MLA Celebrates 10 -Year Anniversary

By Carolina Rivero and Yovany Boada, Staff Writers

This school year marks Mater Lakes’ tenth year anniversary and to celebrate, the school has hosted events throughout the year including dances for Halloween and Valentine’s Day, a kickball tournament, a family barbecue and a time capsule burial. Under the leadership of Papa Bear, as Principal Rene Rovirosa is affectionately known around the school, MLA has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Students throughout the years have attended classes in the portables, at Mater Gardens, at a church, and finally on the campus we enjoy today – one with three buildings and over 2,000 students. After working in the public school system for many years, Rovirosa was offered the opportunity to help open a new school. Some current faculty members have also been with the school since its start. These include math teacher Rogelio Franco, science teacher John Branas, English teacher Suzanne Reif and Spanish teacher Ibis Sardinas. The first building was built in 2010, with the cafeteria in the center, and the second building was added in 2013. Alumni Kelly Marquez, who graduated in 2011, said, “I love this school. I made so many close bonds that I will have forever. The school has developed in such a beautiful way and Rovi has done so much and worked so hard to make the school what it is now with the help of the teachers.” Jonathan Cabrera, who graduated in 2015, said “I started attending Mater Lakes in the Fall of 2010, the same year the first building was completed. The school has changed greatly throughout the years with the inclusion of new buildings and a basketball court. MLA has also added amazing teachers which really made me glad that I was attending. I am now a Florida State University student and I feel like, through all the resources that they have provided, the schoolhas sufficiently prepared me for college.”

FUN FACTS:  The first class of seniors graduated in 2009. 

The land on which MLA sits once housed a Florida panther. 

When building the school, empty boxes of grenades and ammunition were found on the property. 

The original property had dozens of mango trees. 

A bunker existed where the basketball court is currently located.


Juniors Put a Ring on it


By Daniela Reyes Staff Writer

The Class of 2017 took their first step towards becoming upperclassmen on February 19th at the Doubletree by Hilton as they celebrated their Junior Ring Ceremony. This year, there were 206 students who bought their class ring. As they unboxed their prized rings for the first time, the class of 2017 sat in awe and admiration. There is an endless variety of designs and stones which can be used to customize a class ring. Ring prices can fluctuate, ranging from $300 to upwards of $1,000. Regardless of the cost, every ring represents a key moment in the high school lives of these newfound upperclassmen.

Breakfast Closes Senior Spirit Week


By Yovany Boada Staff Writer

Senior Spirit Week, which culminated with breakfast at the Rusty Pelican and a pep rally just for 12th graders, took place February 22- 26.

At the breakfast, Senior Superlatives were announced:

Most likely to succeed: Therese Cordero Garry Archbold

Most likely to be famous: Kamila Fernandez Jayson Correa

Everyone’s WCW/ MCM: Melanie Rodriguez Alejandro Cabrera

Best Eyes: Natalie Tovar Kevin Correa

Most likely to rule the world: Elizabeth Ruiz Kevin Perez

Biggest Sweetheart: Paola Ocampo Isaac Ghobrial

Most Talented: Janelle Lopez Saul Pineda

Most Athletic: Jennifer Ten Bryan Cartagena

Miss Unforgettable/ Mr. Unforgettable: Sabrina Gonzalez Christian Plasencia

Most Fashionable: Frank Ponce Melanie Bu

Best all around: Karyna Villalba Justin Millares

Million Dollar Smile: Adriana Gonzalez Judah Oluwabeminga

Cutest Couple: Vanessa Acebal Isaac Alonso

Attached at the hip: Gabriela Rodriguez Cileyne White

Class Clown: Melissa Perez Daniel Capo

Biggest case of Senioritis: Ruth Miranda Gabriel Wiles

Queen of Hearts Dance is a Hit

By Anikaris Ortiz Staff Writer

The Queen of Hearts Dance took place on Friday, February 12 in the main cafeteria. The night was a success— with over 500 attendees resulting in a net profit of more than $2,000. The money will be used to fund a big 10-Year Anniversary party for faculty, staff and alumni at the end of the year.

Marine Science Club Visits the Everglades


By Victoria Gayarre Staff Writer

On Thursday January 28th, the Marine Science Club took a field trip to the Everglades in order to learn more about the natural ecosystems that make up the nearby area in which they live. “Florida is known for the Everglades and not that many people at our school know too much about it. It is a great way to experience the wild and not in a tank, but still in a safe environment,” stated the club president 11th grader Samantha Valdes. The day was cold, the sky dark, and the air filled with rain, but it did not stop the club from driving about two hours away from school to the national park. It was the first time a club has ventured out on boat to open waters as a field trip, making the club all that more excited. On the boat ride, members and chaperons were able to learn about the plants that make up the area, witness a plenitude of different birds (some which had even migrated for the winter), and spot bottle-nose dolphins gliding through the water in their natural habitat. “I had a lot of fun being there, and watching the dolphins leap in and out of the water was incredible. I will never forget that feeling,” said Junior Melany Freytes. The Marine Science club has only been running for half a year with high school science teacher Antonio Prieto sponsoring the club. Founder and President Valdes hopes they will continue to grow in the future. She explains, “I love managing everything and seeing the club grow as it is. I have a passion for the ocean and I would like to inspire other people as well.” The club plans to go down to a marine rescue site in the Florida Keys in April or May. They hope to continue to expand, with expectations for the future to inspire and motivate members and other students to contribute to the preservation of the wild.

