The Carol City Chiefs are feared on the football field. They’re currently the top-ranked team in Florida and rated fifth in the nation. The school is a powerhouse in athletics in general, but the newly arrived principal has news for you.
“My focus is to move our school forward, my statement all year has been changing the narrative, shifting the culture and by that I mean introducing students to more rigorous coursework so that they can be prepared to go into life after high school to go into college,” said Adrena Williams, principal of Carol City Senior High School.
Williams points out the school’s partnerships with St. Thomas University, Florida Memorial University, and FIU to offer dual enrollment classes, and a tasty collaboration between the school’s culinary program and Johnson and Wales University. She’s planning on adding more AP classes to the courses already taught at the school, such as AP seminar, and because the school is undercrowded, with only a thousand students, class size is small and kids get more one-on-one instruction.
Carol City has nine specialized academies and a magnet Law and Criminal Justice program.
“Our goal is to make sure these students who want to become professionals in the criminal justice system become successful first in high school to be able to go into a college of criminal justice,” said teacher Micah Israel, who is a retired detective who worked at several police agencies.
The school has a cosmetology class and a construction worker apprenticeship program, too.
“Every child isn’t going to college, that’s just the reality of it and yes we’re pushing college but some children need that classroom to life experience so we’re able to do that here,” Williams explained.
Williams took over as principal this school year, and she talked an alumnus and former band director into coming back to resurrect the music program. Richard Beckford says when the school year started, he had almost nothing to work with.
“Well five kids walked up to me and told me they were really happy I was the band director, I said how many other kids do we have, and they said we are the band, I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it,” Beckford said.
Each one of those original five kids recruited 10 classmates to join the band. Most of them could not play an instrument, but after two and a half months of intense, peer-to-peer instruction and practice, the band makes a raucous noise and most people would never guess so many
“We have amazing kids, when we change the mindset and the focus we do amazing things,” Beckford said.
That could be another mantra for Carol City Senior High School.