Felix Varela High welcomes ‘iPrep’ for college bound

By Richard Yager….

Ribbon-cutting for new ‘iPrep’ building at Varela High School plaza includes (l-r) Milagros Fornell, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum; Helen Blanch, Associate Superintendent for Schools of Choice; Valtena Brown, South Region Superintendent; School Board member Dr. Larry Feldman; Freddy Woodson, Deputy Superintendent for School Operations; Nery Fins, Felix Varela High principal; Daniel Camous, ‘iPrep’ student representative; Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho; Dr. Alexis Martinez, South Central Regional Superintendent, and James Torrens, Associate Superintendent for Facilities and Maintenance.

“Engaging the 21st Century Learner” was the theme for the Nov. 28 opening of “iPrep,” the new magnet program at Felix Varela Senior High School Learning Center for Technology and the Sciences.

“This is a credit to the innovative curriculum for the entire school system,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, as he addressed more than 100 school administrators, parents and students during an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony on the school’s outdoor plaza.

The Varela “Virtual Village “ structure was renovated during the summer to be equipped with wireless Internet access, smart boards, and research labs.

The building is distinguished by a mural of four stylized tropical palms and a star cluster flanking the building’s east entry, designed by local artist Tony Mendoza, who, with student and staff assistance, painted the exterior artwork on the east façade of the structure that faces SW 152nd Avenue at 96th Street. The artwork is typical of his memories of growing up in colorful Little Havana.

Singled out from the audience for a special thank you, Mendoza was one of many contributing time and effort “to make this day become a reality,” said Varela principal Nery Fins.

“iPrep at Varela is a new and innovative magnet to provide students with an opportunity to participate in a rigorous curriculum that is technologically enriched,” she said.

Students will participate in various college preparatory and college level courses with flexible scheduling, if they choose to participate in internships and community based projects, she explained.

“The facility [offers] students the latest tools in technology. Our mission is to prepare students to be successful in college, wellrounded intellectually, and leaders in our community,” Fins added.

College Board Advanced Placement courses are offered as part of the iPrep curriculum that will provide students with college credits, recognized nationally by both public and private universities.

Program participants included the Varela Naval ROTC honor guard; Varela Jazz Band; School Board member Carlos L. Curbelo; Daniel Carmous, who greeted guests on behalf of Varela students, and Valtena Brown, South Regional Center Schools Superintendent, representing a host of academic and administrative officials.

For details about “iPrep,” visit varelahs.dadeschools.net/iprep.php or call 305-752-7900.

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