Unique on the outside and inside, the students at SLAM academy are pioneers at a brand new school with a brand new concept.
"Sports leadership and management academy," says principal Alex Tamargo, explaining the meaning behind the name of the school. "We have slamified our curriculum which means that every aspect and every course and every teacher needs to incorporate sports into their subject matter."
That means using sports terms in history lessons, sports statistics in math class, the dynamics of sports in physics courses.
The academy is housed in a seven-story building a couple of blocks from the Marlins' ballpark. The gym sits on the top, and it'll be a spectacular place to see a basketball game once it's finished. There are floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides, with views of the stadium on one side and downtown miami on the other.
SLAM Academy is a charter school for grades 6 through 12. A total of 2,500 hundred students from all over Miami-Dade county applied for 800 slots.
"I'm taking AP classes and I learn so much because there's only 10 to 12 kids in every class," said junior Nydia Penas, who transferred from another high school and wants to be a lawyer.
"I decided to come to this school because I love sports, sports is what I am, I just want to do anything with sports."
The school is a work in progress, some parts, like the still unfinished broadcasting studio, aren't yet ready for prime time, but Tamargo's vision for the concept is taking off. He says it's absolutely not just a school for athletes.
"This is a school for a student who wants to go to college, who wants to pursue a career in the field of sports, be it broadcasting, marketing, or sports medicine," Tamargo said.
Almost all of the teachers at slam are former college or pro athletes. They and the students are learning the academic playbook together.
"What we're pushing and promoting here, it's not what are you gonna do when you graduate, it's what school are you going to," Tamargo said.