MAST Academy

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MAST Academy MAST Academy logo
United States
TypePublic magnet
School districtMiami-Dade County Public Schools
PrincipalDr. Derick R. McKoy, Sr.
Student to teacher ratio16.1
Color(s)Red, Blue, and White               
NicknameMako Sharks
NewspaperThe Beacon
YearbookMako Fuka
School hours8:00AM to 3:00PM

Maritime and Science Technology Academy, commonly referred to as MAST Academy, or MAST, is a public high school in Miami, Florida, on Virginia Key. MAST Academy is a magnet school under the governance of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The school's principal is Dr. Derick R. MacKoy, Sr., appointed in 2018. US News & World Report ranked MAST as the 42nd best high school in the nation as of 2015.[1]

The academic focus of MAST Academy is primarily marine studies. Students choose one of three major areas of study in which a traditional U.S. high school curriculum is infused with maritime-related subjects. These areas are Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (OAS), Maritime Studies and Culture (MSC), and Marine Related Industries (MRI). Special course offerings include Marine Science, Oceanography, Solar Energy, Environmental Science, Swimming, and Water Safety.

MAST Academy is located on Virginia Key, a barrier island between Miami and Key Biscayne, across the street from the Miami Seaquarium and within walking distance of the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.


In 1990, MAST Academy was established in Key Biscayne.[2]

In 2012, the school announced that it would expand by 1,100 seats, with preference given to eligible Key Biscayne residents.[3] It was controversial and highly debated whether residents of the Village of Key Biscayne should be opened up to all Key Biscayne high school students.[4] A former student was reported as claiming, "I can't believe they are going to turn over the school to the affluent residents of Key Biscayne in return for $9 million," adding, "it will really destroy what MAST is all about."[5]

In April 2015, a school shooting threat was posed toward MAST Academy, as a note was found reading, "On April 17, 2015 I will walk into this school and shoot everyone I see."[6] Some students decided to attend school on the day of the supposed shooting.[7] In an interview with NBC 6 South Florida, one student was claimed his reasoning for attending to be, "I just really like learning, so I like going to class, and I'm not afraid."[7] Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho later tweeted, "I am always impressed by the composure of our student body. 'I am not scared. I am here to learn.'"[7]

MAST Academy now is a secondary school from 6-12 grade. Tours are available on Tuesdays during the academic year and are provided by their leadership students. No registration required. [8]


Due to the reputation of the school, Miami-Dade County Public Schools began "franchising" MAST. In 2010, MAST Medical @ Homestead was established.[9] In 2011, José Martí Middle School introduced its magnet program with a high school expansion in 2011, before completely re-branding itself as José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy in 2013.[10] In 2013, another MAST high school opened at a Florida International University campus.[11]

Awards and recognition[edit]

During the 1994-96 and 2006-07 school years, MAST Academy was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education,[12][13] the highest award an American school can receive.[14][15]

MAST Academy was one of six national finalists in the 2010 White House "Commencement Challenge". People from across the nation voted to determine which school would host President Barack Obama as a commencement speaker.[16][17]

MAST has established a tradition of academic excellence, and has been ranked among Newsweek's Top 100 High Schools several times.[18][19][20] It has been listed as one of "Miami-Dade's Best Schools", and, as of 2014, is ranked 10th in Florida.[21][22]

Planet Ocean[edit]

MAST Academy is currently housed in the former Planet Ocean museum. [23] Planet Ocean was an 80,000 sq.ft., interactive oceanographic museum featuring state of the art, hands on exhibits about the ocean (such as a giant piece of touchable iceberg), displays of deep sea submersibles, multi-media presentations, and other educational experiences.

