After more than five decades serving kids in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, Stranahan High School has earned icon status. The home of the Dragons, however, isn't looking back, the focus is firmly on the needs of students and preparing them for 21st-century careers.
"The old adage is 'tell me, I'll forget; teach me, I may remember; but engage me and I will learn,' so we are definitely proponents of engaging students in a rigorous curriculum," said principal Michelle Padura.
The school has three magnet programs, extensive dual-enrollment opportunities, and all the traditional AP and honors classes.
The medical magnet program attracts students interested in careers in healthcare, and graduates have become doctors, nurses, and other health-related professionals.
The engineering magnet features drones, robots, 3D printers, and more.
"Of course, we want them to have fun, but we want them to have a technical foundation so we emphasize the core components, core concepts in our engineering and STEM disciplines as well," said Gabriel Andrews, the engineering teacher.
Students are ready to study engineering in college or they can earn several industry certifications while they're in high school.
Extensive dual-enrollment options allow students to graduate with an AA degree along with their diplomas.
The school also has the Urban Teacher Academy Preparation magnet program. The goal is to prepare future teachers for the real world.
"We actually have them go out into one of our feeder elementary schools and they go there to work with the elementary school students on literacy, reading, what they do is take the labs they're working on here, it's like taking the show out on the road," Padura said.
Stranahan also emphasizes extra-curricular activities. They have an award-winning marching band, state champion cheerleaders, and the full array of varsity sports.
Thomas Harrison wears two hats, as the athletic director and the activities director, and says he's proud to offer clubs for every interest. Everything from gardening to poetry to guitar to the Latinos in Action club.
"A school is a service industry and I tell our students we're here to serve you so whatever ideas that they have, share with us and we'll make it happen because once they take ownership of their school, that's when the morale and the pride go up," Harrison said.
The Dragons of Stranahan High have options. Lots of options and opportunities to succeed.