Miami Country Day School is proud to announce that three of its students have been named semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program 1. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of more than 16,000 semifinalists in their 69th annual scholarship program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.
Miami Country Day School had 81 AP Scholars last year (including seniors who graduated). The College Board provides the following definitions of the distinctions:
AP Scholar: Granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.
AP Scholar with Honor: Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
AP Scholar with Distinction: Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
National AP Scholar: Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
Congratulations again to Miami Country Day School for these impressive academic achievements!
We're thrilled to extend an invitation to you and your family for a special event on Saturday, August 26th. Join us from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. as we kick off the school's 85th Anniversary with a family-oriented birthday party. The Franco Center will host interactive activities celebrating Spartan Pride, while kids can enjoy a fun activity on the field. Of course, there will be a birthday cake and ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth. We look forward to seeing you there! So, mark your calendar and seize this opportunity to celebrate among familiar faces and new friends alike. It's a laid-back afternoon, perfect for mingling and celebrating with fellow school members; a true celebration of what makes us a strong and united MCDS family.
Our Cover Star this month is Mariandl Hufford, President and Head of School at Miami Country Day School.
In honor of the 85th Anniversary of MCDS, we thought you’d love learning more about the school’s first female Head of School. Mariandl opens up about her career path, family life, and what inspires her about MCDS.
The commencement issue of the Beacon magazine, the official literary magazine of Miami Country Day School, is an annual publication that honors the graduating class. This year’s Commencement highlights the yearlong shared moments, milestones and community celebrations of the Class of 2023 and is a treasured keepsake for the graduates, their families, friends and serves as a living history of the many accomplishments of the class of 2023. To share in the Spartan Pride please view below:
Miami, FL - Cristina Pla-Guzman, theatre teacher at Miami Country Day School, received an Honorable Mention at the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, presented by the Tony Awards. The award, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, recognizes theatre educators who have demonstrated a positive impact on the lives of their students and their communities. Pla -Guzman has crafted and directed student performances in various local and national competitions where her students have earned accolades and recognition for their talent and creativity.
Pla-Guzman was among 10 educators who received honorable mentions from a pool of candidates submitted by members of the public. During the 77th Annual Tony Awards ceremony.
Our school's President & Head of School, Mariandl Hufford, congratulated Pla-Guzman for her well-deserved honor. "We all know Cristina is an inspirational and life-transforming teacher, but it sure is wonderful to have an outside panel of experts confirm this." She writes. "When you see Cristina in these last few days of the school year, please be sure to congratulate her for this well-deserved honor!"
Pla-Guzman expressed her gratitude for the recognition and thanked her students, colleagues, and family for their support. Watch the video below to view what was submitted to the panel.
We are absolutely bursting with #SpartanPride as Dr. Nima Rouhanifard has successfully completed his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania! 🎉
His dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to education have not only inspired our students but also elevated our school community. Dr. Rouhanifard's pursuit of academic excellence sets an outstanding example for all of us at Miami Country Day School. 👏
Congratulations to Guillermo Ouvina, the recipient of the 2023 William J. Creeden Humanitarian Award! 🌟 Guillermo personifies empathy, consideration, and a personal concern for the welfare of others, making him the perfect choice for this prestigious honor. For 14 years, he has been the friendly face that greets us with a smile, starting our day off right. He sets a warm and welcoming tone on our campus. Guillermo ensures our dietary needs are met and goes above and beyond to make us feel cared for. We are incredibly grateful for his unwavering devotion and are proud to call him a Spartan. Join us in celebrating Guillermo Ouvina
GATEway, or Global Access to Education, is Miami Country Day School’s signature study abroad program. Next year we will commemorate 10 years of bringing personalized educational adventure and cultural awareness to our Spartans. GATEway stands as a model that is emulated by schools across the country, as we do not rely on third-party providers to put together trips but, rather, tap into the expertise of our dedicated faculty and staff to create lifechanging experiences in-house.
As you look ahead to next year, I wanted to announce our GATEway programs for our middle school students so that you can plan accordingly:
For our rising 8th graders:
G8way Buenos Aires!
