Miami Northwestern Senior High School

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Miami Northwestern Senior High School
1100 Northwest 71st Street


United States
TypePublic, Secondary
School districtMiami-Dade County Public Schools
PrincipalWallace Aristide
Enrollment1,432 (2016-17)[1]
Color(s)     Old Gold
     Royal Blue

Miami Northwestern Senior High School is a public 4-year high school located in Miami, Florida, United States, serving students in grades 9-12 from the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. The school colors are old gold and royal blue. The average annual enrollment is approximately 1,800 students. Miami Northwestern was founded in 1955 to serve the increasing population of northern Miami. Shortly after the school's inception, the Bull was chosen as the official school mascot from the former Dorsey High School. Miami Northwestern originally served as an all-black high school. Beginning in 1966, Dade County high schools stopped being segregated, and most students from Booker T. Washington transferred to Northwestern (and Miami Jackson Senior High School) in 1967–1968.

Miami Northwestern is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association and offers a variety of sports programs. Athletic teams compete in the 6A division and are known as the "Bulls". The school's football program has experienced significant success throughout its history, including winning a High School Football National Championship in 2007. Extracurricular activities are offered, including the performing arts, school publications, and clubs. Notable alumni of the school include Barrington Irving, the first black pilot to fly solo around the world, film director Barry Jenkins, and NFL quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In 2011, the school received a "B" grade on the FCAT report card, the first time an inner-city Miami school had achieved such a high mark.[2]


The original school construction as seen here in 1960. Initial construction started in 1954 and was completed in 1955. Pictured is the main entrance located on 12th Avenue, just south of 71st Street.

Miami Northwestern Senior High School formally opened in September 1955 and was located off 12th Avenue and 71st Street. The mascot "Bull" comes from the former Dorsey High School. Once the new school opened, former Dorsey graduates called it the "New Bull." Several Dorsey graduates are still living today.

With the explosion of the "baby boom" children needing higher education in the second largest school district in the US, Florida's state officials deemed Miami as a major problem in secondary schools as early as 1953. Miami Northwestern was one of the schools in Dade County built to accommodate more students. When Miami Northwestern opened, it served only the black residents of Dade County, along with some schools that had been turned into middle schools. George Washington Carver, Mays and North Dade middle schools were all high schools for the black residents of Dade County, Florida. The class of 1966 all over Dade County stopped having segregated schools, and most of the students from Booker T. Washington came to Northwestern (and Miami Jackson Senior High School) in 1967–1968.

The original school boundaries were 71st Street on the north, 69th Street on the south, 12th Avenue on the west, and 10th Avenue on the east, roughly where the new track and field area is today. Part of the new construction of Northwestern is located where some units of a public housing area (commonly called "The Village") used to be years ago.

The late Mr. John H. Peavy, assistant principal (1955–1988), was well-loved by Miami Northwestern students for his dedication and firmness to education. The street on the west side of the school (12th Ave.) was renamed to John H. Peavy Boulevard in his honor.
Mrs. Ida Ratcliffe was appointed the first principal in August 1955.

In 1960, the real student crunch hit Dade County. Dade Junior College (later changed its name to Miami Dade Community College North, known today as Miami Dade College) was one of the higher learning two-year institution experiencing an overload of college-bound high school graduates. Miami Northwestern was chosen to relieve that demand with the formulation of Dade Junior College Northwest branch. This branch was moved back to the main campus in 1962. Besides academic studies, a comprehensive trade division was also installed in 1955, in which students could learn a trade to start work immediately after graduation, making Miami Northwestern a full-service community school.


Northwestern has long been known for its academic challenges; however, the school has shown an unprecedented turn-around over the last several years. Since the implementation of the Florida School Accountability Report, Northwestern had received a "D" or "F" for the 12 consecutive years between 1998 and 2010, with four "F" grades in the 2001–02, 2002–03, 2006–07, and 2008–09 school years.[3] During that time, Miami Northwestern was labeled one of the 163 "dropout factories" in the state of Florida by a Johns Hopkins University study of retention rates of students from their freshman to senior years. Using data from the 2004, 2005, and 2006 school years, the study found that 59% of entering freshman had dropped out or transferred before their senior year. Only 41% of the entering class had progressed to earn diplomas.[4] As of the 2010–11 school year, the graduation rate had doubled to 81%.[3]

