Winter Park High School

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Winter Park High School
WPHS logo.gif
2100 Summerfield Road
Winter Park, Florida, 32792
United States
Type Public
Established 1927
School district Orange County Public Schools
Superintendent Ronald Blocker
Principal Timothy A. Smith
Faculty 169
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 3177
Color(s) Orange and Black
Mascot Willie the Wildcat
Nickname Wildcats

Winter Park High School (often simply abbreviated as WPHS) located in Winter Park, Florida is one of seventeen public high schools in Orange County. Winter Park High School is a magnet school for the International Baccalaureate program.


Winter Park High School was constructed at 528 Huntington Avenue in 1923, being one of the first high schools in Orange County. The school remained in this location until construction began in 1969 at the present location (420 Summerfield Rd).[1] The original campus remains in use to this day as the Winter Park High School Ninth Grade Center, a campus exclusively used by ninth-grade students.

References in the national media[edit]

In 2008, Winter Park High School was listed at 160 in Newsweek's 1,200 Top U.S. Schools, with the criteria being which schools have the largest percentage of students taking Honors AP or IB exams.[2]

In 2011, The Washington Post's annual ranking of American high schools identified WPHS as #156 in the country.[3]

In the novel Paper Towns, written by John Green, Winter Park High School was attended by the main characters of the story. While Green himself did not attend school there, his brother Hank Green (see notable alumni) did.


The following sports are offered at Winter Park:[4]


These clubs are available to Winter Park students:[4]

Main Campus:

  • ACTS Club
  • American Sign Language Club
  • Asian American Club
  • Athletic Training Program
  • Art History Club
  • Astronomy Club
  • Ballroom Dancing Club
  • Beta Club
  • Cat's Eye Video Production
  • Chess Team
  • Engineering/Drafting Club
  • English Speaking Union
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • French Club
  • French Honors Society
  • Gay Straight Alliance
  • Global Civis
  • Horticulture Club
  • IB Newspaper
  • Interact Club
  • Junior Class
  • Literacy Club
  • Marine Biology Club
  • Mathematics Honors
  • Meeting of the Minds
  • Model United Nations
  • National Honors Society
  • Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps
  • Odyssey of the Mind Team
  • One World, One Life Club
  • Park Pals
  • Psychology Club
  • Physics Club
  • Quill and Scroll Club
  • Quiz Bowl
  • SAVE Club
  • Science Honors Society
  • Senior Class
  • Social Studies Honors Society
  • Sophomore Class
  • Spanish Honors Society
  • Student Government Association
  • Tri-M Music Honors Society
  • Thespian Honors Society
  • Ukulele Union
  • Young Republicans
  • Young Democrats

Freshman Campus:

  • Beta Club
  • Freshman Student Government Association
  • IDEAS Club
  • World Languages Club

Performing arts[edit]

Winter Park High School has a notable Performing Arts program. It was named a 2004-2007 Music Demonstration School by the Florida Department of Education. The Band, Orchestra, and Choral programs consistently receive "Superior"[clarification needed] ratings at State Performance Assessments[citation needed] and all three are recognized nationally as top rated public high school performing arts programs.[citation needed]


The Winter Park High School is home to International Thespian Honor Society Troupe 850. This honor society works together inside and out of the department for competitions and the community. They are part of District V Thespians and attend the District and State level competitions yearly. The department does a completely student-run night of one acts at the end of every year. In 2007 the department performed M*A*S*H in the spring and It's A Wonderful Life in the fall. In 2008 the department put on the spring show of Pillow Talk and the fall show of Steel Magnolias. The department originally selected the show The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman but the play was forced into cancellation due to issues with the suicide depicted onstage at the end and Steel Magnolias was chosen as its replacement. In 2009 the show Arsenic and Old Lace was performed in the spring and Twelve Angry Jurors was performed in the fall. In 2010 The Importance of Being Earnest was performed as both the District-level one act and expanded as the full stage play for the spring. For the fall of 2010, the show J.B. (the final show under the direction of Christopher Haskett) was presented. Haskett had previously mounted a production during his early years as drama director at WPHS. In 2011, Dutton took over and selected A Midsummer Night's Dream as his first show. After Dutton had left, Carter took over in 2013 and chose the first performance, The Imaginary Invalid.

Ann Derflinger headed the drama department from the time the school moved to its Summerfield Rd. location in the early 1970s until her death in 1983. (She had previously taught drama at Glenridge Middle School.) Christopher Haskett took over as Derflinger's temporary replacement during her illness and was named the permanent head of the drama department after her death. He directed the department for nearly three decades until his retirement in January 2011.

