Dreyfoos School of the Arts

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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts
Dreyfoos CIMG0275.JPG
501 South Sapodilla Avenue
West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401
United States
Coordinates 26°42′33″N 80°03′34″W / 26.709197°N 80.059513°W / 26.709197; -80.059513Coordinates: 26°42′33″N 80°03′34″W / 26.709197°N 80.059513°W / 26.709197; -80.059513
Established 1989
School district Palm Beach County School District
Principal Susan Atherley
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1340[1]
Campus Urban
Color(s) Black, White & Gold             
Mascot Jaguar
Yearbook The Marquee
Literary Magazine Seeds
Newsmagazine The Muse
Art Areas Communication Arts, Dance, Digital Media, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts

Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (DSOA) is a public high school located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Formerly named the Palm Beach County School of the Arts (also known as School of the Arts or SOA), the school was renamed in recognition of a 1997 donation of $1 million by Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., a West Palm Beach philanthropist.

DSOA is a magnet school, with students coming from across Palm Beach County. Students are accepted through a process of competitive auditions for one of the six art areas. Once accepted, students belong to one of the school's six art departments: Communication Arts, Dance, Digital Media, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts. Students are then said to 'major' in their art area, taking at least two art area classes per year in addition to other academic and other classes. Dreyfoos has appeared on various nationwide 'Top High School' lists since 2005. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

The school's campus is located in downtown West Palm Beach at 501 South Sapodilla Avenue, adjacent to the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the CityPlace district. Located across Tamarind Avenue is the Tri-Rail train station, on which many students from the southeastern part of the county regularly commute.

DSOA is administrated by the School District of Palm Beach County, which also provides most of its funding. The school receives supplementary funds from the School of the Arts Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.


All DSOA students are accepted by competitive audition. Most students enter at grade nine, although students in higher grades may apply to DSOA in later years. The audition process takes place on a yearly basis; no mid-year transfers are conducted. Only legal residents of Palm Beach County may audition.

Prospective students must first submit the Choice Programs Application to the School District of Palm Beach County's Department of School Choice and Choice Programs by December of the preceding school year. Auditioning students must then attend an Audition Sign-Up Day to schedule their audition. This typically occurs in mid-to-late January. Audition dates run from late January through early March. Audition results and admission decisions are then mailed to prospective students on a date determined by the school district, typically in mid-April.


Students in their first year at DSOA are given a rounded course selection in their art area. First-year visual arts majors, for example, take a year-long drawing class as well as a semester of sculpture and a semester of either 3-D design or photography. In subsequent years, students are allowed and often encouraged to specialize in an area of the department: Creative writing, graphics, journalism, television, film, or speech and debate for communications majors; technical theatre, acting, or musical theatre for theatre majors; sculpture, painting, photography or printmaking for visual arts majors; ballet or modern for dance majors. The one exception is music, in which a student is given intensive training in their instrument of expertise (or voice) for all four years. Music majors include band, keyboard, orchestra, and vocal.

Training at the school emphasizes professional skills. Students learn through classes, lessons, ensemble rehearsals, and performing.

Visual Arts[edit]

According to The College Board’s 2007 Report to the Nation, the studio art advanced placement students at The Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts had the highest percentage of students passing the AP exam of any large high school in the world.[2] This is the third time the school’s visual art department has received this distinction, having achieved it previously in 2005 and 2006.[3][4] Dreyfoos student Rebecca Mock was named as one of the 20 national Presidential Scholars in the Arts in 2007.[5] Isabella Pezzulo was also named as a US Presidential Scholar in the Arts (Class of 2014). http://www.youngarts.org/us-presidential-scholars-arts

Communication Arts[edit]

The Dreyfoos Speech and Debate team won #1 in the nation at the annual Bickel and Brewer National Policy Forum competition in New York City in 2006 and 2007.[6]

Silver Key, National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, New York City, 2007; Short Film, El Dentista; A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Communication Students; Ruby Hernandez, Michelle Motter and Christine Valentim

Palm Beach International Film Festival:

1st Place High School Feature/Shorts and Documentaries A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Communication Students; Nicole Groton, Emily Englehardt, David Kossin, and Sandon Simmons.

1st Place Poster Awards A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Communication Students; Joseph Gerbino and Alison Schwartz.

1st Place Viral Video Award A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Visual Arts Student; Grant Yansura.

