With their high-energy drum line and dance team, the Broncos of Homestead Senior High School march to the beat of their location.
The school is just down the street from the terminus of the Florida Turnpike, or the beginning of the highway, depending on your direction.
“We talk about exit one pride, exit one is unique, there’s a level of pride and spirit and energy down south that you’re not gonna find anywhere else, we’re a very proud community, we’re very engaged in our community,” said the principal, John Galardi.
Homestead High has all the standard regular, honors, and AP classes. It also has three magnet programs, including one for students interested in going into the health care field.
The nursing magnet program prepares kids to eventually take care of other people. Meanwhile, the JROTC prepares them to be model citizens in our society. In a community closely tied to the Air Force, it’s no surprise that this program includes more than 200 students. It is not, the commander says, designed to funnel graduates into the armed forces.
“We teach them the concept of ambition and having a vision for themselves of the future so that they can, in fact, be a model citizen and represent not only ROTC but Homestead Senior High School,” said Colonel Vince Bugeja, the retired USAF officer who leads the program.
The second magnet program is the academy of information technology. It’s a haven for computer geeks who learn to design video game environments while they earn industry certifications on up to three different 3D modeling software programs.
“It gives them a proficiency to adapt to a lot of different programs and tools, the basic set of tools they might use on one program scaffolds up to other ones,” explained the teacher, John Sanin.
The academy of hospitality and tourism is the third magnet program. It prepares students to work in South Florida’s biggest industry.
“Our students get hands-on learning experiences through internships and partnerships within the community,” Galardi said.
If you could smell the culinary program’s kitchen on this day, when they’re making chocolate chip cookies and crumb cake, you’d know why it’s such a popular course. The students get valuable restaurant training for free and it’s one of those classes which makes school fun.
“Sure, math, science, social studies is important, but we want to provide kids other experiences, it broadens their experiences here and it creates a degree of engagement to come to school and get a different experience,” Galardi said.