CRSH IB Class of 2023 College Acceptance List





2023 M-DCPS Youth Volunteer of the Year Award






IB Silver Knight Nominees

By Emilio Garcia – Class of 2023






IB Cudas Decisions

By Mina Pomares – Class of 2023






IB Student Spotlight

By Mina Pomares – Class of 2023





IB Cudas Excelling in Sports

By Mina Pomares – Class of 2023






IB Teacher Spotlight

By Emilio Garcia – Class of 2023





 Acknowledging a Job Well Done



Dr. Veronica Valdes has been selected as one of the 2022 German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award recipients. This award is given annually in recognition of outstanding up-and-coming teachers who may have started a new program or revitalized an existing one, and contribute to their AATG chapter.


The students, parents of the German IB program as well as GIPA are so proud of Dr. Veronica Valdes!!!






Wake-Up IB

By Emilio Garcia – Class of 2023



It is my pleasure to announce the development of the IB Academy’s very own, brand new weekly morning show, Headed by Mercedes Rodriguez and Paola Perez, two of our very own IB Seniors, is a series of weekly videos uploaded to the Coral Reef IB Instagram account.


Each and every week, your very own IB Students will lead fun and innovative segments, doing everything from teacher interviews to fashion shows to trivia with IB Students.


Be sure to keep an eye out and check every Monday Morning for the latest episode of




Amazing Class of 2022

By Mina Pomares – Class of 2023



Congratulations to our phenomenal new class of IB Graduates!


Completing the IB Program is difficult enough, but they did more than just complete the program, they finished with flying colors!


While in the midst of working towards their goals, the class of 2022 juggled college applications while focusing on tests and CAS. They are now beginning the next chapter of their lives. In the end, it was all worth it.


We have members of the IB class of 2022 at colleges all around the country. The most popular of the schools this past year were University of Florida, Florida State University and Florida International University.


Coral Reef alumni have also spread around the country, studying at Stanford University, Columbia University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, and many more prestigious schools. There are even students studying in Barcelona at ESADE.


We are so proud of our IB Cuda Alumni! Continue to reach for the stars, Class of 2022!



Welcome Baby Cudas - Class of 2026

By George Pesin - Class of 2025





Welcome incoming freshmen to the IB Academy here at Coral Reef!


While this first year may seem a little scary, as soon as you get through that first semester, it will become more and more routine, and just easier altogether.


You guys are definitely in a challenging program, but with the right effort, you will begin to thrive and excel, and we are certain you will find a home for yourself here at the Reef.


Good luck to you all and we wish you a great year!






2023 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists






2022 IBIS Foundation Scholarship Winners

By Emilio Garcia – Class of 2023



The IBIS Scholarship is awarded annually to four of the best seniors that Coral Reef’s IB Academy has to offer. These students have worked tirelessly for the past four years to become the best versions of themselves, and this scholarship is the IBIS Foundation’s way of appreciating their tenacity and effort. We took the time to ask these scholarship winners a simple question: What does it mean to them to be awarded the IBIS Scholarship?


Carolina Unzueta:

“To me this scholarship proves that I am able to accomplish my dreams. My four years in the IB program has been able to provide me with the college readiness along with some finance to propel me into my dream of research in the pharmaceutical sciences.”


Ally Aguado:

“Being selected for the IB scholarship was such an honor. It felt like such a great reward after four years of really hard work and I am very grateful for it.”


Edward Cortez:

“Being selected for the IBIS scholarship, to me, serves as a reflection of the reward for working throughout the past four years. I’m especially grateful because it reminds me to stick by everything, like I did to IB, regardless of something’s difficulty. “


Savannah Sarafoglu:

“To me, being selected for the IBIS scholarship was an honor and a fulfillment of my decision to be in the IB Program. I am grateful that I was chosen, and I feel that IB has helped me to grow as a student and will help me in college.”


We wish our IBIS scholars the best of luck in their future endeavors. We cannot wait to see you guys change the world! 




Introducing our new 2022-2023 IBIS Foundation Co-Presidents

By George Pesin – Class of 2025



Recently the IBIS Foundation held its annual elections for IBIS Officers. These parent volunteers are the backbone of IBIS and assist in ensuring that IB students receive all the support they need to complete the arduous diploma programme. This year, two co-presidents were elected, Mariana Pesin and Renata Marjem. Together, they will work to keep the IBIS Foundation alive and healthy. Here are a few words from them to the IBIS families.


Mariana Pesin



“It is such an honor to serve as co-president of Ibis. I am so looking forward to working with Renata and the rest of the board and Ms. Wise and Ms Ortiz.