Audience Choice Award Award A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Communication Students; Joseph Gerbino, Daniel Satinoff, Errol Sabinano, Joseph Poach, and (G-Star Student) Houston Davis Jones.[7]

The Collaborative Film Productions Club won 1st place in the High School Narrative category at the 2008 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival for the film "Wednesday".[8]

The TV production team of 2008-2009 won the prestigious NSPA Broadcast Pacemaker award.[9]

The TV Production team of 2009-2010 won a Broadcast Pacemaker Finalist award.[10]

The TV production team of 2010-2011 won the prestigious NSPA Broadcast Pacemaker award


The Dance Department provides intensive training in different styles and techniques of jazz, ballet, pointe and modern dance. In 2008, out of the 12 men Juilliard School accepted for dance, a remarkable two came from Dreyfoos. In 2010, one male dancer was accepted to become a part of Juilliard class of 2014. In 2011, three dance majors went on to Juilliard School.[11]

Digital Media[edit]

This department, a new addition to the school, started in the 2006-2007 school year. The program was created by blending two dynamic programs, Communication Arts and Visual Arts. Students are offered classes in film and digital video, production, photography – traditional and digital, animation and graphic design. Students in this program work with both the moving image and the still image to create narrative experimental, documentary and short films of a variety of genres.


Dreyfoos Music Department was selected as one of the top ten music programs in the country by the NARAS (National Association of Arts and Science) Foundation and was declared a GRAMMY Gold Division School [1]. The music department at Dreyfoos includes Band, Strings, Vocal, and Keyboard majors. The dean of the Music Department is Stephanie Katz-Shear.[12]


The Band Department at Dreyfoos is nationally recognized. Its student-musicians have received thousands of superior awards for solo and ensemble work in district and state competitions. Their students dominate the lists of Palm Beach County all-district honor bands in concert and jazz. Dreyfoos is routinely one of the top five schools with students appearing in the Florida All-State concert and orchestral honor bands.

Under the direction of Wayne A. Miller until 2010, the concert and Jazz bands have toured nationally and internationally, and received dozens of awards from major music festivals in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Boston, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Toronto. The Jazz Band in 1998 was a finalist in the Essentially Ellington competition. In 2006, their top concert band, the Wind Ensemble was chosen to represent the State of Florida and performed at the M.E.N.C. National Conference of Music Educators in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Under the direction of Evan Rogovin since 2010, Dreyfoos Band continues to shine. In 2011 trumpeter Christian Marrero became the first student selected to the Student GRAMMY jazz big band. He was named to the Jazz Band of America in 2012. The school's elite Jazz Ensemble 1, under the direction of Jazz Director Pedro Hernandez was also the winner of the 2012 Jazz and Swing Preservation society's 2012 "Battle of the Bands" which invited high schools across Palm Beach County, Florida to compete.[13]

In 2012, Dryefoos sent the largest amount of students from one school in the state to the FMEA convention to participate in the all state ensembles. In 2013, 24 students were sent, making Dreyfoos the school that sent the 2nd largest number of students (2nd to the Doug Anderson School of the Arts).

Dreyfoos set a school record in 2012 sending three students to the 18 member Florida Bandmasters Association Florida All-State Jazz Band., one of the toughest by-audition All-State bands in the country. They repeated that in record count again for the January 2013 honor band. The 2012 accepted students were Phil Ahn on 1st tenor sax, Christian Marrero on lead trumpet, and Holden Ross on 2nd tenor sax. The 2013 accepted students were Murph Aucamp, on drum set, Alex Ramirez, on 2nd tenor sax, and Holden Ross on lead tenor. Tenor Saxophonist Holden Ross was the only performer selected in both years.[14]


The Dreyfoos Theatre Department received the Educational Theatre Association’s Outstanding School Award, Outstanding Student Award, & Hall of Fame Teacher Award (the first time in the 74 year-history of this organization that one school received all three awards).[15] The School's theatre department has also been one of only 10 schools each year selected to perform their Mainstage productions at the Florida State Thespian Competition for the past 4 years. The Florida State Thespian Competition is the largest high school thespian competition in the World.
Past plays include:
2004: Nine Armenians* and Ragtime
2005: Dames at Sea* and Of Mice and Men
2006: Trojan Women* and The Secret Garden
2007: As You Like It* and Ain't Misbehavin'
2008: Our Town* and West Side Story
2009: FAME: The Musical* and 45 Seconds from Broadway
2010: Crazy for You and The Last Night of Ballyhoo
2011: Noises Off and Hairspray
2012: Midsummer* and Metamorphoses
2013: Raisin in the Sun and Guys and Dolls
2014: Lend Me A Tenor and Legally Blonde
2015: The Diary of Anne Frankenstein and Thourally Modern Millie

(All Asterisked Plays were Mainstaged at the Florida State Thespian Festival)

  • Named an Education Theatre Association Outstanding High School Theatre Program
  • Performing on the Mainstage of the Florida State Thespian Festival twelve times in the last fourteen years
  • Two-time Winner of the Southeastern Theatre Conference Secondary School Play Competition
  • Four-time Winner of the Florida Theatre Conference Secondary School Play Competition
  • Most awards for a single school at the District Thespian One-Act Play Competition
  • Most awards for a single school at the District Thespian Individual Event Festival

Alumni and accolades[edit]

Additionally, the Class of 2010 collectively received over $19 million in scholarship offers.[16]

The Dreyfoos School of the Arts Debate team won the prestigious National Public Policy Forum for the second year in a row in 2007. It is not only the first school to win the New York University/Bickel and Brewer Law Firm competition in consecutive years, but is the first public high school to win the competition in its history.

