They call it Buck Pride, the feeling that permeates the student body at Deerfield Beach High School, the home of the Bucks. The school has always been an athletic powerhouse. The girls and boys basketball teams have each won state championships, and the football team is currently ranked second in Florida. It would be a huge mistake, though, to say this school is all about sports.
“There's something here for everybody,” said principal Jon Marlow, bragging about the school’s three magnet programs and its strong STEM classes.
For example, many schools have robotics. Deerfield Beach has flying robotics, otherwise known as drones. Students on the Drone Team design, program, and build the flying machines and then race them through obstacle courses in competitions.
“They get an opportunity to work outside the framework of curriculum in a classroom,” said science teacher and Drone Team sponsor Kelly Caputo of the experience the students receive in the program. “They get to innovate, they get to design, they get to develop technology, they learn how to do computer coding, and they get to have a lot of fun!”
The students in the Communications and Broadcast Arts magnet have a blast, too. They did some research before NBC 6 came to the school and pulled out old yearbooks which included pictures of me. Yes, they are very old yearbooks. I graduated from Deerfield Beach High in 1982. Back then, there were no magnet programs, let alone one that teaches every form of journalism, from television to radio to print to social media.
“About half of our students don't want to be journalists, but they have a good time doing this and we're going to make them better communicators, better readers, writers and speakers,” said Jeff Romance, director of the program. “So whether they become a doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, whatever it is, they’re going to have communications skills that make them more successful in any endeavor.”
The school also has a unique magnet program called the Urban Teacher and Leadership Academy. It gives students who one day want to teach students in urban schools a taste of what to expect.
“It teaches kids how to be leaders in the community and leaders in the classroom and leaders amongst the student body,” said Principal Marlow.
Deerfield Beach is one of a handful of South Florida schools which feature the International Baccalaureate magnet. It’s almost a separate school within a school, with an academically rigorous curriculum designed and monitored in Switzerland. Its graduates annually go to the nation’s best universities.
At Deerfield High, every student who goes on to college after graduation can take advantage of the Butler Scholarship. A pioneering family in Deerfield Beach, the Butler family donated more than $7-million to create a scholarship fund for the school. Every year, the interest on the fund, usually about $200,000, is shared among college-bound graduates. Bucks for the Bucks.
“It takes a whole community to educate children, and the Butler family’s generosity is an example of that,” said Marlow.
The Bucks don’t stop here. They go on to become professionals in all walks of life, including pro sports. Deerfield Beach High’s famous NFL alumni include Jason Paul-Pierre and Denard Robinson, and in baseball, Houston Astros pitcher Mike Fiers tossed a no-hitter last season.