About the Sierra Family
Coral Park has long been a family affair for the Sierras.
María began interning and substituting at the school in 1981 while earning her BS from Florida International University. As a teacher of Spanish for native and non-native speakers, María taught all levels from S1 to AP Spanish Literature and Culture. She was Chair of the World Languages Department and served the larger community as President of the Foreign Language Teachers of Dade County and Executive Director of the Florida Foreign Language Association. She was Sponsor of the Spanish Interest Society, Sponsor of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, Sponsor of the Classes of 1992 and 2003, and was certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for her teaching skills.
After being a small business owner and an accountant for twenty years, Horacio switched careers and began tutoring ESOL students at Coral Park in 2004. He was Chair of the ESOL Department for five years and coached the Varsity and Junior Varsity Softball teams. Horacio, who earned his BS from Florida International University, loved mentoring students and served as Director of the school's College Advisory Program. From the mid 1980s through the early 2000s, Horacio managed dozens of youth softball teams at Tamiami Park and was the head of the Miami Mini-Canes girls travel softball organization, winning dozens of NSA, ASA, and ISA tournaments throughout Florida and the U.S.
Their daughter, Lyan, who graduated from Coral Park in 1994, was Student Council President, an Aries yearbook editor, and a Varsity Volleyball player. She went on to earn a BS and MA in Public Relations from the University of Miami. She is now Director of Public Relations for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Their son, Horacio, who graduated from Coral Park in 2001, was the Rampage newspaper editor-in-chief and the school's American Legion Boys State Representative. He earned his BS in Communication from the University of Miami and his PhD in English from the University of Florida. He is now an Associate Professor of Language, Literature, & Cultural Studies in Maryland.
Other members of the extended family have also contributed to Coral Park's mission: Ángel Herrero, María's father, was a custodian and helped build the softball field dugouts; José Hernandez, María's uncle, was a food server in the cafeteria; Michael, Lili, Christopher, and Ciro, María's nephews and nieces, graduated from Coral Park in the early 2000s; and Carlos and Nikolas, María and Horacio's grandchildren, currently attend Coral Park.
The Sierra family firmly believes in the transformative powers of public education. This scholarship is a testament to their years of service to the community . It also underscores the Sierra family's belief in how public schools and parks that are inclusive and well funded ensure that Miami's youth can reach their full potential as productive citizens. As Americans of Cuban descent, the Sierras are the embodiment of the American Dream and hope that this scholarship will enable others to achieve personal success and improve the communities in which they live.
-Miami Herald article on the retirement of María and Horacio Sierra from Miami Coral Park Senior High School
María with members of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica , which regularly placed First in statewide competitions.
Horacio managing the Varsity Softball team, which regularly placed in District Finals.
María and Horacio regularly chaperoned Homecoming and Prom dances.
A Coral Park yearbook from the early 1990s highlights the importance of the World Languages Department.
Horacio high-fives one of his players on her way to scoring a run.
One of the Miami Mini-Canes teams managed by Horacio celebrate after winning a tournament.
Lyan, Horacio, María, and Horacio Sierra.