In May 2011, Orlando Home and Leisure Magazine named Mr. Dutton as the Best Teacher in Central Florida.[5]


The various ensembles in the orchestra program[dead link] have a long history of superior ratings at both State and District Music Performance Assessments (MPAs) sponsored by the Florida Orchestra Association.[citation needed] The program consists of four orchestras: Concert Orchestra, which is a ninth grade orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, which is open to all 10-12 grade students, Winter Park Philharmonic (often referred to as "Park Phil"), which is available to 9-12 grade students by audition, and Lyric Strings, which is available to 10-12 grade students by audition. Under the previous direction of Charles Laux, the Winter Park Philharmonic was selected to perform at the 60th Annual Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago in December 2006. In 2010, the Winter Park Philharmonic was awarded all 'Superior' ratings at District MPA. Students participate in the All-State and All-County orchestras as well as other local and youth orchestras throughout the year.


The choral department[dead link] at Winter Park High School comprises six choirs and various ensembles. The non-auditioned choirs are the Freshman Women’s Chorus, the Wildcat Men’s Ensemble, and Cantabile. There are three advanced level choirs in the Choral Department: Park Singers, Belle Chanson, and Concert Choir. Two additional groups, Naughty Scotty and the Octapella and the ICHSA award winning[citation needed] Take 7 are the a cappella groups. The Winter Park Chorus Department has performed at Disney Epcot's Candlelight Processional, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and many community and school events. Its students have participated in the American Choral Director Association's Honor Choir, the Florida All-State SSAA, SATB, and Sight-reading choirs, and Orange County Public Schools honor choirs. The choral department also does Night on Broadway, a fully staged musical performance in memory of a student who died in a car accident in 1998. Previous directors include: Trey Jacobs, Sandy Hinkley, Andrew Minear (now at Dr. Phillips High School with Hinkley[6]), Trent Patterson, and Sherlee Glomb.


The band program services over 150 students and consists of seven performing ensembles: The Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Color Guard, Indoor Percussion, Winter Guard and the Sound of the Wildcats Marching Band. The Marching Band has had performances across the country including the 2009 Blue Cross/Blue Shield Fiesta Bowl Marching Band Championship and Parade in Phoenix, Arizona; 2005 Autozone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee; the 2002 Blue Cross/Blue Shield Fiesta Bowl Marching Band Championship and Parade in Phoenix, Arizona; and the 2000 Sylvania Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. The Band competes in Class 5A in the Florida Marching Band Championships by participating in regional and state events. From 2004-2011, the Band was a State Finalist six times - placing 3rd overall and 1st in the music caption in 2004, 3rd place overall in 2005, 5th place in 2008, 5th place in 2010, and 4th place in 2011. They were the Class 5A State Champions in 2009. In 2012, they went to their first Bands of America competition in Atlanta, Georgia and made finals as 12th place out of 34 bands from around the country.

The Wind Ensemble performed at the 2002 Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana; was the feature ensemble at the "President's Concert" of the Florida Music Educator's Association Conference in Tampa in 2007 and 2010; and performed at the prestigious 60th Annual Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. In 2012, the Wind Ensemble performed again at Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to ensemble activities, individual musical achievement is stressed within the membership of the band program.[citation needed]

Students participate in the All-State and All-County bands as well as various Honor Bands and local orchestras throughout the year.

Ninth Grade Center (The Original WPHS)[edit]

First picture of the original WPHS campus in 1923.

Built in 1923 in Mediterranean Revival style at a cost of $137,000, the Winter Park High School Ninth Grade Center originally measured only 10 acres (40,000 m2). Over time, the school's population began to grow, and before long, it became overcrowded. In 1969, a new campus was constructed less than three miles (5 km) away. The old Winter Park High School became Winter Park Junior High School. In 1987, the county transitioned from junior high schools (grades 7-9) to middle schools (grades 6-8). Winter Park Junior High was not converted to a middle school; rather, it became the Ninth Grade Center affiliated with Winter Park High School, as there was not enough room on the newer high school campus for all four grades now part of high schools in the county. Now the freshman campus, with about 1,020 students, is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Freshman students wishing to participate in extracurricular activities (band, orchestra, sports, etc.) or classes not offered at the Ninth Grade Center can take a bus after their 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th period from the Ninth Grade Center to the main campus. The Ninth Grade Center's schedule is offset eighteen minutes earlier[7][8] to accommodate the bus ride. The campus offers a wide array of courses and prepares students for an excellent Winter Park High experience. Currently, what's left of this campus still stands today. The 100 Building, shown above, is the only original building still standing, but the newer buildings, the 500 Building and 400 Builing, have been constructed. Some of the older buildings have been partially demolished in the 2008-09 school year.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]