Miami High School

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This article is about the high school in Miami, Florida, USA. For other similarly-named high schools, see Miami High School (disambiguation).
Miami Senior High School
2450 SW 1st Street
Miami, Florida, 33135
United States
School type Public, high school
Motto Non verbis sed operis (Not by words, but deeds)
Established 1902[1]
School district Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Principal Mr. Benny Valdés
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 3,424[2]
Color(s) Blue and gold          
Mascot "Whippy" the Stingaree Mshslogo.png
Yearbook The Miahi
Miami Senior High School
Coral Gables FL Miami Senior High04.jpg
Miami High School is located in Florida
Miami High School
Coordinates 25°46′16″N 80°14′10″W / 25.7711°N 80.2360°W / 25.7711; -80.2360Coordinates: 25°46′16″N 80°14′10″W / 25.7711°N 80.2360°W / 25.7711; -80.2360
Area 19 acres (7.7 ha)
Built 1928
Architect Kiehnel and Elliott
Architectural style Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals,[3] Mediterranean Revival with Moorish elements.
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 90000881[3]
Added to NRHP June 18, 1990

Miami Senior High School is a public high school located at 2450 SW 1st Street in Miami, Florida, United States, and operated by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Founded in 1903, it is the oldest high school in Miami-Dade County. The school building is famous for its architecture and is a historic landmark. As the oldest high school in Miami, Miami Senior High School has a rich alumni base with many graduates of the high school going on to varied, prominent careers. The high school originally served the earliest settling families of Miami in the first half of the 20th-century. By the late-1960s, with an increase in Miami's population, its student body grew at a fast pace.


Miami Senior High School was established in 1902 and was the first high school in Miami-Dade County. Originally, high school classes took place in Miami's first schoolhouse, a two-story frame structure that was built in 1898 and was located on what is now NE 1st Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets. The first Miami High School building, considered temporary, was a one-story frame bungalow addition built directly behind the existing schoolhouse. It opened its doors on September 18, 1905, with 29 girls and 20 boys in attendance.[4]

In 1909, the school board decided to build a new schoolhouse to again house all grammar and high school students together and, in 1911, a new three-story concrete schoolhouse opened its doors. The original one-story high school building was moved to SW 12th Street and 1st Avenue, repainted, and opened as the Southside Elementary School. After a new Southside Elementary School was constructed in 1914, the original high school building fell into decades of neglect, operating as a boarding house for 90 years. It was "discovered" in 1983 by a local historian and, in January 2003, was moved to its current location in Southside Park, where it has since been renovated and opened as a community center.[4]

Miami High School's current building is its fourth home. The school board selected a fifteen-acre campus in what was then the middle of a pine forest. Groundbreaking occurred early in 1926 but due to the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, the school's opening was delayed. Finally opened in 1928, the building was designed in a Spanish Mediterranean style with Moorish and Byzantine details by the architect Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott, one of the great early Miami architects. Kiehnel gave the school an impressive entrance off Flagler Street "of three arched portals befitting a Gothic cathedral," according to the American Institute of Architects' Miami architecture guide.[5] The building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

1968 was a significant year for Miami High School. Structural changes were made to accommodate a newly installed air conditioning system that closed off the building's high ceilings. The original windows on the building were sealed with bricks before the completion of the work and students suffered in hot classrooms for a large portion of the year. It was also the year of the major Florida statewide teachers' strike of 1968, which caused students classes to be in chaos due to all the newly hired substitute teachers while regular school teachers walked picket lines for weeks.


Located in the Little Havana neighborhood, the school was founded in 1902 for whites. Since the late 1950s, the high school has traditionally had a Cuban-American majority. Today, a growing number of students are of Central American descent, reflecting demographic changes in Little Havana since the 1990s.

As of 2013, Miami Senior High is 94% Hispanic (primarily Cuban, Honduran, Guatemalan, and Salvadorean), 3% White (non-Hispanic), and 3% Black. 69% of students graduate, and the high school has an overall dropout rate of 4%.[6]

In 1984, the student newspaper declared Spanglish as the official language of Miami Senior High. Then, like today, most students at Miami Senior High speak fluent Spanish and English.

Historic architectural restoration[edit]

Beginning in 2010, Miami Senior High underwent a four-year historic restoration, renovation, and remodeling project at a cost of approximately $55 million. Project architect Thorn Grafton, from Zyscovich Architects, who is actually the grandson of Miami Beach pioneering architect Russell Pancoast, was one of the architects who undertook the renovation project. Completed in April 2014, the project did away with the dropped ceilings that had accommodated an old air conditioning system and restored the original high ceilings and decorative cast-stone vent screens in the halls. It also reopened the original second story arcade, removed an office expansion that had blocked part of the courtyard, and restored the original 14-foot-tall arched windows and steel-trussed cathedral ceiling in the old library (now a media center).[5]

Miami High Media Center

Notable alumni[edit]

Movies including The Substitute, Porky's, and Music of My Heart, were filmed at MHS.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ a b City of Miami Historic Preservation Officer (16 March 2004). "Report on the Potential Designation of the First Miami High School as a Historic Site" (PDF). City of Miami Planning Department. City of Miami. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Viglucci, Andres (April 11, 2014). "Miami High restored as resplendent castle of learning". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Boxoffice Magazine, 'Former Miamian Chris George has been at the Four Ambassadors Hotel in Miami to Plug his latest Film,' page SE7, 12 March 1973
  8. ^ Bushouse, Kathy (2001-03-31). "'The People's Candidate'". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 

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