Dates: January 14-20, 2024
Now in its second year, we will travel to the city that is often referred to as “The Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires! Our adventure begins with an overnight plane ride from Miami to Buenos Aires. From there, we hit the ground running to fully take advantage of this amazing capital city. Buenos Aires is a melting pot of a multitude of global cultures, including Spanish, French, Irish, Italian, German, and Japanese, among many others. Combined with its rich indigenous history and Latin American soul, Buenos Aires offers something for everyone - and we will discover it all! Imagine a day spent living the life of a Gaucho on an authentic estancia. Delight in learning about and taking part in an Argentine cooking class while you sample a traditional asado, alfajores, and empanadas. Get accustomed to the art of drinking mate. Spend one day exploring the delta of the Río de la Plata by kayak. See the ins and outs of the vibrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, including La Boca, Palermo, Recoleta, and Puerto Madero. Walk with the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and see the Casa Rosada, including the balcony from which Eva Perón would address the people. Take a short trip across the Río de la Plata and spend a day in the quaint colonial town of Colonia, Uruguay. It’s all at your fingertips. At the end of our experience, our G8mates will truly understand why Buenos Aires, and Argentina in general, are unique cultural destinations that cannot be missed. G8way BA awaits!
For our rising 6th and 7th graders:
GATEway Jr: Québec
Dates: March 21-26, 2024
Our adventure begins in majestic Montréal. Just a 3-hour plane ride away from Ft. Lauderdale, our students will be transported to an amazing mix of cultures… part Canadian, with a European flare, and always remembering its indigenous past. There, we learn about how this region came to be French-speaking with the Queen of England on its currency, taste some of the local dishes including poutine, visit the site of the 1976 summer Olympic games, take in Montreal Canadien hockey game, navigate the city by foot and metro, and become expert chefs in our personalized Canadian cooking class. To continue our journey, we make a 3-hour trek up north by train to the unique city of Québec. There, our students are transported back in time to a city steeped in French tradition. Of course, one cannot visit Canada in the winter and not have a dog sledding! We will spend some time with the locals, learning their traditions, enjoying maple syrup that we help to make and, perhaps, having a snowball fight or two. At the end of our experience, our Jr. GATEmates will truly understand why we all hold a special place in our hearts for our neighbors to the north. GATEway Jr. Québec awaits!
We anticipate that both programs will fill up, as space is limited. Registration will take place next September – be on the lookout for information when we return to school. Until then, get your passport ready, brush up on your Spanish and French, and get ready for the adventure!
Congratulations to our Global Studies Diploma Endorsement candidates officially became global citizens and scholars. Congratulations! The world awaits! (Missing in photo: Maya B, Audrey M H, Mariana D-C)
Students are wrapping up their year with several hands-on projects: building a board game in another language to teach the player about a country, designing and creating a commemorative plaque for a building, constructing a surfboard, proposing a passion project that can be implemented next year, designing and creating a cornhole set, just to name a few! We will celebrate their hard work with a trip to an exotic fruit farm and a field day on campus.
We are thrilled to announce that our athletic director, Chuck Sennett, has won the Chris Hixon Exemplary Sportsmanship Award for Section 4. This award honors athletic administrators who demonstrate the “Spirit of Sportsmanship” in their leadership and actions. The award was named in honor of the late Christopher Hixon, a former athletic director and wrestling coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Hixon was known for his love and dedication to his student-athletes and his community.
As such, The FIAAA congratulated Sennett on this well-deserved honor and thanked him for his outstanding service and contribution to interscholastic athletics in Florida. Chuck was honored at the FIAAA Annual Awards Banquet on May 7, 2023 in Orlando, FL.
We are so proud of Coach Sennett and all of his accomplishments, now and into the future. Go Spartans!
Heidi Hewes is a nonprofit organization that supports cancer research and patient care. Recently, they hosted a recognition luncheon to honor their volunteers and donors. Among the recipients of the awards was Josh Ader, a 12th grade student who has been volunteering with Heidi Hewes for over 10 years. Josh received a certificate of appreciation for his dedication and service. He has been very involved in various activities and events, always with a smile and a willingness to help. He is also a junior member of the organization, which allows him to participate in leadership and fundraising roles. Josh is an exemplary volunteer and a valued member of the Heidi Hewes family. Congratulations Josh, we are so proud of you.
This replica, as well as accompanying Holocaust artifacts, will be displayed on the field east of the security office and in a corner of the CFA lobby, respectively. As a reminder, this is a student-driven educational exhibit for which Miami Country Day School was selected to be a site. It is appropriate for students in grades 8-12. All 8th grade and 9th grade social studies/history classes will visit as part of their curriculum, and all 10th-12th grade students have been invited to attend on their independent study periods. As an educational institution that denounces any form of hatred, this exhibit supports Miami Country Day School’s quest to educate about the past so that we may better our future. Antisemitism has no place in our community.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mr. Glen Turf, Chief Officer for Global Initiatives, Equity & Belonging at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may read more about this impactful exhibit here and/or watch this video.
