Christopher Columbus High School (Miami)

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Coordinates: 25°44′30″N 80°20′19″W / 25.74164°N 80.338621°W / 25.74164; -80.338621

Christopher Columbus High School
3000 SW Galloway Road (87th Avenue)
Westchester, Miami, Florida, (Miami-Dade), 33165-3293
United States of America
Type Private, All-Boys
Motto ¡Adelante!/Forward!
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic, Marist Brothers
Patron saint(s) St. Marcellin Champagnat
Established 1958
Status Active and progressing since 1958
President Br. Kevin Handibode, F.M.S.
Principal Br. Michael Brady, F.M.S.
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,350 (2013)
Language English, French, Spanish
Hours in school day 8
Campus size 19 acre
Campus type Urban area
Color(s) Royal Blue & White         
Athletics conference 8A
Mascot Explorer
Rival Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
Accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Newspaper 'The Log'
Yearbook Adelante
Sister School Our Lady of Lourdes Academy
Alias C.C.H.S. or Columbus

Christopher Columbus High School is a private, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory high school, conducted by the Marist Brothers in the Westchester neighborhood of Miami Dade County, Florida. It was established in 1958 and was taken over by the Marist Brothers in 1959. It has over 100 teachers, administrators, faculty, staff, and an enrollment of 1,350 students. Offering a full range of academics, sports and clubs, it was selected, for the fourth time in a row, as one of the "Top 50 Catholic High Schools" in the United States by the Catholic High School Honor Roll in 2008. The school is the only private school in Florida that competes in sports at the 8A level; it has won five state championships in various sports and two all-sport title for boys' sports.It has since developed into one of the top Catholic high schools in the United States and is a model for Catholic schools all over the country.


Christopher Columbus High School has come along way since ground was broken in 1958, in an area that was then surrounded by Everglades swamp land. The school was established by the Diocese of Miami at the request of the Archbishop of Miami Coleman F. Carroll to continue the secondary education program at St. Theresa Catholic School in Coral Gables.

The school opened with just two and a half buildings and an enrollment of approximately 150 students. The Marist Brothers assumed the direction of the school in 1959. Columbus began to make a name for itself as a school that offered an exceptional academic program, along with excellent extracurricular and athletic programs. Throughout the years the school expanded, adding new buildings, facilities and programs. Presently the Columbus campus extends over 24 acres. In addition to the four major academic buildings, there is the Abraham Science Building, the Lawrence-Bell Media Center, the Howard Korth Music and Athletic Center and the Mas Technology Complex. Athletic facilities include varsity athletic fields, a baseball complex, outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, a gymnasium, track, and weight room.

Today, Columbus has an enrollment of approximately 1,350 students and over 12,700 alumni, many of which hold prominent positions all over the world.


These are some of the accomplishments Columbus has had:[citation needed]

  • 1958: Columbus opens with 2 ½ buildings with an enrollment of 139 students.
  • 1959: The Marist Brothers assumed the direction of the school under the leadership of Br. Benedict Henry.
  • 1960: Tuition at Columbus was $18 per month.
  • 1961: The CCHS gym made history as its pre-cast beams were the largest ever constructed in South Florida.
  • 1965: The Brothers’ residence opens.
  • 1978: 1st computer course is introduced.
  • 1981: Campus Ministry implemented Encounter, Kergyma, and Emmaus Retreats to enrich Explorer spirituality.
  • 1983: The Anthony Abraham Science Building opens offering 6 labs.
  • 1988: The Genevieve Abraham Chapel opens.
  • 1988: The 1st Columbus Open House is held.
  • 1989: Senator Bob Graham praises and congratulates C.C.H.S. for its 30th Anniversary at the U.S. Senate Chamber.
  • 1998: The Lawrence Bell Media Center opens.
  • 1999: St. Marcellin Champagant was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II, 1999 − Archbishop John Clement Favalora celebrated a special Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Miami in his honor.
  • 2004: Baseball Complex is completed and varsity baseball wins the state championships.
  • 2004: CCHS is named one of top 50 Catholic High Schools in the U.S, 2004. No other Catholic H.S. in Miam-Dade was selected. The school will go on to consistently receive this distinction.
  • 2007: Voted as one of the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in the country for a 3rd time.
  • 2007: More CCHS students take AP classes than any other Catholic school in Miami-Dade County and their averages are higher than the Florida and National Average.
  • 2008: The Mas Technology Complex is completed in September, 2008 − marking the close of the 5th decade and the beginning of the next 50 years of Marist Educational Excellence at Columbus.
  • 2013: Congressman Joe Garcia honors C.C.H.S. by presenting a Congressional Records Statement that honors the school for 55 years of service to the community. In the Statement Congressman Garcia says "It is only fitting that Columbus' motto be Adelante, for this school has certainly been moving South Florida and America forward for over half a century".
  • 2013: Starting in the 2013–14 school year, Columbus will launch a one to one iPad-based learning ecosystem which involves all students and faculty utilizing iPads in the classroom.
  • 2013: Columbus opens a 4 million dollar Fitness Complex and Wellness Center.

