The marching band at Coconut Creek High School produces a joyous cacophony of sound, music to the ears of anyone who hears it.
The raucous noise in the school’s auto shop is also a sweet mix of sounds for students in Bob Lowery’s automobile technicians program. He trains students to take jobs in the auto industry, plentiful jobs with good pay, for kids who can hack it.
"You can make a very good career for the rest of your life, and it is a high tech career now, it is no longer the grease monkey that we used to think it was, highly computerized, highly, highly technical," Lowery said.
Coconut Creek High has been an icon in North Broward for more than 40 years, a traditional, comprehensive high school which now has a brand-new magnet program. It’s called the Creek Technical Academy.
"Every high school’s graduating kids and you have to set yourself apart as a student when you’re going to college and have something that other students don’t have and our technical academy is gonna give kids that advantage," said principal Scott Fiske. "The intent is to go to college, we’re not trying to usurp college in any way."
The CAT is designed to give students college credit plus an industry certification while they’re in high school, so they can work in their field of interest while they’re in college.
"For example," Fiske said, "Someone who wants to go to law school, we can hand them a certificate as a court reporter coming out of high school, they can be in a courtroom around judges and lawyers while they’re in college studying."
The CAT includes 30 academic areas, from computer engineering to nursing to culinary arts and much more.
"It’s brought a whole new excitement to the school," said magnet program coordinator Jill Ridinger. "The magnet program offers so many opportunities for the kids, first of all it’s a small environment, so it’s a lot more nurturing, we only take a hundred and fifty students per school year."
There’s something for every type of student at the home of the Cougars, whether they’re destined for the Ivy League or a NASCAR pit crew.