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RE families make a REal Impact

RE families are continuing to take collective action in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Max Swietelsky '21 is teaching a six-week elective for Breakthrough Miami's Summer Online Institute entitled "African American Music: Intro to Jazz." Swietelsky has recruited panelists that include Keith Clarke, founder of the Miami Jazz and Film Society; Village Vanguard veteran saxophonist Mark Small; Costa Rican drummer and composer Rodolfo Zuniga; guitarist Tom Lippencott of the Miami Jazz Quartet; Shelley Berg, Dean of the UM Frost School of Music; and Jon Hamm, RE Director of Instrumental Music. 

Carson Stanton-Sharpless '23 has spent weekends cleaning up Bird Key in Biscayne Bay, loading his kayak with tires, beverage containers and other trash and removing the debris from the bird rookery. Read more about his efforts in this June 10 Miami Herald story.

Mia Goldberg ’20 has teamed with associate alum Aleco Sanchez '20 to raise money for RE's Feed the Grove weekend meals initiative by selling artwork from RE students at framedmarketplace.com. Proceeds from the sale of works marked with "COVID 19" will fund meals for families with children from Frances S. Tucker Elementary and other parts of Coconut Grove. Isabella Bremer '21, Maia Gold '20, Goldberg, Kate Menninger '20, Emma Rosenthal '21 and Dani Sanchez '21 have donated art work to the gallery.
Dave Woolsey P22, father of Mary Logan Woolsey ’22, offered insight into his experiences as an emergency-room physician at Jackson during the COVID-19 outbreak for an exclusive segment on WSVN-Channel 7 that aired on April 17.

Noah Martin ’25, a 3D-printing enthusiast, printed reusable face shields and shipped them to his uncle Dr. Elliot Goodman, head of Emergency Medicine at Raritan Bay Medical Center in New Jersey. The proud uncle said, “A special thank you to my nephew Noah Martin! Straight from your 3D printer in Miami to the bedside in NJ, 20 shields for my team, and all the face shields it saves for others! Changing the world at 13! I love you, pal!"

The following RE parents and students participated in making masks with the Miami Mask Brigade, which has made hundreds of masks for health professionals in the area. Each mask can be sterilized with UV lights and was designed by researchers at the University of Florida.
 Katie Ariola and daughter Grace Arriola '21; Teresa Dyke and daughter Ellie Dyke '21; Allison Holly and sons Jay Holly '26, Anders Holly '24 and Hayes Holly '21, Allison Langer (mother of Jackson '24 and Blake '26; and Amy Hays, mother of Carson Hays '20.

McKenzie Connell '26
and her mother Kristen Connell were featured in this Key Biscayne News story about residents helping seniors on Key Biscayne.

Sebastian Mateu ’21
and Daniel Mateu ’21, co-founders of A Soccer Life Foundation (ASLF), have collaborated for the past two years with 16 RE students to host free soccer clinics for elementary-age students in an aftercare program at Armbrister Park in the West Grove. These clinics have been successfully incorporated into the girls’ varsity soccer REach project for the past two seasons. ASLF also awards scholarships to deserving students to offset their club soccer expenses. Even with in-person soccer activities being hindered by COVID-19, A Soccer Life Foundation remains active in the effort to help our community. Through a matching grant, they have raised over $7,000 for Feeding South Florida to provide more than 50,000 meals to those in need. Last week, they were at Feinberg-Fisher K-8 handing out soccer balls to students who were at school to pick up laptops, as they don’t have one at home. Additionally, ASLF founding member Pablo Joseph ’21 handed out soccer balls at His House Children’s Home in Homestead and provided over 100 meals to the children through a partnership with Tropical Chinese Restaurant. Daniel writes, “During these times, community involvement is critical. It is time to embody Paul Ransom’s 3rd class of people, those who ‘are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it.'” For more information or to support their efforts, please visit their website here. ASLF foundation members include Sebastian Mateu ’21, Daniel Mateu ’21, Pablo Joseph ’21, Gabriel Pulido ’21, Richard Hanft ’21, Lindsay Gould ’21, Constantino Guerini ’21, Nick Stone ’21, Danny Mendoza ’21, James Srebnick ’21, Mia Balestra 21, Jasper Broad ’22, David Pulido ’22, Juan Rivera ’22, Kobe Lopez ’23 and Lauren Howard '23.

The Ransom Everglades Speech and Debate Team wrote letters to the elderly in the Villa Serena nursing home by partnering with the organization Love for the Elderly. Together, they have submitted hundreds of letters to nursing homes throughout the nation.

On May 7, the RE strings orchestra performed live for pediatric patients at the Holtz Children's Hospital. Strings director Scott O'Donnell led the entire orchestra in individually playing pieces such as "Over the Rainbow" from the Great Wizard of Oz, "I See the Light" from Disney's Tangled, "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Disney's Mulan, "Giguetta" by Johann Sebastian Bach, and more! A recording of the digital concert has been distributed for the use of all pediatric patients at the Holtz Children's Hospital and Nicklaus Children's Hospital. RE Strings invites Ransom Everglades to watch the concert for their own pleasure as well here.