In 2008, the school's student newsmagazine, The Muse, won the National Scholastic Press Association's prestigious Newspaper Pacemaker award, a recognition of the top student publications in the United States.[17] This is the second time Dreyfoos has won the award, having earned it previously in 2004 to become the first school publication in Florida to do so.[18] The Muse also won fifth place in "Best in Show" at the 2008 Fall Convention of the National Scholastic Press Association, having previously earned eighth place at the 2006 Spring Convention.[19][20]

The school's literary magazine, Seeds, received the prestigious National Scholastic Press Association Magazine Pacemaker in 2009.[21] Seeds also received fourth place in "Best in Show" at the 2007 Fall Convention of the National Scholastic Press Association.[22]

The school's newscast, "DSOA Today", received fourth place in "Best in Show" at the 2005 Spring Convention of the National Scholastic Press Association.[23]

The school's Theatre Department won the Southeastern Theatre Conference festival with its production of Kindertransport.[24] Numerous other productions have received high ratings at the Florida Theatre Conference and the Florida State Thespian Festival.


In the 1980s, a group of arts teachers proposed to the School District that a school of the arts be developed in Palm Beach County. A survey was sent out to gauge community interest in the development of a school of the arts. The community’s response was overwhelmingly positive. It was also at this time that the School District was looking to magnet programs as an alternative to forced integration through involuntary busing.

What began as the Palm Beach County School of the Arts opened on the campus of the old North Shore High School in 1990 with an enrollment of 250 students in grades 7-9, specializing in five areas of arts study: Communication Arts, Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual arts. Each year, a new 7th grade class was added until 1994 when the school housed students from grades 7 through 12, and the school graduated its first class.

Known as the Palm Beach County School of the Arts, it was previously located on the former site of North Shore High School, now BAK Middle School of the Arts, in Mangonia Park.

As the school grew, so did the need for a larger, state of the art facility. Through negotiation and the hard work of the Palm Beach County School Board, the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, and a non-profit group funding the school's additional needs, the School of the Arts Foundation (SOAFI), the Central Schools site in downtown West Palm Beach. The former campus of Twin Lakes High School was the original home of the PBC School of the Arts. Twin Lakes was founded in 1908 as Palm Beach High School; it was established one year before the founding of the county itself and is the oldest high school in the county. Originally for whites, Palm Beach High merged in the 1970-1971 school year with the black Roosevelt High School following integration, forming Twin Lakes High School.[25]

The campus underwent significant renovations to become the new home of the School of the Arts in 1997 after Alexander W. Dreyfoos provided the majority funding for the project when he made the largest private contribution ever made to a public school in Florida, pledging $1,000,000 to support the Palm Beach County School of the Arts, which was subsequently renamed in his honor, the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (DSOA).[26]

The school celebrated the site's 100-Year Celebration with the "100 Years on the Hill" event.

In 2010, Burt Reynolds who graduated from the campus when it was Palm Beach High, returned to the campus for a dedication of the front drive, now used as a pick-up/drop-off for the school as "Burt Reynolds Drive." [27]


  1. ^ "Palm Beach Schools - Alexander Dreyfoos". Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  2. ^ "2007 AP Report to the Nation". Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  3. ^ "2005 AP Report to the Nation". Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  4. ^ "2006 AP Report to the Nation". Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  5. ^ "2007 Presidential Scholars". Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  6. ^ "Dreyfoos Debate Team Wins National Honor". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  7. ^ "2008 Student Showcase of Films". [dead link]
  8. ^ "FLIFF 2008 High School Film Competition". Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  9. ^ "2009 NSPA Broadcast Pacemaker Winners". Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  10. ^ "2010 NSPA Broadcast Pacemaker Winners". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  11. ^ "School of the Arts Foundation, Inc. - Dance". Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  12. ^ "A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts". http://www.awdsoa.org/music--keyboard.html. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  13. ^ DSOA Band Beat
  14. ^ GNUStar Press Release, November 2012
  15. ^ "Dreyfoos Sweep Makes Statement For the Arts". Palm Beach Post, The. 2003-06-15. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  16. ^ "SOAFI - Academics". Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  17. ^ "2008 NSPA Newspaper Pacemaker Winners". Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  18. ^ "2004 NSPA Newspaper Pacemaker Winners". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  19. ^ "NSPA Winners Fall 2008". Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  20. ^ "NSPA Winners Spring 2006". Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  21. ^ "2009 NSPA Magazine Pacemaker Winners". Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  22. ^ "NSPA Winners Fall 2007". Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  23. ^ "NSPA Winners Spring 2005". Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  24. ^ "A Tale Of Hope, Sadness". Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  25. ^ "Dreyfoos has rich history on ‘The Hill’". Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  26. ^ Dreyfoos School of the Arts Official Website
  27. ^ Ceremony to Dedicate Burt Reynolds Road at Dreyfoos School of Arts - Americantowns

External links[edit]