Rebirth of Theatre at MLA


By Christian Plasencia, Staff Writer

New film and drama teacher Krista Flores has revamped the theater program at Mater Lakes Academy. In years prior, the full potential of the school’s theater program had yet to be tapped into. This year, Flores has joined the Bear family with a mission to unlock the true ability of the student body’s capability in the performing arts. “When Principal Rovirosa approached me about becoming a theatre teacher at Mater Lakes, I was told there was not much of a drama program,” explained Flores. “My main goal was to establish a foundation of theatre culture.” Flores wasted no time in her first year at Mater Lakes by taking the lead as the sponsor for the Thespian Society, the school’s theater club. “I’ve always been interested in the performing arts, but I never saw myself acting in front of crowds,” said club president Janelle Lopez. “This year, Mrs. Flores has given me the motivation I’ve needed all along.” Growing up in a family where she was constantly moving, Flores spent the majority of her youth between Virginia and Tennessee. Her interest in the performing arts was sparked by her father, who is credited with opening the only Fox News station in Nashville. This gave her early exposure to the world of media broadcasting. After bouncing around the country throughout the late 2000’s Flores found herself living in Central Florida looking for a new opportunity. One of the keys to Flores’ success has been her business partner and friend, Christina Smith. Known around campus as Ms. Hummingbird (Hummingbird is her Cherokee spiritual name), she has a longstanding partnership with Flores, spanning over 20 years. They’ve established a production company that caters to kids, and are responsible for all of the film and drama courses school-wide. Students saw their first glimpse of Flores’ directing skills when her inaugural production WAIT debuted on March 14. WAIT is an original production written and directed by both Flores as well as Hummingbird, and it was performed by students in the Thespian Society, both during school and in the evening to allow for adult attendance. WAIT is a one act play which illustrates the hardships and adversity which students often face throughout their teenage lives. With an expanding budget and a spike in popularity school-wide, the sky is the limit for Flores and the drama department.

Franco brings passion, and sense of humor to the classroom


By Victoria Gayarre, Staff Writer

In a room painted Texas orange and with colorful graphs adorning the walls, sits Mater Lakes Academy’s original math teacher Rogelio Franco. Born in Miami to Cuban immigrants, Franco was raised only minutes away from where the charter school and his future workplace, Mater Lakes Academy, would later stand. “I grew up right here in Palm Springs North,” Franco smiles, and continues to explain his favorite childhood memory, “being able to go outside and play with my friends. Kids don’t do that anymore – like the street use to be filled with children. I was born and raised right at PSN Park.” As Franco continued to grow, he graduated from American High School in the top 20% of his class. He proceeded to go to Miami Dade College on a full scholarship, and even later was one of the first to receive a scholarship to FIU for being Latin, only having to pay for a couple books all throughout his education. Throughout his time studying, he changed his major multiple times, originally wanting to become an architect. “In high school I was like the top kid in the draft and when I got to college it was too competitive and I always liked to be on top and not just in the pack,” Franco explained his switch. He then went on to study accounting but groaned at the thought of working in a cubicle and finally decided on majoring in education.To this point, he has been a teacher for 16 years and has taught everything from kindergarten to 12th grade. He explained his love and dedication saying, “I love being here with the kids and making jokes… the classroom is like my stage. I always make sure I know what I am teaching, ‘cause I just don’t want to look stupid and not know because the kids just stare back as you,” he laughed. Franco came to Mater Lakes in 2005, leaving a position at Lawton Chiles Middle School. The school was just beginning to come together when he joined the staff. He stated, “I’m one of the originals,” then he explained how he was hired at the school. He began by leaning back in his chair and using the phrase, “back in the day.” It was summer when Franco got a call from a good friend who worked with him at Lawton Chiles, regarding the new school. He said soon after they met up, “Rovi wined us and dined us —so here I am.” Currently, Franco is a geometry teacher. He describes it as his favorite subject, and while he’s only taught it for five years, it is what he enjoys most. He spoke about his biggest contributions at Mater Lakes academy stating, “I’ve done it all from being the class of 2013 sponsor, to starting up the SADD Club, being the math department head, gradebook manager—so I’ve done a lot, plus my whole comedic relief on the morning announcements.” In 2014, the graduating class decided to form a group which would later be called the SADD Club, standing for “Students Against Destructive Decisions.” It was Franco who would then became the sponsor and has been working with the club ever since. Franco describes himself as “self-motivated,” stating, “I love being here – sometimes in summer I’m like ‘damn I wish I was in class.” He hopes to be remembered as “the funniest teacher” among his students and teach them to never procrastinate.