On Monday, March 6th, the school held another Kinder to College Day, which provided an excellent opportunity for Lower and Upper students to come together for a day of play. The beautiful weather provided the perfect backdrop for this fun-filled event, which allowed students to interact with one another and develop social skills while enjoying the outdoors.
Kinder to College mentorship initiative connects seniors with the youngest members of the community for mentorship and guidance. The program allows seniors to serve as "big buddies" and develop leadership skills while fostering a sense of responsibility and empathy in the younger students.
On Saturday, the 25th of February, the girls’ varsity basketball team of Miami Country Day School earned its 8th State Championship! It was an invigorating game with a final score of 54-38, and the Spartan fans were ecstatic about the victory. The hard work of the girls paid off, and they deserve all the praise for their outstanding efforts. The girls were under the excellent guidance of Head Coach Ochiel Swaby, and the entire coaching team also deserves recognition for their part in the championship win. The Miami Country Day School girls’ varsity basketball team has achieved something remarkable by winning its 8th State Championship. The girls have made their families, friends, teachers, and the entire spartan community proud.
Congratulations to the girls’ varsity basketball team of Miami Country Day School, and to the entire coaching team.
This year's Middle school Spirit Week at MCDS was full of fun activities and dress down days! Students and faculty came together to show their school spirit and show off their creative sides. Each day was packed full of fun themed activities, from tiki Tuesday where students dressed like tourist, to bringing something wacky instead of your backpack, and concluding on spirit day.
This was the perfect opportunity for the middle school community to show their school spirit and make some great memories.
Our Miami Country Day Girls Varsity Basketball Team are headed to the 3A girls' basketball final after a convincing 58-33 win over the Providence Stallions in the semifinal round of the 2023 FHSAA State Championships. Miami Country Day's performance in the semifinals was a testament to the team's hard work and dedication as they played an aggressive and determined game. The Spartans have proved time and time again that they have the talent and drive to be the best in the state.
Congratulations, the entire community is incredibly proud of you. The Lady Spartans will take on their opponents at 10 a.m. on Saturday for a chance to bring home the championship. Go Spartans!
Join us in congratulating Mariandl Hufford, President and Head of School, for being published in the National Association of Independent Schools' Spring 2023 magazine. This prestigious honor highlights the national prominence of Mariandl’s purposeful leadership. The article "Refocusing Community with a Mission-Centered School Pledge" emphasizes the importance of creating a shared sense of mission and community in independent schools. Our Head of School suggests that our mission-centered school pledge can help achieve this by outlining values and commitments that all members of the school community agree to uphold.
It provides examples of how our school highlights the benefits of involving all members of the community in the creation of the pledge. Overall, a mission-centered school can serve as a powerful testament for creating a cohesive and focused school community. Her insightful article, 'Refocusing Community with a Mission-Centered School Pledge', is a must-read for educators, learners and the entire independent school community. To read the article please visit the NAIS website at https://www.nais.org/magazine/independent-school/spring-2023/
Thursday through Sunday in Washington, D.C., our 10 intrepid Model UN delegates caucused, made motions and speeches, and represented Switzerland, the Marshall Islands, Madagascar, Belarus, and Suriname! The four-day event included caucusing, motions, speeches, workshops, and embassy tours.
At the end of the event, two ninth-grade delegates, Andrei and Phillip, from the Disarmament and International Security Committee, were recognized with a Verbal Commendation for their hard work and preparation. Congratulations to them and all the other delegates as well.
The trip was made possible by the hard work of chaperones Jessica Machado and Jon Saintil, and faculty members Jill Robert, Alice Florin, Bianca Ricart, and Jackie Gerry. The business office staff also deserves special recognition for their efforts.
This successful trip was a great learning experience for all involved, and a reminder of the power of international collaboration. More pictures from the group's time in Washington, D.C. can be seen here.
The MCDS Girls Varsity Basketball team had an unforgettable experience when @Nike invited them to the opening of their new store in Aventura Mall. The team was excited to meet three-time WNBA MVP and four-time Olympic gold medalist, Lisa Leslie, DBC Fitness Founder/Owner, David Alexander, and Nike representative, Kenzy Isnady. The Lady Spartans participated in a Q&A session and expressed their commitment to and love for basketball.
