September 2014, Volume 18, Number 3

Cultural Spotlight


Too Cool for School

Diario las Américas was looking for new ways to attract the next generation of readers, and their solution was brilliant.

They enlisted the help of MDC student photographers, whose sharp images have brought vibrant touches to the pages of the longest-running Spanish-language newspaper in Florida.

A Standing MDC Feature

Starting Jan. 1, Diario las Américas, which was founded in 1953, began publishing every Monday through Saturday photos sent in by Miami Dade College students.

Manuel Aguilera, Diario’s executive editor, put the students’ pictures on Page 2 – prime real estate for his readers.

And the students, he said, have delivered beyond his wildest imagination.

“I gave them the freedom to shoot whatever captured their imagination,” Aguilera said. “They could have focused on some of the negative aspects of Miami. But I was pleasantly surprised at how artistic their photos were and how they seemed to view the city in such a hopeful way.”

Diana Velarde, who is studying architecture at MDC’s Kendall Campus, is one of the student photographers who participated in the project.

A native of Lima, Peru, Velarde said she wanted readers who saw her photos to fall in love with Miami just like she did when she arrived here.

“I wanted to show some of the iconic views and illustrate how Miami mixes the natural with the modern, blending the old with the new,” said Velarde, 27.

The Feeling of MDC

Other Miami Dade College students had different goals. Christian Casas, 20, who is studying theater education at Wolfson Campus, tried to “capture a feeling, an emotion, a moment.” One of his photos was of a Miami Beach sunset.

David Vásquez, 19, who is studying architecture at Kendall Campus, wanted to show “how teenagers in Miami are looking for something adventurous to do.” He shot photos of graffiti in Wynwood and old vinyl records in a music store.

No matter what stirred the students’ imagination, they were happy that MDC and Diario las Américas gave them a platform for expression.

“My professors at Miami Dade College are so passion-driven, and they open doors for us,” said Velarde. “I’m extremely happy with the opportunities MDC has given me to grow as a person and as a student.”

Students interested in submitting photo should send high-resolution jpgs of at least 1MB, 300 dpi and 7” x 5” to You must include your name and a caption written in Spanish that is no longer than 25 words and describes how the photo captures the essence of Miami. The better the writing and photo, the better the chance of getting published.

— WV

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