We are very excited to be able to be on campus next year and support the students and staff so that we all have a great and fun year.”


Renata Merjam



“It will be a pleasure to work together with Mariana as co-president of IBIS. She is one of the very first people that welcomed me when I moved to Miami and I admire her commitment and hard work.


With my two sons who have been in the IB program since their primary years in Switzerland, and with one of them graduating from Reef this year, I hope I can bring my experience and ideas to support our students, families, teachers and administrators so we have a great and successful year!”




IB Teacher Sportlight

By Mina Pomares – Class of 2023



As hard as it is to be an IB student, it is just as difficult to be an IB teacher. These individuals are responsible for cultivating a group of students who engage in diverse thought and become well rounded adults. The power an IB teacher has is that of fostering an environment in which students feel free to explore their ambitions and build a foundation for their future endeavors. Teachers such as Ms. Gessen understands the impact of their role as a leader and undertake the task with utmost devotion. Consequently, becoming a pivotal individual in not only the classroom but the lives of students as a whole. One becomes enriched by not only the curriculum of IB, but by the mode in which their education is communicated. Hence, a great acclaim is established for instructors such as Ms. Gessen for their role not only as teachers, but as role models. This interview provides insight into Mrs. Gessen’s dual influence on all her students. 


What is your favorite part of teaching IB Spanish?

My favorite part is my students. IB students tend to be inquiring, open-minded and very participatory, this makes classes dynamic. Also, teaching IB Spanish is not only teach grammar connected to the Hispanic culture, but also to guide my students to be able to use the target language within a conceptual framework by applying the language depending on the recipient, the content and the purpose.


Is teaching IB different from teaching AP or Honors classes? If so, how is it different and how did you adapt?

Yes, teaching IB is very different because the IB program has its own philosophy and a different approach to teaching. I am adapting to teach IB because I have been teaching it for many years and I am in constant communication with the IB org. Also, each time there is a change in the Spanish exam our school sends me to workshops to be updated.


How did you adapt to this school year after the struggle of last year (during Covid-19)?

Last school year was a very difficult year that had an impact on the academic performance and emotional health of many students. I took different curses related to mental health, and more than ever, I tried to tailor instruction to meet my students' individual needs.


What is your favorite part about being a teacher?

My favorite part is my students because they transmit me a special energy. For me it is a blessing and a great responsibility not only to be able to guide them in learning a language and understand and accept other cultures, but also to have the opportunity to leave a positive mark on them, just as each one of them has left on me.


Do you have any advice for incoming IB students?

Start the program with optimism and happiness to be able to go through a program that will give you many tools for your future.


Thank you, Mrs. Gessen for your time, and we are eternally grateful to have a teacher such as yourself in our IB Family.



IB Teachers, Best of the Bunch!!

By Emilio Garcia – Class of 2023



With a school as big as Coral Reef Senior High, it takes an exceptional teacher to be recognized as being outstanding at teaching and guiding her students. For this reason, we are extremely proud of two of our very own IB teachers for being awarded with the Best of the Bunch Award from the Coral Reef Administration.


Mrs. Barkow, IB Chemistry teacher, and Mrs. Moscone, IB Mathematics Analysis and Approaches teacher, both won this silly, but meaningful award, recognizing them for their hard work and dedication to their students.


By being named the Best of the Bunch, both teachers received a tiny banana figurine and a sash saying Best of the Bunch directly from principal Mrs. Berges. We would like to congratulate, and thank our teachers for their dedication to our IB family!


Mrs. Moscone, IB Mathematics

Analysis and Approaches teacher

Mrs. Barkow, IB Chemistry




Shining IB Cuda Students

By Mina Pomares – Class of 2023



The IBIS foundation wants to recognize and congratulate Krystal Li, an IB senior, for being a finalist in the 2022 Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the most reputable S.T.E.M. competitions for high school seniors, because of her project “Isolating and Characterizing Phosphorus Solubilizing Bacteria from Rhizospheres of Native Plants Grown in Calcareous Soils and Sediments”. She not only was selected from a pool of 1,805 applications, she brought a new perspective to a significant global issue. 


Krystal is more than an exceptional student. She is also a Silver Knight nominee in Journalism for being a writer for the Urban Health Media Project, as well as being the Layout editor for Elysium Literary and Arts Magazine, a Co-Editor in Chief of Baitline Newspaper, the first author of a published research paper in the Frontiers in Environmental Science Journal, Editor in Chief of IB in Blog and the Co-Director of the IB Memory Book staff. 


Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and we wish you well in your upcoming endeavors! 


