They look like flight simulators, each with three bright computer monitors, steering wheels and joysticks, too, but instead of learning to fly an airplane, the students working on the machines are learning to operate forklifts.
They’re forklift simulators, part of the King Carter Global Trade and Logistics magnet program at Miami Central High School. It’s all part of an effort to prepare students for all facets of the booming import-export industry, from management to actually working in a warehouse or at the Port of Miami.
“A lot of kids don’t necessarily take the college route so the whole goal is to try to get them some type of experience in the industry of trade and logistics because down here it’s a rapidly growing field,” explained teacher Wyllesheia Myrick.
The Rockets of Central High aren’t just ready for liftoff, they’re already in the stratosphere. Their school has the nation’s fifth-ranked football team at the moment, advanced academics, a new iPrep program, and it’s been a pillar of the community for decades.
“Our pride comes from the fact that the people who have graduated from Miami Central still come back and invest in the kids, we have several business leaders, community leaders that come out, speak to the kids, they mentor the kids, so they set a standard for our kids so when they graduate they know what the expectation is,” said principal Gregory Bethune.
The school has one of the most expansive special education programs in South Florida. More than 200 students who have disabilities are involved in it.
“Each student has their own individual needs, we do have programs here to accommodate each and every student,” said Shevonne Williams, the special education director.
Whether the student is autistic, intellectually disabled, hearing impaired, whatever the exceptionality is, the staff at Central works with them, teaching them culinary skills, cosmetology, and more, with an eye on life after high school.
“The students, in addition to being taught the academic skills necessary, we also provide life skills,” Williams explained.
Central has a full array of AP, honors, and dual enrollment classes, so high academic achievers feel at home here.
“We have students who graduated who are entrepreneurs, we have students who graduate and go the Ivy League, so we’re proud of all of our students as long as they become productive citizens in our community,” Bethune said.