Pace High's grandparents' mass showcases importance of families

Education By Maya Lora, Special to The Miami Laker Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Monsignor Edward Pace High School hosted a grandparents' mass and breakfast to give students a wonderful opportunity to spend the morning with some of the most vital people in their lives. 

The mood in the air on August 10 was easily identified as heart-warming as the families sat, prayed, and ate together. The Pace Chapel was the best place imaginable to hold this event as it unites different generations since Pace is, in itself, one giant family. Pace has a reputation for being family-orientated, and one can feel the love this school gives off the second a student walks through the white gates; this powerful feeling can be found on every corner, up every staircase, and in every single classroom. 

The amazing family that Pace has become over its remarkable 52 years is well-earned and reigns true in every aspect of school life. The Ulmo family is a living testament to this reputation – each member of this family is bonded to Pace by a very special tradition. How do I know that? I happen to be a part of this family. 

I'm the first of the second generation to be attending the school that my family has loved since my own mother, Vanessa, attended. My grandparents, Vernon and Alicia Ulmo, have five children, and each one of them walked the Pace halls – Vanessa (class of 1994), Adrian (1997), Andrew (2004), Viviana (2007), and the baby of this generation, Amaryllis (2010). Pace filled each one of them with joy and made their high school experience something they will never forget; it gave them friends and memories to last a lifetime. 

My mother transferred to Pace her sophomore year, and the move created a tradition that still carries on today and I hope will carry on to my own children many years from now - spending their own high school years within the gates of the beautiful and unforgettable Pace campus. 

Why do families like mine keep making their way back to Pace after so many years? Is it the magnificent education with top-notch honors programs and teachers who take an interest in learning every student's name, background, and story? Is it the tons of clubs and activities available to each student so that nobody is left without something enjoyable to do? Is it the family atmosphere Pace has become famous for? The answer is simple: It is every single one of those things. 

Brilliant education and opportunities, rich and varied extracurricular activities, and a family atmosphere are why so many families find themselves attending Pace generation after generation. The family aura of Pace makes everyone feel comfortable at school; everyone knows everyone else, the teachers love their students, and it's easy to find your place in the school and the world. 

Nobody wants to go to a school where they are a number on a list, sitting in a desk at the corner of a room; everyone wants to go to a school where the teacher knows exactly who they are and where they can make friends in a place that they adore. It is so rewarding to walk down the hallways and have teachers and staff ask how my family is. 

There are so many teachers and faculty members who remember students they had years ago and are curious about who they have become long after they've walked in their graduation caps. Just like the lovely grandparents' mass and breakfast, there are many events to make every family who is a part of Pace's community feel right at home. 

Every single one of my family members regards Pace as one of the most amazing things they ever experienced, and even though I'm only in my sophomore year, I definitely understand what they're talking about. 

"What I remember most fondly is what I call a sense of family; it really is personal for me. The legacy that the school has left in my life and in the life of my family could not have been realized at any other high school," said Vanessa Lora, proud Pace alumni.