John Havrilla | Leader of Coconut Grove School to Be Honored

iCoconutGrove | Repost From Christina Mayo | The Miami Herald

After 45 years of educating children at Vanguard School of Coconut Grove, Director John Havrilla will retire. His life’s work of helping over 3,000 students with varying learning difficulties will be celebrated at the school’s upcoming annual gala.

John Havrilla and four other teachers from Vanguard School in Pennsylvania opened the Miami school with just 13 students in 1968. Along the way Havrilla has been honored and praised for his commitment. The Association of Independent Schools of Florida gave him the Distinguished Educator Award for developing a program to successfully mainstream students with learning disabilities into traditional classrooms or other school settings.

The nonprofit school’s motto is “Never, never quit.”

“I have enjoyed the experience of working with all the teachers, students and parents over the past 45 years,” John Havrilla said. “It has been very rewarding to watch our students grow and become successful adults. My interest has always to been to help children and I have always tried to do my best to do just that.”

Alumni, parents and staff are invited to the gala starting at 7 p.m., March 9 at Shake-A-Leg Miami. Tickets are $75. The volunteer parent group, the Vanguardians, is also holding fundraising for a commemorative tile mosaic wall as a tribute to Havrilla and the school. Current parents, alumni parents and all students may purchase and personalize a tile to add to this ongoing memorial.

For information on gala tickets or to purchase a commemorative tile call 305-445-7992 or write Vanguard School has individualized programs for first through eighth grade students with learning difficulties and/or attention deficit disorder. For more about the school check





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