It opened its doors in 1971, and in the decades since, Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School has produced scores of professionals in our community. In fact, many of them are drawn back to their alma mater to teach. The school has 15 alumni on the faculty now.
“It tells me that they leave this place, that they leave but they want to come back, and you want to give back to the students who are here now, which makes it pretty amazing,” said principal Lisa Garcia.
The Trojan marching band makes up the biggest musical slice of the pie at HML, but the school recently added what is perhaps a one-of-a-kind activity, a salsa club. Not the stuff that goes well with chips, a club in which students learn to salsa dance. It’s part of the school’s effort to create a niche for every student.
“Your know Hialeah Miami Lakes is a traditional high school, so that means you get to experience all of the electives, all of the programs, the athletics, the clubs, the activities as well as getting a top-notch education,” Garcia said.
HML has a magnet program in Digital Media Technology and Entrepreneurship, in which students have opportunities ranging from flying drones to programming robots.
“For example, graphic design, web development, app development, entrepreneurship, they get into building out robots,” said Ray Pariss, a teacher in the program. “And one of the cool things, the skill set the kids learn is how to take this concept and apply it to the real world.”
Students in the program, for instance, designed an app to encourage classmates to report crimes.
HML has three magnet programs, including the iPrep college prep course, and a Legal Studies program. We watched the students conducting a mock trial, but they also compete in Constitutional knowledge contests and also in a program called Project Citizen in which they have to solve local societal problems.
“The more an issue’s close to you, the more passionate you are about it, and they learn that you don’t have to be an adult before you solve an issue, we all have problems around us and who are we waiting for? We have to be our own heroes,” said teacher Rukayat Adebisi, explaining the life lessons kids in that program learn.
Hialeah Miami Lakes will soon be getting a facelift, thanks to bond money which will pay for physical improvements. They’ve already got the academic part on the right track. They have a 93 percent graduation rate, one of the highest in Miami-Dade County.