South Dade High opens its doors to largest new student orientation ever


Principal JC DeArmas addresses the crowd at the New Student Orientation on August 17, 2019. With over 1000 attendees, it was the largest orientation in South Dade history.

Erica Guo, Staff Writer

On Saturday August 17, two days before kicking off the 2019-2020 school year, over 1,000 parents and students attended the new student orientation to become better acquainted with the academic and athletic opportunities that will be available to them at South Dade as well as becoming a little more familiar with the 420,000 sq. foot campus. They were also treated to a performance by the band, color guard and cheerleaders.

In previous years, approximately 500 people attended orientation, but thanks to one of the largest incoming ninth grade classes and transfers from other schools, the event ended up being standing room only in the auditorium that usually fits 950 occupants.

“We have about 848 freshmen coming in, one of the biggest classes we’ve ever had in this building,” said Principal J.C. DeArmas about the impressive turnout. Another reason for the growth of enrollment numbers across all grade levels is students that previously attended schools like Miami Arts Charter and MAST Homestead are coming back to South Dade. “We are a solid B [school] for the first time ever and really close to the A,”  said DeArmas of the renewed interest in the school. He believes that the programs offered at South Dade compete with traditional magnet schools such as Coral Reef High School and Robert Morgan as well as other schools in our area.

For parent Delitza Ramirez, whose daughter Anaysa Alsina is an incoming sophomore from Everglades Prep the change is a welcome one. “I feel very happy, she’s joining a school with so many opportunities.” The tour was also helpful for many parents and students because the size of the campus can be intimidating. “I’m comfortable because now she knows exactly where she is going with all the buildings and classrooms.” said Alisa Ramatally, whose daughter Mikayla Nisbet is an incoming sophomore from MAST Homestead.

Another takeaway DeArmas wanted parents to go home with was that at South Dade, their child’s safety was of the utmost importance.  During school hours South Dade Senior all gates are locked and swept by security multiple times a day with the only exception being the visitor gate which is constantly monitored by security. According to DeArmas, South Dade was the first school in the district to implement a combination lock on all locks and set a precedent for other schools in the district to upgrade from master key locks within the next month. “I want every student to be able to go home, I want every faculty and staff member to go home”.

The impressive turnout and anticipatory energy of new students and their families is something that will hopefully carry over into a successful 2019-2020 school year.