It’s a unique school with a unique concept. The Medical Academy of Science and Technology, or MAST at Homestead Academy, is an all-magnet, all-medical high school, focused on growing healthcare professionals.
"It is our goal for 100 percent of our students not only to graduate, not only to be post-secondary, but also to be 100 percent accelerated, meaning they’ve passed an a-p exam, they passed a dual enrollment class, and passed an industry certification,” said Sami Hamdan, assistant principal at the school.
They’re on their way to meeting that goal. MAST has a 100 percent graduation rate, with alumni at prestigious colleges including Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Columbia. Unlike most public high schools, students here must take math and science all four years, so it’s academically rigorous, and there’s a spirit here borne of the fact that every student at MAST wants to be at the school. Bringing kids with a passion for healthcare together was the whole idea behind this one-of-a-kind magnet school.
Being surrounded by peers who are as inspired by the medical arts as they are, that was really the goal by Dade County, was to create a pre-med environment, a place where students could study the advanced curriculum, get the community service hours, participate in internships, complete advanced research, and give them a leg up when they apply to pre-med programs,” said Nichol Martinez, the school’s magnet coordinator and admissions director.
The class of 2014 was the first to graduate from this relatively new school, so there are alumni heading to medical school next year. Meanwhile, MAST is already producing physical therapists, nurses, pharmacists, and more, and fittingly, the students are being trained and molded in a building that was once Homestead Hospital. The abandoned site was repurposed and redesigned as a high school.
“This building opened in the 1940’s, it housed wounded warriors in world war two, and the fact that now it’s producing 21st-century doctors, I think, is incredible,” Martinez said.
With more than 700 students, all of them college-bound, there’s much to cheer about at MAST at Homestead Academy. In fact, the school has a cheerleading squad, even without any sports teams to cheer about.