Committed to spreading goodness in the communities they serve, Sushi Maki and Canton Chinese Restaurants have partnered with several local foundations to provide 13,000 free meals to those who have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Abe Ng P’23 25 27, Founder and CEO of Sushi Maki said, “Vulnerable populations have been severely impacted by this global pandemic. We believe it is our duty to support those affected most by ensuring they receive a meal. It’s a privilege to come together as a community to help take care of each other during an uncertain and unprecedented time. Sushi Maki and Canton are grateful to be a part of this effort. These donations are possible through the generosity of each of these foundations and the time, labor and distribution of our teams.”

Just before the COVID-19 outbreak, Jorge Guzman's ceramics classes partnered with the RE club Neighbors in Need to support the Empty Bowls global initiative, a grassroots effort that brings together artists and crafts people in cities and towns around the world to care for and feed the hungry in their communities. Students raised more than $750 selling bowls (filled with cereal) during the lunch periods at the upper school. Neighbors in Need, led by student president Mia Landman 20, donated that money – and an additional $300 from other projects – to the school's initiative to provide weekend bags of food to families with children at Frances S. Tucker Elementary and throughout Coconut Grove.

After Victor Perez ’23 read an article in the Miami Herald about the rise of COVID-19 cases in our local Veteran’s Association Hospital, he was inspired to organize a letter-writing campaign to hospitalized veterans. Many of these patients are elderly men and women who are incapable of leaving their beds. In addition to bringing comfort and easing loneliness during the pandemic, Victor wrote that the letters are also a way to honor those who have been willing to give everything to protect us and our nation.

Rachel Unger ’96 and her children Max Feldman ’26 and Ellie Feldman ’27 are working with Food Rescue US Miami/Broward to feed healthcare workers at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. The team delivers food to the hospital three times a week. The food is made by World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization run by José Andrés that feeds Miami’s food-insecure population on a regular basis. The healthcare workers who receive the food are working on the COVID-19 floors at Mount Sinai. Rachel and her family have been working with Food Rescue for approximately two years, and they also bring food to Lotus House women’s shelter.

Gabrielle Anwar, Shareef Malnik and daughter Paisley Verea ’22 prepared gourmet meals for frontline workers at Mount Sinai and University of Miami Hospitals. Paisley served up 100 three-course meals with vegetarian options and a lot of love. They expressed their gratitude to healthcare heroes on a local news segment

Elena Castrillon ’26
, Eduardo Michelsen ’27 and Olivia Michelsen ’26 and their families have been working for several months with the Key Biscayne Foundation, Hermanos de la Calle, to feed downtown Miami’s homeless population every other Friday and support the organization’s mission of helping the homeless. In the past few weeks, many other Ransom Everglades students have joined the volunteer effort by making fresh, homemade meals with special handwritten messages and artwork. So far, they have delivered 240 meals as well as provided masks. Their proud parents are positive that the children will never forget the times when they all got together and cooked together to help our community!

Siblings Sofia Andrade ’19, Ricardo Andrade ’21 and Alejandro Andrade ’25 created the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament for COVID-19 Relief. The tournament was live-streamed through Facebook, and players throughout the country and the world joined together for a friendly match of Super Smash Bros. while supporting causes. Tournament proceeds helped with the purchase of 700 meals through Feeding America. They also went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help with their life-saving work amid the pandemic and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals with their COVID-19 relief efforts to support animal welfare and pet parents in need. The Andrade family is also making masks for A Zero Waste Culture to donate to frontline workers and people in high-risk situations. They are collecting second-hand 100% cotton fabric (e.g., sheets, duvets, shirts, etc.).

Isabella Henriquez ’21
has started a project hand-in-hand with the Salvadoran American Humanitarian Foundation (SAHF) to distribute 20,000 CDC-approved cotton masks to residents of poor neighborhoods in El Salvador, her native country. In El Salvador, approximately 2.1 million people live in poverty and earn less than $5 a day. Henriquez has set up a GoFundMe page, and for every dollar donated, a mask will be given to someone who isn't earning enough money to feed their families. Having spent time abroad in El Salvador, Isabella hopes to make a big impact on the tiny country that made a lasting impression on her. For more information or to support Isabella’s efforts, visit here

Eli Goldman ’22
is collecting shoes and athletic clothing to donate to Soles4Souls. This non-profit organization provides shoes and clothing to those who are most vulnerable and have been affected by our country’s current health and economic crisis. They also help individuals in the world’s poorest countries to start and sustain their own businesses by selling the donated shoes. For more information or to support Eli’s efforts, email him here.

