Musings & Thoughts for Friday, November 12, 2021, or: South Miami High Celebrated its 50th Birthday This Week

A promo video for 21st Century Cobra Country.

Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s midafternoon here in west-central Florida on Friday, November 12, 2021. It’s a warm late autumn day. Currently, the temperature is 78˚F (26˚C) under mostly cloudy skies. With humidity at 74% and the wind blowing from the southwest at 2 MPH (4 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 79˚F (26˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 80˚F (26˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy. The low will be 65˚F (18˚C).

My friend Maggie Wunderlich and I visited South Miami Senior High in January 2009. That was the last time I visited my alma mater.

Our hope and pride,
a school we will always stand beside.
Through passing years,
through changes, challenges,
pleasures and tears.
As one and all, a mighty spirit standing tall.
We will cherish, honor,
and be true to South Miami High! –
Alma Mater, South Miami Senior High School

This week – Wednesday, November 10, to be exact – South Miami Senior High School, aka SMSH, aka Cobra Country, celebrated its 50th birthday. My alma mater – I graduated in the Class of 1983 – opened its doors on Wednesday, November 10, 1971, led by its long-time principal, Dr. Warren G. Burchell.

Before the modern – for its time – three-floor building opened on that fall day, its first students had had to do “split shifts” at the pre-existing campus of Coral Park Senior High. So even though I wasn’t there – I wasn’t even in South Florida yet because my mom, older half-sister, and I still lived in Bogota in ’71 – I can imagine how happy that first group of Cobras must have been to be the first students to attend SMSH, a state-of-the-art facility with three floors of classrooms, an auditorium, a “little theater” for the Drama classes, and that most important bit of equipment necessary for survival in subtropical South Florida – central air conditioning!

Official South Miami Senior High School Seal.

Per the school’s official website:

As the Alma Mater says, the “hope and pride” of South Miami Senior opened its doors to students for the first time on November 10, 1971. The original student body selected the Cobra mascot and the school colors of orange, brown, and white. Today the Cobra mascot reigns from the third story roof of Cobra Hall, greeting all who pass by “Cobra Country” on Miller Road.  Since opening, South Miami has had eight principals: Dr. Warren G. Burchell, Ms. Judy Weiner, Mr. Thomas L. Shaw, Mr. Eugene Butler, Mr. Craig Speziale, Dr. Gilberto Bonce, Dr. Cadian Collman-Perez, and currently Mr. Hebert Penton. Dr. Burchell has been the longest-serving principal in South Miami Senior High history, serving 22 years, establishing many of the great Cobra traditions that still run strong today. 

If I still lived in South Florida, I would have found a way to attend some of the celebrations that South Miami High is holding. I wasn’t one of Cobra Country’s best or brightest, but I went there from August of 1981 to June of 1983, wrote for the school paper and – for one year – the yearbook, and sang in the school choir for most of my three school years. Part of me thinks I should have been there, even though I now live on the other side of Florida.

For some reason, I’m listed in my 10th grade yearbook photo as “Alex Diaz.”

South Miami hail the Cobras,
Fighting strong and proud
(clap, clap, clap)

South Miami’s Number One 
So join the Cobra crowd
(clap, clap, clap)

See the Cobras in victory,
Watch the Cobras make history

Hail, hail, the gang’s all here,
So let’s hear the Cobra cheer! –
Fight song, South Miami Senior High School

I don’t have any other bit of news to share today, so I’ll close for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Source: South Miami Senior High School Official Website

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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