In 2010–11, Miami Northwestern received a "B" on the School Accountability Report, the highest grade ever received by an inner-city school in Miami-Dade County.[2][5] This improvement has been attributed in part to a major overhaul in school staff, and to an increased focus on college readiness and college-level courses.[2] To further these efforts, Florida International University has partnered with Northwestern to help foster a successful community school. The initiative, funded by $1 million from JPMorgan Chase, will focus on increased dual-enrollment offerings, financial literacy, service learning, and the construction of an aquaponics laboratory at the school.[6]

In 2015 Miami Northwestern finally received an "A" rating from the State of Florida.[7]


Miami Northwestern is 90% Black, 9% Hispanic, and 1% White.[8]

Performing and Visual Arts Center (PAVAC) magnet program[edit]

The Performing and Visual Arts magnet program at Miami Northwestern was started in 1975 by Marcy Sarmiento. In 1982, the program was the starting point for PAVAC, the influential dual-enrollment joint program with Miami-Dade Community College,[9][10] which later became the New World School of the Arts. The Visual and Performing Arts magnets within the Miami-Dade county school system are competitive entry programs requiring a portfolio or audition, and are open to all students across the school system. In January 2007, twenty students from Miami Northwestern High School's Performing and Visual Arts Center drama class were awarded "Best Florida Film" at the 2006 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: High School Film Competition for their short film, directed by Jabari Payne, A New Love. Marcus Isaac, the film's producer and editor, was awarded the 2006 Miami Dade Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment: Student Filmmaker Award. The students, members of the in-school CINEMA program of the Florida Film Institute, a non-profit organization mentoring more than 4,200 aspiring young filmmakers throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties, screened their film at the Romance in a Can Film Festival in February 2007 at the Byron Carlyle Theatre on Miami Beach.[11]


The extracurricular activities offered at Miami Northwestern High School are numerous and varied, due to the school's large size. The Bulls compete in the Greater Miami Athletic Conference and are classified as a 6A school, according to the Florida High School Athletic Association. Miami Northwestern has won several state championships in various sports, as well as a National Championship in football in 2007. Many graduates have gone on to participate in Division I, Division II, and Division III athletics. Miami Northwestern's athletic rival is Miami Carol City High School.


On December 7, 2006 senior star running back of the football team Antwain Easterling was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a minor for having sex with a fourteen-year-old girl in a bathroom at Miami Northwestern High School three months earlier. The girl's mother had reported the incident to three faculty members at the school in October 2006 and one of them reportedly informed the principal Dwight Bernard. The proper authorities were not notified and it did not come to the attention of Miami-Dade school police until the mother of the fourteen year-old asked an unknowing member of the police staff how the investigation was proceeding. Also arrested in the incident and charged with the same offense were Dante Maurice Jefferson and Vincent Shannon Jefferson.[12]

After it was revealed that several members of the schools administration, faculty, and the football teams coaching staff knew about the incident and failed to report it, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew fired a total of twenty-one people including Miami Northwestern Principal Dwight Bernard, Head Football Coach Roland Smith and his entire staff, and many other school employees. In addition, athletics director Gregory Killings resigned. The football team was also placed on probation for one-year instead of having the entire 2007 season canceled. Bernard was indicted by a grand jury in March 2007 with official misconduct for covering up the incident. The grand jury report said school officials "allowed for the glory of football to trump the needs and safety" of the victim and that "priorities were chosen and the little girl lost." [13][14][15] It was later reported that the mother of the young girl made contact with members of the school administration over 30 times but the incident was never reported to Miami-Dade police as required by state and federal law.[16]

Easterling was allowed to enroll in a pretrial diversionary program which included 26 weeks of counseling sessions that would allow him to avoid prosecution and have the charges against him dismissed upon the completion of the program. Though he had been heavily recruited by schools like the University of Miami, the University of Florida, and Notre Dame these schools lost interest and walked away. He was finally recruited by The University of Southern Mississippi.[14]

On April 20, 2010, a Miami-Dade jury found former Miami Northwestern Principal Dwight Bernard not guilty after the trial on the sex scandal coverup. During the trial, Bernard took the stand in his own defense and told the jury that he was ordered by school board members not to suspend Easterling.[17] After his acquittal, Bernard sued the Miami Dade school board for $329,000.[18]


Prior to the 2007 season, the Miami Northwestern Bulls had won five class 6A state championships.[19] In its third game of the 2007 football season, the Bulls, ranked No. 1 by USA Today, traveled to Dallas, Texas to take on the #2 nationally ranked Southlake Dragons.[20] A crowd of 31,896 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium watched as Miami Northwestern won the contest 29-21, thereby ending Southlake's 49-game winning streak (tied Abilene for the longest in Texas high school football history). The Bulls then completed an undefeated season capping it off with a 41-0 win in the Florida 6A state championship game and being declared the mythical national champions by ESPN and USA Today.[21] The Bulls went to the 6A State Championship again in 2008, but were defeated by Seminole High School of Sanford.

