Brag About Hollywood Hills High School - NBC 6 South Florida

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Brag About Hollywood Hills High School

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    NBC 6's Ari Odzer highlights what Hollywood Hills High school has to offer. (Published Friday, Nov. 4, 2016)

    They start every class in the military academy magnet program at Hollywood Hills High School with students standing at attention, reciting a mantra about respect and hard work and honor. Similar to what they do in Junior ROTC programs, except this one infuses business leadership skills for the 21st century along with the military-style discipline. It's the only program like this in Broward County.

    "At best, you and I learned how to write a check, today these kids don't know what a check is, but they know what electronic banking is, they understand you can make electronic deposits, they know all that sort of stuff," said teacher John Cejka.

    The magnet program takes students on a four-year journey through business principles.

    "In each course, in their English courses, their social studies courses, they're learning the leadership skills and also how to segue that into business and entrepreneurship," said assistant principal Erin Brown.

    Hollywood Hills High has an award-winning Mary in grand, the Spartan Pride, and the school has no shortage of pride as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The science and engineering students in the SECME club beat every high school in Broward last year, public and private, in the annual competition. So it's a full-service high school, with all the usual AP classes and dual enrollment options, including AP Capstone, but Hollywood Hills is gaining a reputation as a school that gets down to business.

    The Virtual Enterprise Institute is another interesting offering at the school. It's a classroom which has been converted into a fictional corporation. Students come up with a type of business, a product they're going to sell, and run every aspect of the company, from website design to marketing to quality control to human resources.

    "They're being groomed at an early age, they're learning college readiness skills as well as everyday workforce skills," said teacher Kimberly Saunders.

    The school also has a nationally-recognized service club, the Latinos in Action. It was formed to help newly-arrived immigrants adjust and thrive in an American high school environment, and it's grown beyond that original intent.

    "The mission of Latinos in Action is to empower our youth to be career ready and college ready and we do this many ways and it's such a pleasure to see my kids go off to college and do great things," said Meivys Reyes, who teaches the Latinos in Action elective and is an alumnus of Hollywood Hills.

    One of the club members represented the state of Florida at the White House last summer, meeting First Lady Michelle Obama at the Beating the Odds Summit.

    "It was just amazing because she gave a great speech about how to continue our education and that nothing is impossible in life," said student Jonathan De Cruz.

    You could say the school's mantra has the same message.

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