held its Annual Golf Tournament on April 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 9 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 last ten years. 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

Coming up next is another fundraiser for a great cause on May 19th , the 4th Annual Marc Jaiden Foundation Gala to benefit programs that include vision screenings, sight restoration, glasses and more for those in need. This year’s event will be held at the Eden Roc Hotel Miami Beach, 6:30 p.m.. With the funds from this year’s Gala, the Foundation will be able to distribute eye wear to the Puerto Rican community and provide vision screenings both in Haiti and at the His House Children’s Home Back-to-School event in Miami. Tickets are $250 per person and may be purchased at

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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