Coral Reef High School Ranked Among Nation’s Top Schools

Coral Reef High School has a reputation for academic excellence. Newsweek magazine ranked it among the nation's top high schools. But most people don't know it also has the national champion dance team.

"We started in the summer with practices and camp. They practice technique, choreography, they take ballet class, modern jazz, hip hop. They do a little bit of everything," said dance coach Rebecca Santalo.

You might say Coral Reef High collectively does a little bit of everything, and it does it very, very well. They call themselves the mega magnet, because it's an all-magnet, powerhouse school.

"The powerhouse in terms of academics, athletics and activities," said Principal Thomas Ennis, who said he's thrilled by the school's "consistency of academic excellence."

Every student at the school joins one of six academies: International Baccalaureate, Medical and Health Sciences, Business and Finance, Legal, Agriscience and Engineering, or Visual and Performing Arts.

"It's incredible because we are a random selection school, meaning that students that come here, they are selected by random selection. So sometimes we get students that are not at their highest academic level but when they come here, there's a level of expectation and students meet those expectations. That's what makes us so amazing," said Martha Cabrera, the magnet program coordinator.

Cabrera said the school preaches the virtues of strong schedules to its students, knowing that's what the top colleges want to see. 

98 percent of the Cudas go on to study in college, including the best universities in the country. There are Coral Reef alumni all over the Ivy League.

"I think what I'm most proud of is we've built on 18 years of excellence and every year we seem to do something better," Cabrera said.

With an active and supportive PTSA, a staff of dedicated teachers, and a student body that buys in to the notion of hard work paying off, Coral Reef has created a culture where it's cool to be smart. That's always a recipe for success.

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