For more than 15 years, Destin residents have recognized a need for a Destin High School. The steadily growing population, coupled with an isolated location and deteriorating conditions at neighboring high schools, solidified the community’s resolve to turn a dream into a reality. As the voices of support have grown in number, determination, and passion, the City Council directed and approved the formation of the Destin High School Advisory Committee in 2016. The committee researched concerns regarding overcrowding/overcapacity circumstances at the two schools serving Destin students – Niceville High School and Fort Walton Beach High School – as well as distance, wake-up times, length of commutes, and current school facility conditions. The committee also noted the fact that Destin students must cross two bridges to attend high school –bridges that often close during inclement weather and emergencies.
Other factors the committee considered included the increasing population of school age children at the elementary and middle school levels, which in time will have an impact on the high schools., especially at the K-5 level, and overcrowding at. Due to the influx of students and need for increased capacity at Destin Elementary School (DES), fifth grade students were relocated to Destin Middle School (DMS). With a surging student population, DES and DMS are now over capacity. As of January 2019, both neighboring high schools are at capacity, creating an impact on options available through FL Controlled Open Enrollment.
Due to the geographical and capacity issues impacting the needs of students and families in the Destin area, the community has rallied behind the idea of a new high school. There has been overwhelming public support for the construction of a Destin High School designed to meet the needs of all students in the area. Residents and community stakeholders have stepped up to lend a hand in order to ensure the dream becomes a reality. To date, the board has raised nearly $40,000 in cash donations in only a few months purely through grassroots efforts.
As support continues to grow, business owners, developers, non-profits, and even non-residents want to help see this vision come to fruition. The importance of well-rounded and unique curricular options is abundantly clear, so we sought community input on potential areas of focus and programs. This input led to our decision to offer career academies and career-themed courses with direct application to our local community in addition to the more traditional college preparatory course of study. Special areas of focus will include such things as environmental and marine sciences, cyber security, tourism, and construction (e.g., Carpentry; Electrical; HVAC; Masonry; Plumbing; Construction Technology).
These programs will be well-supported through numerous local resources, will lend themselves to increased connectivity to the local community, and will provide students with multiple options for postsecondary pathways that range from direct entry into the workforce to pursuit of a college