Catholic and Marist identity[edit]

The school chapel

As a Catholic and Marist institution, students are offered the opportunity to go to confession and attend Mass and various Catholic retreats. Catholic religious education is part of everyday curriculum yet students are also exposed to the various world religions in their regular history classes. The Marist Brothers are an international community of more than 3,500 Catholic Brothers dedicated to making Jesus Christ known and loved through the education of young people, especially those most neglected. The Brothers aim to nurture the growth of the whole student in heart, mind, and body. The Brothers are educators, counselors, social workers, youth leaders and missionaries. Every day they transform the lives and situations of thousands of young people through education and spirituality, challenging young people to live their fullest potential in Christ. Youth Group is on Wednesdays after school . Mass is celebrated Monday through Friday in the Genevieve Abraham Chapel at 7:30 in the morning. Columbus is one of 14 schools in the United States in which the Marist Brothers minister and 1 of the 7 that are owned and operated by the Brothers. Columbus is one of the U.S. Marist schools with the greatest number of working Brothers and is the only one that has both a president and principal who are Brothers.[citation needed]

Mission statement[edit]

Christopher Columbus High School is a private, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory high school, conducted by the Marist Brothers of the Schools. We aim to make Jesus Christ known and loved, as we prepare young men for higher education and for their continuous challenge of harmonizing faith, culture and life. We foster a family spirit among all who are committed to the success of the school and promote opportunities to work together as a community of learners.


Christopher Columbus High School is committed to a comprehensive educational program in academics, spirituality, and physical development which will lead our students to the experience of personal faith and of their vocation as good Christians and virtuous citizens.

Admission and academics[edit]

As a Catholic and Marist institution, the school does not discriminate on the basis of race or religion in its admissions process. The school is funded by tuition with significant discounts offered for 2nd and 3rd children enrolled in the school. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Accreditation AdvancED / SACS CASI

Affiliation- Marist Secondary Education Association, Archdiocese of Miami, National Catholic Education Association, National Association of College Admissions Counselors.

Columbus is an Elite Smart Showcase School and a participating school in the Catholic High School Honor Roll for 2012-2013.

In order to graduate, students require twenty-four credits and a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0. They must also complete one hundred hours of community service by the end of their senior year. The academics at Columbus are based on a phasing system: Phase 2 classes are for the academically challenged who require more time to absorb a given subject, Phase 3 classes are for average students, Phase 4 refers to honors classes for the academically gifted, and Phase 5 refers to Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which have a college-level format and where academically motivated students have the opportunity to gain college credit should they earn the proper score on the AP exam. Depending on a given phase of a class, a student will earn a certain amount of points, which are then weighted and averaged to generate a student's GPA, the average GPA being a 3.2.

Outside of Columbus HS cafeteria.

Columbus has more students taking AP classes than any other Catholic school in Miami-Dade County[citation needed] and their passing averages on AP exams are five times higher than the state and national averages.

Curriculum design[edit]

The school’s college preparatory curriculum features a variety of instructional strategies and enrichment programs to serve a diverse learning community and enable students to achieve their full potential. Our standards-aligned courses are offered in ability groupings to accommodate students’ learning styles and abilities. Smaller class sizes, coupled with sound educational practices which are assistive and supportive by design, and various summer and after school enrichment opportunities provide optimal opportunities for all of our students to succeed. The Advanced Placement, dual-enrollment and honors level classes offer our proficient young men opportunities to excel at an accelerated pace and possibly earn sophomore standing at many colleges upon completion of their high school years.

Columbus High School’s Mas Family Scholars Program is considered to be one of the most challenging academic programs in South Florida.[citation needed] Designed for the gifted, highly motivated student, the program balances AP, dual-enrollment and honors courses with enrichment activities, summer classes, a guest lecture series, internships and independent study projects.*Mas Family Scholars Program = Designed for gifted, highly motivated students.

  • Mas Scholars Program = considered to be one of the most challenging academic programs in South Florida.[citation needed] Designed for the gifted, highly motivated student, the program balances rigorous coursework with enrichment activities, internships and independent study projects.
  • Honors Program = Structured to academically advanced students with high grade point averages.
  • College Preparatory Program = Excellent high school curriculum for motivated students.[citation needed]

Dual-enrollment classes are offered through St Thomas University, Barry University and Florida International University . These classes enable the student to earn both high school and college credit for the course.