2007–08 Season[edit]

Date Time Opponent Home/away W/L Score Site City
09/01/07 7:30pm Carol City Away W 42-0 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
09/07/07 7:30pm Homestead Home W 28-18 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
09/15/07 6:00pm Carroll (Southlake, Texas) Away W 29-21 SMU Dallas
09/28/07 7:30pm Miami Southridge Away W 48-21 Harris Field Miami
10/04/07 7:00pm Goleman Home W 57-0 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
10/13/07 7:30pm Hialeah-Miami Lakes Home W 63-0 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
10/19/07 7:30pm American Home W 36-12 Traz Powell Stadium Miami
10/27/07 7:30pm Miami Central Away W 24-12 Orange Bowl Miami
11/02/07 7:30pm Hialeah Away W 47-7 Milander Park Hialeah
11/09/07 7:30pm Jackson Home (Soul Bowl) W 46-0 Orange Bowl Miami
11/16/07 7:30pm Coral Gables play-off W 53-10 Miami Dade North CC Miami
11/23/07 7:30pm Columbus High 6A regional semifinal W 40-14 Orange Bowl Miami
11/30/07 7:30pm South Dade 6A-regional final W 55-14 Miami Dade North CC Miami
12/07/07 7:30pm Deerfield Beach 6A-state semifinal W 19-14 Orange Bowl Miami
12/15/07 7:00pm Boone 6A-state championship W 41-0 Citrus Bowl Orlando

Track and field[edit]

Miami Northwestern High School State Champions, 1962–63

The Bulls have also excelled in track and field, with the boys finishing in the top of the Florida state 4A track and field championships for the past 10 years.[22] In 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2007, the girls won the Florida High School Athletic Association's 4A track and field championship.[23] In 2007–2008, in the 400 meter event, the girls swept 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with two freshman sprinters.[24] The boys' team came in second to Miami Central.

Notable alumni[edit]

Law, politics, and public service[edit]

Music and film[edit]





See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MIAMI NORTHWESTERN SENIOR HIGH". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Miami Northwestern Celebrates First Ever "B" FCAT Score". CBS Miami. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b "School Accountability Report". Florida Department of Education. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "Dropout Factories". Johns Hopkins University.
  5. ^ "More South Florida high schools get top marks". The Miami Herald. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  6. ^ "The Education Effect". FIU Magazine. January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Alonzo Mourning gets award for helping children in education ." Miami Herald. February 9, 2015. Retrieved on July 24, 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Miami Herald, July 25, 1982, Talented Youth May Find Outlet in New Performing Arts Program.
  10. ^ Katharine Muller, New world school of the arts: Beyond dual enrollment, New Directions for Community Colleges, No.63, pp 85-93, 1988.
  11. ^ "Miami Northwestern High School Students Honored with Awards and Film Festival Appearance". Florida Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2007-09-22. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Doherty, Tim; Clarion-Ledger, Miss.) (2007-07-27). "Easterling ready for scrutiny after high school sex arrest". USA Today.
  15. ^ Brady, Erik (2007-09-14). "Carroll-Northwestern match shaped by contrasts". USA Today.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Wright, Todd (30 April 2010). "Ex-Principal Not Guilty in Sex Scandal Cover-Up Trial". NBC Miami. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  18. ^ Ovalle, David (April 2010). "Ex-Miami Northwestern High principal suing school board". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  19. ^ "Prep Rally: Miami Northwestern wins 6A title". USA Today. Archived from the original on June 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff (2007-09-16). "Miami Northwestern sinks Southlake Carroll's streak". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  21. ^ "ESPN High Elite 25". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  22. ^ "Boys Track and Field" (PDF). Florida High School Athletic Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-09-22. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  23. ^ "Championship History" (PDF). Florida High School Athletic Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2008-08-23. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  24. ^ "Miami Northwestern". DirectAthletics, Inc. 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-04-23.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°50′15″N 80°12′58″W / 25.8375968°N 80.2161594°W / 25.8375968; -80.2161594