Felix Varela High School
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|Felix Varela Senior High School|
|The Hammocks, Florida
|School district||Miami-Dade County Public Schools|
|Average class size||35|
|Founding principal||Millie Fornell|
|Website||Felix Varela High School|
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 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.
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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.
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.
Athletics and extracurricular activities
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.
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.
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
- 2008 FHSAA Class 6A State Champions by defeating Weston Cypress Bay 1-1 (4-1 PK). (back-to-back State Champions)
- 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)
- Blake Jenner - actor on the television musical show Glee
- Johnny Barbato - Pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Zakk Sandler - Former Black Tide and current Falling In Reverse bass player
- "The Hammocks CDP, Florida." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on January 9, 2010.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Varela boys nation's best" Miami Herald
- "Varela's extra effort adds up to 2nd title in a row" Miami Herald
- "Varela coach has the right fit" Miami Herald
- "Glee Project 2 Winner Blake Jenner on His Hopes for Glee Season 4 and Meeting Damian McGinty — Exclusive". Retrieved 23 April 2014.