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Msgr. Edward Pace High marks 60th

Opens new Heritage Hall on campus to display school history, memorabilia

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MIAMI GARDENS | Something keeps bringing alumni back to Msgr. Edward Pace High School.

They return for football games, homecoming events and class reunions. But the bond with their alma mater goes beyond nostalgia. Over 30 alums currently serve new generations of Spartans as administrators, teachers, coaches and staff.

Msgr. Edward Pace High School alumni priests Father Bryan Garcia, class of 2006, and Father Matthew Gomez, class of 2009, process towards the altar during the Mass on Sept. 30, 2021, celebrating their school's 60-year anniversary.

Photographer: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO| FC

Msgr. Edward Pace High School alumni priests Father Bryan Garcia, class of 2006, and Father Matthew Gomez, class of 2009, process towards the altar during the Mass on Sept. 30, 2021, celebrating their school's 60-year anniversary.

Msgr. Edward Pace High School alum and principal, Ana Garcia, and Archdiocese of Miami Superintendent of Schools Jim Rigg pose in front of the school's Spartan statue. The school is celebrating 60 years since its doors first opened in the Archdiocese of Miami.

Photographer: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO| FC

Msgr. Edward Pace High School alum and principal, Ana Garcia, and Archdiocese of Miami Superintendent of Schools Jim Rigg pose in front of the school's Spartan statue. The school is celebrating 60 years since its doors first opened in the Archdiocese of Miami.

That involvement continues a legacy that now spans six decades.

“There is nothing more uplifting and rewarding than seeing our alumni come back to teach and work at Pace,” said Principal Ana Garcia, class of 1980. “That is the best testament to what we have accomplished here. Serving our community, in one way or another, is a very important charism at Pace. All of us want to give back and want to continue the legacy of excellence in Catholic education that formed us all.”

Garcia’s family ties at Pace are deeply rooted. Her husband, Edward Garcia, principal at St. Louis Covenant School in Pinecrest, attended Pace, as did their three children. One of her sons, Father Bryan Garcia, has returned on several occasions to visit and celebrate Mass at the school.

“The family style and Catholic identity from people that know the background and the legacy is one of the things that’s beautiful about Pace,” said Father Garcia, class of 2006.

He and Father Matthew Gomez, class of 2009, were among the priests who joined Archbishop Thomas Wenski in celebrating the school’s 60th anniversary Mass, Sept. 30, 2021. Due to health restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, space was limited, but alumni were invited to watch the Mass via livestream.

Pace High was established in 1961 as an all-boys school administered by the Marist Brothers. In 1962, the school admitted its first girls, taught separately by members of the Teresian Association. The high school became officially co-ed in 1974. In 2002, it earned the designation of Blue Ribbon School of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Education. Currently, over 850 students are enrolled in grades nine through 12, and the school counts over 10,000 alumni.


SAYING ‘YES’

In his homily, Archbishop Wenski pointed out that, throughout the past 60 years, Pace has faced challenges and fears.

Msgr. Edward Pace High alum Enrique Dominguez's student ID card is a part of the Heritage Hall collection at Pace. Dominguez has taught science at his alma mater for the last 15 years.

Photographer: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO| FC

Msgr. Edward Pace High alum Enrique Dominguez's student ID card is a part of the Heritage Hall collection at Pace. Dominguez has taught science at his alma mater for the last 15 years.

A Msgr. Edward Pace High yearbook photo of future principal Ana Garcia taken during her senior year is captioned with her favorite phrases of the time, her nicknames, extra curricular activities, favorite song, and her dreams for the future.

Photographer: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO| FC

A Msgr. Edward Pace High yearbook photo of future principal Ana Garcia taken during her senior year is captioned with her favorite phrases of the time, her nicknames, extra curricular activities, favorite song, and her dreams for the future.

“If we forget that God is with us, that he is guiding us through the gift of his Spirit, those challenges might seem to us as mission impossible,” he said.

The archbishop encouraged students to follow the example of Mary, whose ‘yes’ brought to fulfillment God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

“I think that’s a pretty good mission statement for this school, and for any Catholic school: To teach us to say ‘yes’ to God,” the archbishop said. “And as Mary did, live the ‘yes’. Live the ‘yes’ so that you can become the person that God has meant you to be.”

Enrique Dominguez said ‘yes’ to Pace 15 years ago when he needed a lifestyle change. If that wasn’t enough motivation, his wife often reminded him that he had wanted to return to Pace to teach once he finished grad school.

“The opportunity was offered and, in a heartbeat, I said yes. And it’s been just a dream,” said Dominguez, class of 1975, who teaches the sciences.

His two daughters graduated from Pace in 1999 and 2003, and his grandson, still too young for high school, is looking forward to attending one day.

“He says “Abu, I’m going to go to Msgr. Edward Pace High School.”

 

HERITAGE HALL

To mark its 60-year anniversary, the school created Pace Heritage Hall, a collection of memorabilia now on display at what was once the campus store, where students bought textbooks and uniforms.

Heritage Hall now houses Pace’s treasures, including city proclamations, photos, yearbooks, jerseys and letterman jackets, school pride t-shirts, school uniforms, banners, mugs, pens, a Spartan mascot helmet, and more.

A timeline of Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School, as well as one of the knights from their campus and other memorabilia, are now housed at Msgr. Edward Pace High. In August 2017, Curley-Notre Dame closed its doors, merging with Pace that fall.

Photographer: CRISTINA CABRERA JARRO| FC

A timeline of Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School, as well as one of the knights from their campus and other memorabilia, are now housed at Msgr. Edward Pace High. In August 2017, Curley-Notre Dame closed its doors, merging with Pace that fall.

“Every event, academically, in athletics, even the brochure from the Mass that was just celebrated for the school’s 60th anniversary” is in the collection, said Surella Rodriguez, alumni director.

The collection also includes memorabilia from Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, which closed at the end of the 2016-17 academic year and merged with Pace that fall. A Curley Knight statue stands tall by a wall adorned with photos and the school’s historical timeline.

The idea for Heritage Hall came two years ago from Pace alum Nicholas Fernandez, who was a sophomore when the school turned 50.

“He was helpful with the school’s 50-year anniversary yearbook,” said Rodriguez.

Fernandez graduated from Princeton University and returned to Pace to teach. Eager to share his passion for the school’s history with new generations of Spartans, he pitched the idea of organizing a space on campus to house that history. Heritage Hall started with items that had been in storage for years as well as new ones donated by alums.

“Wherever we can fit it, we will put it in. We love all different types of memorabilia,” said Rodriguez.

Fernandez has now left Pace to continue his education at Yale, but Heritage Hall continues to grow.

In September, the class of 2010, who celebrated their reunion on campus, were the first to see the finished product.

“Our favorite part was to see their faces looking around, especially at the pictures,” said Rodriguez.

 FIND OUT MORE

  • To find out more about Msgr. Edward Pace High School, visit www.PaceHS.com or call 305-623-7223.
  • Any Pace or Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame alum interested in donating school memorabilia, or visiting Pace Heritage Hall, should email [email protected].  

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