🚨🏀GAME DAY ALERT🚨🏀 Our MCDS Girls Varsity Basketball team is playing in the state semifinals against Providence High School on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd at 10:00am! Join us in cheering them on by connecting with Carroll Kelly to catch a ride on the fan bus 🚌 and tune in to the live stream on NFHS Network to watch the game!
It is a great achievement for our Spartan students, Kenneth, Max, Isaac, and Zak to earn Finalist status for National Merit. This prestigious recognition is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and academic excellence of these students. The National Merit Scholarship Program is a highly competitive academic competition that recognizes outstanding high school students based on their PSAT scores, academic achievements, and other factors.
Congratulations to Kenneth, Max, Isaac, and Zak for their impressive accomplishment!
Congratulations go out to our US art students and all their teachers! It is the collective effort of everyone that has brought these students to a high level of thinking and doing. As art students, Asher Hare and Debora Sirotsky have been standing out in their classes. Their hard work has paid off when they earned Silver Keys in the Fashion and Digital Art categories for their respective pieces, "Mangroovy" and "Russian Roulette." These two pieces will be displayed at the Rubell Museum, a prestigious art museum in the United States. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication that they have been recognized for their art. Asher Hare earned a Silver Key in the Fashion category for "Mangroovy," Debora Sirotsky earned a Silver Key for her digital painting in the Digital Art category for "Russian Roulette," and Isa Possin 11 earned an Honorable Mention in Photography for her piece, "Sonia."
This is a reminder that hard work pays off, and that anyone can achieve success with enough dedication.
On Wednesday, EBO was invited to attend New World Symphony’s first rehearsal of Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony. The experience was extraordinary. It made a visible impact on our students and provided motivation for our young musicians in orchestra. Part of what made it special was the hearing and seeing a live orchestra. But perhaps what was truly unique was the opportunity to hear professionals working on their craft, striving to make a collective musical statement. It wasn’t perfect…There were mistakes, there were discussions, and there were changes made as an ensemble and individually that made the music come to life. It was special!
Today our visiting students from Colegio Yapeyú in Corrientes, Argentina had the opportunity to meet with President and Head of School @mariandl_hufford. The students were warmly welcomed by the entire school community and had a chance to learn more about the school's educational approach. We are grateful for their visit and look forward to welcoming them back in the future. Thanks to everyone in our community for making them feel so welcome!
Over the past four days at six sessions in Boston, our 22 MCDS Model UN delegates caucused, made motions and speeches, and represented New Zealand, Korea, and two historical characters, Col. Emiliano Ramirez and Soong Qiling (Mme. Sun Yat-Sen) with distinction. We toured Harvard’s campus and attended workshops. It was a very full time and we came home tired and happy last night.
The thousands of delegates were part of a truly international conference; many of the top schools were from other countries. In their committees, students truly were able to work collaboratively with peers from all over the U.S. and the world. While awards are far from the only goal at a conference, after the four days of deliberation and writing, it was especially cool to see our two Head Delegates, Sophia and Scout, take home awards as Outstanding Delegate on the Legal Committee as South Korea (ROK) and Honorable Mention on the Futuristic General Assembly as New Zealand. We are so proud of them and all our delegates, several of whom gained valuable experience as novice or younger delegates.
Special shouts to my amazing fellow chaperone, Wyatt Ashby, Hiram Rosas, who guided and encouraged us, and Jill Robert, Alice Florin and the business office staff, Bianca Ricart, Iara Coltro, Jackie Gerry for their work in helping make this trip possible. Special thanks to all of you who teach these students too!
I hope this email finds you well! We are thrilled to invite you to THE STATE OF THE SCHOOL ADDRESS, presented by Mariandl Hufford, President & Head of School, along with Matthew Whitman Lazenby, President of the Board, and James W. Moore ’65, Chairman of the Board.
This is a night you won't want to miss! We will be unveiling the exciting campus master planning process and sharing all the latest updates and plans for the future of MCDS. This event will not only be about the future but also a celebration of how far we have come.
Enjoy delicious Hors D'oeuvres and cocktails while mingling with fellow MCDS supporters and leaders. This is an adult only event, so be sure to make arrangements for a fun night out.