Mas Family Scholars Program[edit]

Started in the 2005-2006 school year, the Mas Family Scholars Program is an accelerated program at Christopher Columbus High School. The program was started by the Mas Family, who founded MasTec, Inc., a telecommunications company, to provide select Columbus students with a challenging curriculum.[citation needed] In addition to having an advanced curriculum, the students in the program participate in extracurricular activities. Mas Scholars are encouraged to participate in sports and to encompass the ideal of the student athlete. Mas Scholars[1]

The Mas Family Scholars Program is an accelerated program of studies designed to enable highly motivated students to excel in academics. Students in the program participate in many enrichment opportunities and extracurricular activities. The program offers Columbus’ most challenging curriculum. In fact, the curriculum is considered to be one of the most challenging for high school boys in South Florida. Participants in the program are ensured to graduate with a minimum of 30 Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment college credits. The combination of the program’s curriculum and enrichment opportunities is designed to prepare students to be among the top candidates for admission into major colleges and universities.

The program is a continuing collaborative effort between Columbus and the Mas Family. Brothers Jorge Mas, Juan Carlos Mas, and Jose Mas, sons of the late Jorge Mas Canosa, founder of MasTec, Inc. and The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), are all proud Columbus graduates. The eldest, Jorge Mas, is the Chairman of the Board for MasTec and for The Cuban American National Foundation, and the youngest, Jose Mas, is the current CEO of MasTec. The brothers value the importance of a quality education and believe this program will give students an opportunity to compete at the highest levels in both college and life.

Program requirements[citation needed]:

  • Top 10% score in the Columbus Entrance Exam
  • Recommendation from junior high school principal
  • Completion of enrichment courses during the summer
  • A minimum of four Honors/AP/Dual Enrollment courses during junior year and five during senior year
  • B+ or higher cumulative GPA.
  • Involvement in minimally 1 extracurricular activity per year
  • Attendance at a minimum of two enrichment activities during the year
  • Service to the community

Program benefits[citation needed]:

  • Students are ensured to complete a minimum of 30 college credits prior to graduation
  • Periodic enrichment activities - Personal guidance and academic counseling
  • Periodic status meetings with program director to ensure successful completion of courses
  • College counseling and organized visits to universities
  • Gateway to College
  • Columbus College and Career Counselors will arrange periodic meetings with parents and students to explore college and career opportunities
  • Preparation for PSAT/SAT examinations
  • SAT 2 examinations upon completion of AP or Honors courses
  • Induction into Honor Societies
  • Field trips: Past Mas Scholar field trips have included visits to the Everglades National Park, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, operas, theatre, museums, Hispanic Heritage Lectures, and art and music lectures.
  • Summer enrichment opportunities: During the summer our Mas Scholars are given wonderful opportunities to participate in internships and college programs. In 2006, some of our Mas Scholars interned in the offices of government officials, at Miami Metro Zoo, and at HNTB Engineering. Several other scholars attended debate camp at Stanford University and Dartmouth College, participated in the LEAD program at Duke University, and attended engineering programs at the University of Notre Dame. Some scholars were mentored by professors at Florida International University where they assisted the professors with their research.

Students and faculty[edit]

The students are 84% Hispanic, 13% White, 2% African-American, and 1% combination of Asian/Pacific, Pacific Islander and Native American/Alaskan. The student-teacher ratio at Christopher Columbus High School is about 15:1. The professional staff includes 17 Marist Brothers, 2 priests, and 84 laypersons; 2 librarians/media specialists and 9 counselors/advisors; 45% hold an advanced degree; 60% have over 20 years of teaching experience, and half have been with the school well over 15 years. Many Marist Brothers hold positions at Columbus including President, Principal, Guidance Counselors, career and college advisors, and most of importantly teachers.

Clubs and social life[edit]

Although the school is an all-boy institution, the social formation of the students includes girls from neighboring co-ed St. Brendan High School in after-school clubs. Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, the Catholic all-girls sister school to Columbus,[citation needed] handles the cheerleading for the Columbus sports teams. Christopher Columbus High School also plays host to both Homecoming and Prom events each year for their students and their dates.

A wide variety of clubs are available for students. These include: Adelante (Yearbook), Chess Club, Close Up, C.R.O.S. (Conservative Rank of Students), Dominoes Club, Democratic Student Alliance, Drama Club, Fairchild Tropical Challenge, Film Club, French Club, French Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Intramural Athletics, Key Club, Math Honor Society - Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, Robotics Club, Salsa Club, Science Honors Society, Scuba Dive Club, Squires, Rho Kappa and History Club, Spanish Club, Spanish Honor Society, Recycling Club, Speech and Debate, Squires Club, Student Activities Committee - S.A.C, Surf and Skate Club, The Log, Tournament Video Game Club, Retro Gamers Club, Weight Lifting, World Languages Club.[citation needed]


The tennis courts are adjacent to the gymnasium building, at left.
The football field is surrounded by the track and stadium seating.

