Tech, Art Programs Flourishing at Miami Springs High

Miami Springs is a charming community often overlooked because it's tucked between the airport and Hialeah. The city's high school has two unique magnet programs, many decades of tradition, great teachers and yet it feels like a hidden gem.

"A lot of great people that really are dedicated to this. This is more than just a job for them, this is a passion, this is a vocation for them. That's what makes our school so great," said Principal Ed Smith. "A hidden gem. Yes, a hidden gem."

Miami Springs High has the innovative iTech Academy, in which students focus on video game design in a four-year course of study.

"The students will be incorporating everything that they use within the core subject areas: language arts, math, science, biology, physics," said iTech teacher Rene Barge.

On the other side of the brain, art also flourishes at Miami Springs. Teacher Beth Goldstein was named the state's art teacher of the year. The school also added a modern dance program, new for this school year. It's a needed outlet for student creativity. The kids in the program are like investors in a new startup company, except they're also the capital.

"But they don't have the opportunity outside of school, unfortunately, to take a dance class or to be able to express themselves or to even learn how to move within their own bodies, so that's what we're exploring this year," explained dance teacher Samantha Pazos. "They're taking ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz. We're even going into musical theatre."

The school's other magnet program is the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism. It prepares students to move up the ladder of opportunity in Florida's biggest industry, placing them in hotel, travel and restaurant internships.

Miami Springs offers the Cambridge Program and a full range of AP classes for advanced academics, and a Special Olympics team for its most special students. There's also a class, started by a student, in which mentally handicapped kids are tutored by advanced colleagues. It seems the Golden Hawks have hearts of gold.

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