Tara Katz P’24 ’26 spearheaded the launch of a fund to feed local emergency departments while also helping local restaurants. The idea emerged from a group chat of Ransom Everglades 6th grade mothers who wanted to help the community during this challenging time. Jake Katz ’24 is helping with the technical aspects of maintaining the fund, and to date, $29,000 has been raised. Dr. Barbara Peña P’19 ’26 wrote that the group has already visited her ED at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital four times, and they plan to return. She writes, “This is truly an incredible effort by Ransom Everglades!” said Dr. Peña. “As a frontline physician myself, it's sometimes these little things that keep us going.” For more information or to support their efforts, click here.

Kathryn Serra ’23
is making hygiene kits for the homeless and delivering them to the Miami Rescue Mission. Kathryn is also virtually helping elementary school students whose parents do not speak English with their classwork and homework. She said more children are in need of this kind of help, and she can connect K-5th graders with RE students who want to help.

Victoria Porto ’22
organized a Miami Rescue Mission Food Drive. She sent an email solicitation to RElax teammates and friends asking for donated food items that she will then deliver.

Clara Villalba ’22
organized the delivery of CDC-approved masks to a conglomerate of hospitals and merchants in economically depressed areas. Clara contacted several manufacturers until she found one that would make and donate those masks. Sofia Mora ’20 also contributed to the endeavor. They are working with the CARTA Laboratory to produce masks for different groups in our community. They recently made nearly 500 face shields for the Miami Fire Department.

Max Swietelsky ’21, mentioned above, started Rising Stars Miami with his sister, Esmeralda Swietelsky ’24, to do community service supporting the arts. They assembled a group of volunteers from five schools, including six students from RE. They teach the Arts & Culture class to Breakthrough Miami scholars but had to put instruction on hold because of COVID-19. Last Friday, they resumed classes virtually. They enjoyed being with the scholars again and shared some percussion beats and laughs. Their next class is Kitchen Improv, where they'll use things they have in the kitchen to improvise a character. They are coming up with new ideas to teach dance, monologues and jazz appreciation for upcoming sessions. 

Helen Hannan ’21
is helping coalesce a group of alumni to reach out to RE students to provide feedback and support to their younger classmates. Helen is leading this project together with Isa Ciocca ’20 and Clara Villalba ’22. Helen is also working with a clothing company in Los Angeles to provide masks that will be distributed in Miami.

Caroline Sosler ’22
is channeling her interest in fashion into making masks out of material that she had at home.

The RE girls’ lacrosse team is collecting money for bento boxes that will be delivered to the Ronald McDonald House.

Lauren Page ’24
continues her book collection. She has delivered over 5,000 books to places all over Miami-Dade County to support her non-profit organization.

Performing Arts Teacher Gina Montet and the Jr. Thespians are creating original monologues for a video project that benefits out-of-work actors. Gina is also making masks for health care workers.

Blood transfusions are a necessary part of healing during chemotherapy so when Ava Crowley ’27 completed her treatment, she and her mom decided to “GiveForward.” In honor of childhood cancer awareness month in September, Nickelle Crowley P’24 ’26 ’27 and her friend have hosted blood drives for the past two years. Recently, Nickelle and Ava took that commitment one step further by organizing blood drives in response to the surgeon general’s call for donations, and more than seventy Ransom Everglades families have participated so far. A special thank you to parents from the Class of 2026! If you are interested in donating, contact Nickelle directly or visit here to make an appointment. 

A group of RE families helped arrange for catered lunches to be delivered to the COVID-19 unit nurses of a local Miami hospital. These nurses work tirelessly and selflessly to ensure the well-being of their patients. “We wanted to make sure the nurses knew how much they are valued and appreciated,” said Angelina Kaye P22 24 24 27, who has built a long term friendship with one of the nurses. “The nurses cannot leave the dedicated unit during their long shifts, and so it’s a small token of appreciation to make sure they have the energy to take care of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Ollie Friedland ’26
, son of Julie Greenwald Friedland ’91, along with family, friends and classmates, Andrés Casal ’26 and Luke Jaffee ’26, provided the South Miami and Pinecrest Police Departments with delicious taco lunches to thank them for their hard work during this time.

Ella Gonzalez ’24
, Jordan Gonzalez ’24 and parent Melinda Gonzalez created a social media campaign to collect energy-sustaining snacks (protein/granola bars, trail mix, etc.) to help those on the front line sustain their energy for long, daunting shifts. They put a collection bin in front of their home and had a huge response. Two full carloads were delivered to both Jackson Memorial and Baptist Hospitals' ICU/ER departments.

We would like to hear from you about efforts you might be involved in, or those of your RE friends and classmates. You can share your stories here.

We invite readers to read stories of alumni making a difference here.

Read more on our For the REcord page.
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Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Middle School2045 South Bayshore DriveTel: 305-250-6850
Upper School3575 Main HighwayTel: 305-460-8800
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.