Felix Varela High School

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Felix Varela Senior High School
The Hammocks, Florida
United States
Coordinates 25°40′40″N 80°26′34″W / 25.6777°N 80.4428°W / 25.6777; -80.4428Coordinates: 25°40′40″N 80°26′34″W / 25.6777°N 80.4428°W / 25.6777; -80.4428
Type Public secondary
Established August 2000
School district Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Principal Nery Fins[1]
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 3,072 students
Campus Suburban

Hunter Green, Black and Silver

Mascot Viper
Average class size 35
Founding principal Millie Fornell

Felix Varela Senior High School is a public high school located at 15255 SW 96th St. in The Hammocks, unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States.[2]

Past principals include Millie Fornell (2000-2005) and Connie Navarro (2005-2011). The current principal is Nery Fins (2011–present).

Varela was built as an overcrowding relief school for G. Holmes Braddock High School and Miami Sunset High School. Construction began in 1998 but due to delays during construction (mainly concerning funding and local area politics) the school's opening was pushed back several times. Varela opened to students in the fall of 2000.

The school was named for Father Félix Varela (1788-1853), a Cuban Roman Catholic Priest, human rights advocate, teacher, and an admired figure throughout the Cuban American exile community.

The school opened its doors to approximately 2,000 ninth and tenth graders (classes of 2003 and 2004) on August 28, 2000.

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


In 2010 the school enrolled 51 survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the second highest number of any Miami-Dade school. Principal Connie Navarro had installed extra counselors to assist the students in case they had any trauma. The students mostly came from the middle and upper classes, and many had previously attended the Lycée Alexandre Dumas French international school and the Union School, both private schools. Varela High installed extra Advanced Placement (AP) classes, including AP French, to cater to them. Michael Winerip of The New York Times interviewed 10 survivors at Varela. They all spoke Haitian Creole, French, and English, and their English did not have any accent. They all indicated that the academic work at Varela was less rigorous than the work at their private Haitian schools.[3]


Felix Varela is 81% Hispanic, 10% White non-Hispanic, 6% Black, and 3% Asian.[4] As of 2015 the school had 3,200 students. 20 were Chinese exchange students.[5]


The school offers Advanced Placement (AP), university preparatory, and dual enrollment programs. The school has a barn with livestock used for its veterinary training course. Students in the program often arrive at school early to perform their duties.[5]

Athletics and extracurricular activities[edit]

The varsity sports program began with the 2001-2002 school year alongside its first junior class.

Felix Varela High's athletic rivals include G. Holmes Braddock High School, Miami Sunset High School and John A. Ferguson High School, as well as the new Kendall school, TERRA Environmental Research Institute.[citation needed]

Around 2010-2011 the Varela tennis team reached its first ever regional playoff. Three of its new players, Zahry Edmond, Nicolas Etienne, and Hans Hillel Rousseau, were highly-ranked tennis players in Haiti who had been displaced by the 2010 earthquake.[3]

The current[when?] Athletic Director is Coach Lisa Spinosa (2009–present). Past Athletic Directors include Coach Ron Balazs (2000-2005) and Coach Andy Chiles (2005-2009).

The Varela High School Band is known as the "Band of Mystery."


Boys' Varsity soccer team:

  • 2008 National Champions[6]
  • 2008 FHSAA Class 6A State Champions by defeating Weston Cypress Bay 1-1 (4-1 PK). (back-to-back State Champions)[7]
  • 2007 FHSAA Class 6A State Champions by defeating Wellington High School 2-1 (the school’s first state championship throughout its six-year history in varsity sports)[8]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.dadeschools.net/schools/schoolinformation/school_details.asp?id=7781
  2. ^ "The Hammocks CDP, Florida." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on January 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Winerip, Michael. "New Influx of Haitians, but Not Who Was Expected" (Archive). The New York Times. January 15, 2011. Retrieved on February 24, 2016. In print as: "New Influx Of Haitians, But Not Who Was Expected" - January 16, 2011, p. A17.
  4. ^ http://www.publicschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/17735
  5. ^ a b Odzer, Ari. "Felix Varela High School Offers Variety of Unique Programs" (Archive). NBC 6 South Florida. Monday October 19, 2015. Retrieved on February 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "Varela boys nation's best" Miami Herald
  7. ^ "Varela's extra effort adds up to 2nd title in a row" Miami Herald
  8. ^ "Varela coach has the right fit" Miami Herald
  9. ^ "Glee Project 2 Winner Blake Jenner on His Hopes for Glee Season 4 and Meeting Damian McGinty — Exclusive". Retrieved 23 April 2014. 

External links[edit]