SM High students tell it like it is at Youth Dialogue Day

Comm. Velma Palmer (left), City Manager Dr. Hector Mirabile and Zoraida Druckman from State Senator Gwen Margolis’s office hear from students Dailin Roman and Maxx Rodriguez

South Miami Senior High recently hosted elected officials, healthcare professionals, school principals, faith leaders, business community leaders and drug, alcohol, and violence-prevention professionals to hear the concerns of students.

Youth Dialogue Day was held April 27 and brought together more than 30 adults’ participants. Students from the school served as ambassadors and spokespeople for their peers on topics ranging from education cuts and unhealthy school lunches to drug and alcohol education and teen pregnancy.

SMSH Principal Gilbert Bonce welcomed the spotlight on his students and their issues. “These are very bright, very motivated kids who will definitely give you their opinions, but these are important issues for all of us,” he said, adding that their advocacy could help address some of the challenges that principals and schools face.

Organized by the Informed Families South Miami Drug-Free Coalition and South Miami Senior High, the participants spent seven minutes at each of 10 “topic tables” staffed by students before going to the next table’s discussion.

The adult guests unanimously praised the students for their thoughtful, passionate presentations and encouraged them to become a force for change themselves.

Students like Event Host Claudia Garcia told the group how glad she and her peers were to be heard. She pleaded with them to “go forward” with solutions to the issues. Ms Sotham is working with Mayor Stoddard and other attendees to help students understand how to advocate for changes.

The South Miami Drug-Free Coalition is sponsored by Informed Families. To get involved with the coalition, contact Margaret Sotham at 305.962.5606 or

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