Novelist, syndicated columnist and Cuban immigrant Ana Veciana-Suarez spent a special day at the Middle School for the second annual One Book, One Day, One School (OBODOS) event, sharing her personal story, providing insight into her life's work, and explaining the inspiration behind her novel Flight to Freedom.
Each student in the Middle School read the book in advance of OBODOS, a now-annual celebration of reading and learning. Veciana-Suarez addressed the student body in Swenson Hall to kick off the March 13 event, then moved to the Braman Media Center to offer a writing seminar for smaller groups of students as they rotated through a range of activities designed to enhance the reading. The novel,based on a young girl's flight from Cuba in 1967, reflected the theme of OBODOS: Immigration and Miami in the '60s.
"All of us are immigrants in some way," said Veciana-Suarez, who also addressed parents in a talk on March 11 at Swenson Hall. "We've all been a stranger in a strange land.... Creating itself is a form of migration. Creative people travel in their mind and soul; we travel in search of truth."
Veciana arrived to the United States from Havana when she was six years old. A longtime columnist with the Miami Herald, she also wrote the Chin Kiss King and Birthday Parties in Heaven. During OBODOS, students received Latin dance lessons from faculty members J.P. Arrastia and Frances Alexander; engaged in an art project; tested their knowledge of U.S. politics and immigration through quiz games; and enjoyed numerous other activities. Librarian Barbara Share once again organized the event with help from the entire Middle School faculty.
The event was paired with the annual Middle School Multicultural Day, an annual lunch prepared and served by the Ransom Everglades Parents' Association. During a break in OBODOS, students enjoyed homemade cuisine from around the world, gathering around tables set up in the parking lot.
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.