Brag About Your School: Miami Senior High - NBC 6 South Florida

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Brag About Your School: Miami Senior High

Brag About Your School: Miami Senior High

Ari Odzer reports from the oldest high school in Miami-Dade County. (Published Monday, Nov. 17, 2014)

Miami High School leads the state of Florida in all-time basketball championships and it leads its county in age. An historic icon, the home of the Stingarees opened in 1902 and moved into its current building in 1928. Two World Wars, the civil rights movement, the space race,the Cold War, Miami High grads took part in all of it.

Now a sense of the school's place in history is infused into all of its teachers and students.

"I do believe that it helps the learning environment because you start to feel attached, you start to bleed blue and gold," said Isamara Berrios, a Language Arts teacher who graduated from Miami High in 2008.

Berrios looks barely older than her students. She's the teacher who encouraged her pupils to send NBC 6 essays bragging about their school.

"My dreams first were planted here in this school, I'm a first-generation college graduate so this is what opened up doors to me, UF came here and gave me a scholarship from Miami High School so i'm forever grateful for what it did for me and i want to do the same for my students," Berrios said.

The entire school has undergone a facelift, with new classroom buildings sprouting up on campus. The classic gym, called the Asylum, now has air conditioning and new seats. The library has been refurbished to restore the classic look it once had, with light streaming through the once-covered windows. The iconic main building, which looks like a cross between a gothic cathedral and a mediterranean villa, was also restored to its 1928 appearance, when it opened.

Joe Underwood has been at Miami High for 30 years. He teaches television production.

"The tradition, the history of being the oldest high school in Miami, it just makes you feel part of something very very special," Underwood said.

The alumni who walked these halls include former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham, Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat, NFL star Andre Johnson, and the current principal, who played point guard on one of the school's many championship teams. Benny Valdes says it's special to be a role model at his old school.

"Seeing the students go through the same experiences that i went through as a student myself, Valdes says. "Showing them they can succeed."

Having an historical foundation is great, no question about it, but the students today are focused on making their own history at Miami High School, and on creating bright futures.

With magnet programs in law and in education, the school is training tomorrow's lawyers and teachers,teachers who might end up following an established pattern and coming back to their alma mater.

  

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