Columbus is the only private school in Florida that competes at a 8A level.

Varsity level sports offered are: baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, hockey, soccer, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, swimming, diving, tennis, track and field, water polo and wrestling.

Junior varsity level sports include: baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, hockey, soccer, wrestling and lacrosse. Freshman level sports offered are: baseball, basketball, football and volleyball.

In 2009, Christopher Columbus High School won the Dodge Sunshine Cup All-Sports Award for boys' athletics programs in Class 6A.[2] Columbus has produced six state champion and ten runner-up teams:

Sport Champion Runner-Up
Baseball 2003[3] 1973,[3] 2009[4]
Football 1980, 1982[5]
Cross country 1997, 2008,[6] 2009,[7] 2010 1962, 1995, 2005, 2011[6]
Tennis 1987[8]
Track and field 2009, 2010[9]


Additionally, Columbus won the Miami Herald's All-Dade Boys' Major Sports Award in 2008[10] and 2009.[11]

Head football coach Chris Merritt was part of Team USA's coaching staff for the inaugural International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship in 2009.[12] One player from Columbus competed on the team,[13] which won the tournament.[14]

Christopher Columbus' baseball program was ranked the number one baseball team in America during the 2009-2010 year. Currently, Columbus competes at the 8A division.


Columbus High School construction of Mas Technology Complex

Set on a beautifully landscaped 19 acre campus in Miami, Florida, the school features seamless integration of cutting edge technology throughout all 8 academic buildings, including campus-wide Wi-Fi, Smart Boards and LCD projectors in all classrooms, fully -equipped science labs, a media center, and a state-of-the-art technology complex with a digital based library, computer labs, and a media production studio. Outstanding athletic facilities include:

  • Football/Soccer/Lacrosse Field features high quality synthetic turf identical to the ones used in both college and the NFL
  • Baseball Complex includes 24 ft. wall nicknamed "Blue Monster" similar to Boston's Fenway Park
  • Gymnasium
  • Tennis Courts
  • Track
  • Weight Room

There are four main academic buildings that are supplemented with a media center that contains a technical resource center, an auditorium, a TV news studio, a chemistry laboratory, a concession stand, and several offices. The science building contains a physics and chemistry lab. The school also has several computer labs, gymnasium, a tennis complex, a baseball complex, a weight room, football field, and a concrete track which is used as a parking lot.

In 2008, Christopher Columbus High School opened the three-story "Mas Technology Complex", which contains administrative offices, a conference room, computer labs, a large library, a production studio, a recording room, and a school clothing store.[15]

Notable alumni[edit]

Columbus Athletic Hall of Fame[16]


  • Eddy Alvarez - '08 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Team USA Member, Short Track Speedskating. Alvarez is the first Cuban-American male speedskater to go to the Winter Olympics for Team USA. [17]



  1. ^ "Christopher Columbus High School Mas Family Scholars Program" (PDF). Adelante: The Christopher Columbus Alumni Newsletter. Spring 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  2. ^ "St. Thomas Aquinas, Bolles sweep Dodge Sunshine Cup all-sports awards" (Press release). FHSAA. June 24, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Baseball 2008–09 Championship Records. FHSAA. 2009. p. 32. 
  4. ^ "2009 FHSAA Class 6A Baseball Championship". FHSAA. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ "FHSAA Football Championship Records 2009-2010, page 3". FHSAA. Retrieved July 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Boys Cross Country 2009–10 Championship Records. FHSAA. 2009. pp. 11–15. 
  7. ^ "FHSAA Florida Finals XC Championships - 11/21/2009". FHSAA. November 21, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  8. ^ Boys Tennis 2007–08 Championship Records. FHSAA. 2008. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "FHSAA Class 4A, Florida Finals - 5/9/2009". FHSAA. May 9, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Miami Herald Honors Br. Kevin". Family Newsletter (Christopher Columbus High School). June 2008. p. 3. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  11. ^ Fernandez, Andre C. (May 29, 2009). "2008-09 All-Dade Awards winners list". Miami Herald. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ "United States: Coaches". Jr. World Championship of American Football. USA Football. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  13. ^ "United States: Roster". Jr. World Championship of American Football. USA Football. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ Beaven, Michael (July 14, 2009). "Team USA Crowned Inaugural IFAF Junior World Champion". Jr. World Championship of American Football. USA Football. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Mas Technology Complex" (PDF). Adelante: The Christopher Columbus Alumni Newsletter. Fall 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Royals make coaching changes
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Mike Whittington Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards". Retrieved 2010-03-11.