The museum opened in the mid-seventies and was located across the street from the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key. Planet Ocean had trouble attracting enough visitors to be self-sustaining; it closed in 1991.[24]


The school has an enrollment of 1420 high school students.[25] The breakdown of the student's ethnicity is 60% Hispanic, 23% White, 10% Black, 5% Asian, and 2% unknown.[25][26]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

The school's primary sports are water polo and swimming. The school also offers a boys' basketball team, boys' and girls' cross country teams, boys' and girls' soccer teams, boys' and girls' golf teams, boys' and girls' tennis teams, and a girls' volleyball team as of 2019. [27]

MAST is active in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competition, where it placed first in the region and fifth place in the nation in 2006. The Black History Brain Bowl team won the 2006 Regional Championships.[28]

MAST is home to the first Coast Guard JROTC unit in the country.[29]

The school's mascot is a mako shark named Isurus, after retiring a pelican named Pete.

The robotics and engineering team, the MAST Academy Mecha Makos, founded in 2006, has competed in numerous competitions including Youth Fair, MATE, FIRST, and FIU's Wall of Wind competition. The Mecha Makos qualified for the VEX World Championship in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 school years.[30]


The Beacon, MAST's student-run newspaper, and the yearbook, Mako Fuka, have received gold medals from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.[31]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "MAST Academy Overview". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  2. ^ Kushlan & Hines 2014, p. 61.
  3. ^ Isensee, Laura (June 13, 2012). "MAST Academy about to be expanded for Key Biscayne students". Miami Herald. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  4. ^ DeFede, Jim (June 17, 2012). "Facing South Florida: MAST Academy". CBS Local. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  5. ^ Miller, Michael E. (June 12, 2012). "Key Biscayne Paying County $9 Million to Send 1,100 Rich Kids to MAST Academy". Miami New Times. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  6. ^ Brooks, Dawn (April 13, 2015). "Threatening letter found MAST Academy classroom investigated". Local 10. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "MAST Students Declare "I'm Not Afraid" After Threatening Note". NBC Miami. April 17, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "New Magnet Senior High School, MAST @ Homestead to Hold Open House". August 2, 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  10. ^ McGrory (May 22, 2011). "Miami-Dade district 'franchises' popular schools". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  11. ^ Mursuli, Marlen (August 19, 2013). "MAST@FIU opens its doors". Florida International University. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  12. ^ "Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF)]" (PDF). United States Department of Education. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2006.
  13. ^ "U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 2003 through 2006 (PDF)" (PDF). United States Department of Education. Retrieved May 11, 2006.
  14. ^ "CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department". Journal Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved November 16, 2006.
  15. ^ "Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test". The Washington Post. September 29, 2005. Archived from the original on October 11, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2013."For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."
  16. ^ "Voting begins for Commencement Challenge". Today. NBC News. April 23, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  17. ^ Feito, Yuri (April 26, 2010). "MAST is a finalist for President Obama's Commencement Challenge". Causes. Archived from the original on April 10, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  18. ^ "MAST Academy Question & Answers". Dadeschools. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  19. ^ "Newsweek Names Ten Florida High Schools to U.S. Top 100". Florida Department of Education. June 27, 2012. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  20. ^ "America's Best High Schools 2011". Newsweek. The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  21. ^ Chapple, Renee. "Miami-Dade's Best Schools". About. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  22. ^ Medina, Marisol (July 29, 2013). "MAST Academy at BBC Begins in August". Florida International University Student Media. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  23. ^ "View from Virginia Key". Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  24. ^ "Planet Ocean : one of Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions". Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  25. ^ a b "MAST Academy Student Body". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  26. ^ "Mast Academy". Public School Review. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  27. ^ "MAST Academy Makos Athletics and Sports Teams - Key Biscayne, FL". Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  28. ^ "MAST Academy About". Go Makos. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  29. ^ "Coast Guard Seventh District commander visits MAST Academy". United States Coast Guard News. February 27, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  30. ^ "Congratulations! Go Makos!". Go Makos. March 5, 2012. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  31. ^ "1999 Scholastic Crown Recipients". Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  32. ^ "Election 2012: Akierra Missick". Radio Turks and Caicos 107 FM. August 11, 2012. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  33. ^ "PNP Cabinet Sworn, PDM Challenges 4 District Results". Turks & Caicos Free Press. November 19, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2012.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°44′20″N 80°09′59″W / 25.7388889°N 80.1663889°W / 25.7388889; -80.1663889