Walk onto campus at Cypress Bay High School in Weston and look around. It feels like a college, and with 4,600 students, it’s bigger than many institutions of higher learning.
“It’s just what we call the whole enchilada here in Broward County Schools,” said principal Scott Neely.
They stuff a lot into that enchilada, including one of the state’s best debate programs and a robotics team that regularly makes it national and even world competitions.
“It’s more than just building a robot, they really have to be a Jack of all trades, they have to not only build, program and cad the robot, they also have to make financial documents, marketing materials, team interviews,” said Angela Ashley, a physics teacher and the team’s coach.
The Home of the Lightning is the biggest high school in Florida and one of the largest in the nation. To accommodate the needs of its huge student body, Cypress Bay has 33 AP classes, the Cambridge Program, and 55 clubs.
150 students work on the school newspaper, The Circuit, which just won the award for best high school newspaper in Florida. Those students learn valuable skills in the process.
"For sure, time management, because putting together a paper like the circuit is no small task,” said editor Danielle Bush.
Cypress Bay has a 99 percent graduation rate, and 98 percent of its grads go on to college. It has alumni at all the Ivy League schools as well as Stanford, Duke, UF, UM, and the service academies. The school tailors its curriculum to the needs of its college-bound students.
“That’s why we have seven art teachers in the school, that’s why we have philosophy classes, that’s why we have so many different programs at this school because these kids, 98 percent are going to college, they really want that type of communication, that type of knowledge base,” Neely said. “I was just coming back from San Francisco, and there were five of my Bay kids on the plane that had just finished at Stanford, it just makes me so proud that they’re all over the country.”
Neely has many reasons to be proud. The Lightning boys soccer team has won multiple state titles, the boys and girls tennis program is a perennial powerhouse, and the television production program’s weekly news show was just named best in the country.
Cypress Bay has been an “A” ranked school for twelve straight years. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice? It certainly does in Weston.