South Dade Senior High School Celebrates Their 69th Annual Capping Ceremony and Street Renaming


Fox-Mar Studios

Evelyn Cervantes is capped by a loved one.


Every year, the South Dade Senior High graduating class gathers in the gymnasium for one last senior activity before they walk the stage at graduation, the capping ceremony. The capping ceremony is a tradition that was started by the Class of 1954, and in the ceremony, each graduate chooses a special person in their life, whether it be a parent, family member, mentor, teacher, or friend, to place their graduation cap on their head to signify the students are ready to graduate and look towards their future. The capping ceremony serves as a more intimate version of graduation for friends and family to celebrate with their graduates.

Before the graduates were capped, they were welcomed to the ceremony by speeches from students and staff. Latear Morales, the CAP Advisor, gave a speech about the history of the capping ceremony, followed by four graduates who also gave their own heartfelt speeches. In her speech, Yaiselin Fuentes gave shout-outs to her family and acknowledged her soon-to-be college, the University of Miami. “It was a bittersweet moment. I wanted to soak it in because I only do it once. I had to hold back tears when I dedicated the part to my parents because I was getting so emotional,” Yaiselin said.

Choosing someone to cap you is often very emotional and sentimental, and that was the case for senior Brayan Junco. Brayan has been a theater student for all four years of high school and he knew that he wanted his teacher, Juan Espinosa, to cap him. “I knew I wanted him to cap me because I feel like I’ve grown such a connection with him over my four years at South Dade. Many people have said he’s such a father figure to me because of how much we get along and the endless work that we do together,” Brayan said.

After 10 years at South Dade, Espinosa had never been asked by anyone to cap them, so Brayan asking him was extra special. It was his first time attending the ceremony, and he got to enjoy seeing all of his seniors in the theater program get their shine. “Brayan and I have gone through so much together. He is someone you can always count on to be there for you, and I feel like I was also that for him, so it was truly an honor to be there and do that for him,” Espinosa said.

After his remarks congratulating the graduating class, principal Jay C. DeArmas surprised the seniors with something he has been championing for the seven years he has been principal, renaming the street in front of the school along 167th Avenue. Thanks to support from county commissioners Danielle Cohen Higgins and alumni Kionne McGhee who cosponsored the bill, the street will now be known as Buccaneer Blvd. “The naming of the street was like recognition long overdue. It shows that South Dade is like a hidden gem, and it is being recognized and not forgotten,” DeArmas said.

After the street sign was unveiled and as the graduates were capped, the commissioners also placed an oversized graduation cap on Bucky.