|Miami Senior High School|
2450 Southwest 1st Street
|School type||Public, high school|
|Motto||Non verbis sed operis (Not by words, but deeds)|
|School district||Miami-Dade County Public Schools|
|Teaching staff||134.00 (FTE)|
|Student to teacher ratio||21.96|
|Color(s)||Blue and gold|
|Mascot||"Whippy" the Stingaree|
Miami Senior High School
|Area||19 acres (7.7 ha)|
|Architect||Kiehnel and Elliott|
|Architectural style||Late 19th- and 20th-century revivals,Mediterranean Revival with Moorish elements|
|NRHP reference #||90000881|
|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. 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 1903 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 on what is now NE 1st Avenue, between 3rd and 4th Streets. This 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.
In 1909, the school board decided to build a new schoolhouse to again house all grammar and high school students together. 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.
Miami Senior High School's current building is its fourth home. The school board selected a fifteen-acre campus in the middle of what was then a pine forest. Groundbreaking occurred early in 1926, but due to the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, the school's opening was delayed. Finally finished in 1928, the building was designed in a Spanish Mediterranean style with Moorish and Byzantine details by Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott, one of the great early Miami architects. He 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. The building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
1968 was a significant year for Miami Senior 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. This was also the year of the major Florida statewide teachers' strike, which caused students classes to be in chaos due to having many newly hired substitute teachers, while their regular teachers walked picket lines for weeks.
Located in the Little Havana neighborhood, the school was founded in 1903 for whites. Since the late 1960s, 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.
By the 1950s a large Jewish minority had developed at Miami Senior High School, and Jews made up the majority of the students in some advanced-level classes. During that decade some Jewish students were in the attendance zone for Coral Gables High School but were instead sent to Miami High; this was especially the case with girls, as many high status girls' clubs at Coral Gables High did not admit Jews. A patio called "Little Jerusalem" or "LJ" (initially "Little Israel" in the 1950s) was where Jewish students socialized.
69% of the school's students graduate, and it has an overall dropout rate of 4%.
Beginning in 2010, Miami Senior High School underwent a four-year historic restoration, renovation, and remodeling project at a cost of approximately $55 million. Project architect Thorn Grafton of Zyscovich Architects, who is the grandson of Miami Beach pioneering architect Russell Pancoast, was one of the people 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 arched windows and steel-trussed cathedral ceiling in the old library (now a media center).
Veronica Lake, actress and model, 1930s
Ed Roberts, "father of the PC", computer engineer, 1950s
Christopher George, actor, 1940s
Jeff Coopwood, Emmy-nominated actor, broadcaster and singer, 1970s