Mount Dora High School starts off its academic year on August 24 with new faces, new programs, a new football coach and eager expectations for the Hurricanes in the coming year.
With enrollment this year around 1,050, the freshman class of 2019 have already been through freshman orientation, finding out about classes, clubs, athletics—and lockers. Parents of freshmen have also met with teachers and get class supply lists.
New Advanced Placement (AP) courses in European History and Statistics have been added to the curriculum for students seeking college credit.
The city’s police department recently took over providing a resource officer to the high school. The officer provides security on campus and at sporting events.
“Last year was our first year with the MDPD, ” says assistant principal Herman Durias. “We created a great foundation and are looking forward to continuing to build a working relationship. They have been very helpful and supportive of our efforts.”
Mount Dora Police also placed a resource officer at Mount Dora Middle School. Both positions are paid for in part by a federal grant.
We asked Durias what are some of the challenges faced by students these days.
“In today’s technological world, students inevitably want to be on their cell phones. We have a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy here at MDHS that allows students to bring in devices specifically for classes that need them, but the guidelines are very strict. We don’t allow any electronic devices to be worn, seen or heard during the school day.
“Testing is always a challenge,” he adds. “Anytime you have ‘high stakes’ tests being administered, some students are bound to get anxious. We try to prep them as much as we can so they are successful.”
Last year, the city transferred some service agreements to Mount Dora High for maintenance of Heim Field, where Hurricanes baseball games are played.
“We have a great working relationship with the City of Mount Dora,” says Durias. “We couldn’t ask ask for a better partner.”
Another great partnership the city maintains is Mount Dora Community Trust, which provides grants to help pay for miscellaneous programs and activities at the school.
Looking ahead toward fall prep sports, the Hurricanes football team (8-3 last year with a playoff appearance) has a new coach—Donny Burch, who comes to the school from South Lake, where he was defensive coordinator and associate head coach.
In addition, cross country track, golf, swimming and volleyball programs are all getting underway.
Assistant principal Durias couldn’t have a closer relation with the school. “I was born and raised here, and I’m a graduate of Mount Dora High.” Durias has worked at Mount Dora High for the past six years.
“I’m looking forward to a great year,” he says. “We have such great students here.”
David Cohea, Writer (firstname.lastname@example.org)