Another up and comer, IB junior Ryan Sarafoglu, has made us beam with Cuda pride. Sarafoglu, as part of the cross-country team, not only became the crosscountry district champion 2021, he went on to place 11th at the state meet! 


A multi discipline runner, competing in both track and cross-country races, we are extremely proud of Ryan’s accomplishments as an IB Cuda! 


Good luck Ryan!


Krystal Li - Class of 2022

Ryan Sarafoglu, Class of 2023


Creativity, activity, service Hours (CAS)

By George Pesin – Class of 2025



Hey IBIS families, please remember to submit your monthly CAS hours! For a brief overview, CAS is a system through which your IB students can showcase their commitment to both their own development and that of their communities.


Each month, IB diploma candidates (Juniors and Seniors) must complete a minimum of one CAS activity, from the start of Junior Year until they graduate as IB seniors.


Do not forget to do your monthly CAS, and don’t be afraid to go above and beyond with CAS activities! Good luck IB Cudas! 






IB Student Spotlight

By Mina Pomares – Class of 2023



As we near the middle of the school year, the IBIS foundation would like to take the time to shine a spotlight on one of the exceptional IB seniors: Savannah Sarafoglu!


Over the years, Savannah has outdone herself in just about every aspect of her education. She has been recognized for her academic excellence as a NMSQT scholarship finalist, a Silver Knight nominee for English and Literature, and has even had an article written about her in Miami’s Community News.


Not only has she excelled in her academics, but she has gone above and beyond to give back to her community. Sarafoglu won the Girl Scout Gold Award for her project addressing the beauty standard. The young philanthropist spoke to fifth grade classes at Palmetto Elementary, and even published a book about the issue (which she donated to the school). Sarafoglu also volunteers at Lotus House, a shelter for homeless women and children. That wasn’t enough for her, so Savannah and her club, Girl Up, do drives for Lotus House, further positively impacting lives in her community. This extraordinary student is also the President of Spectrum (Gay-Straight Alliance), the communications manager for the National English Honor Society, and a member of the National Honor Society.


When she is not at school or giving back to the community, Savannah finds time to participate in extracurriculars. She plays the cello in the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and has attended a handful of writing programs, including a novel writing intensive at Columbia’s pre-college program and a writing workshop at Bard College.


Savannah Sarafoglu has exceeded all expectations as part of the IB program and all of the IBIS Foundation would like to acknowledge all of her hard work; it takes a whole lot of dedication to succeed in the ways she has.


Savannah was kind enough to give us some insight on how she manages to keep up with it all and be such an outstanding IB student.


What has been the most challenging part of the IB program?

The most challenging part of the IB program was learning how to adapt to the workload and get better time management skills. Once I figured out a good schedule, I was able to get through all my work much faster.


Is there any achievement or contribution you are most proud of?

I think I am most proud of my Girl Scout project, We Are Beauty, which is a book about beauty that seeks to break down traditional beauty standards. I was nominated as a Silver Knight semifinalist for it and I received my Gold Award.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself as a successful author who has hopefully published her first novel.


Are there any tips you have for current IB students so they can thrive as well as you have?

My tips are to study hard and don’t procrastinate. Setting a good schedule was key for me.


Thank you for your time Savannah, and we wish you the best on your journey to pursue higher education!



Shinning IB Cudas

By Emilio Garcia - Class of 2023




Coral Reef’s IB Program produces some of the best and most well-rounded students in all of Miami. Please join us in congratulating some of our student’s accomplishments both in and outside of the classroom!

  • The National Merit Scholarship Finalists
    • Ally Aguado
    • Savannah Sarafoglu
    • Rihanna Smith
    • Amanda Wilcox
  • The Silver Knight Nominees
    • Edward Cortez

    • Rohan Joshi

    • Krystal Li

    • Amanda Rey Dominguez

    • Savannah Sarafoglu

    • Pruthvi Shembade

    • Brianna Wall

Additionally, some of our students are also finalists for various other scholarships and competitions, and we congratulate them for being finalists and for taking the time to go above and beyond what it means to be an IB Student. We’re rooting for you!

  • The Posse Scholarship Finalist, Luca Mazzanti 

  • The Questbridge Scholarship Finalists
    • Jeancarlos Llerna
    • Rihanna Smith
    • Carolina Unzueta
  • The National Self Portrait Coding Competition for Girls Finalist, Ruby Montesino (11)

Lastly, but certainly not least, would like to congratulate some of our outstanding IB Cross Country Athletes, who recently competed and placed at the 2021 FHSAA Cross Country State Championships representing our school. Join us in congratulating

  • Lucas Oliveira (10)

  • Emily Gomez (11)

  • Ryan Sarafoglu (11)

  • Katelyn Williams (12)


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