Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

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The Dreyfoos Difference

At an arts school, students and staff encounter inclusion and absence of traditional high school experiences
In+addition+to+nine+arts+programs%2C+Dreyfoos+also+provides+students+with+the+opportunity+to+take+part+in+sports+and+academics.
Christina Shaw
In addition to nine arts programs, Dreyfoos also provides students with the opportunity to take part in sports and academics.

The newest addition to the school’s annual traditions has just ended: a formal dance with a royal court dubbed “The Winter Formal.” The Winter Formal is similar to a traditional Homecoming dance, which the school doesn’t have due to the absence of a football team.  

But not having a homecoming is not the only aspect of Dreyfoos that separates it from the other schools. Throughout the years, the school has adopted elements from other campuses while staying true to its own roots.

When Dreyfoos opened as the Palm Beach County School of the Arts in 1990, it had four majors and around 350 students, as opposed to the nine majors and over a 1,000 students today. It didn’t even move to the current campus until 1998. Math teacher Chris Coombs has worked at the school since it opened and notices changes in the emphasis of the academics.

“I’ve been here 26 years,” Mr. Coombs said. “What I see is that academics have always been important. They’ve always been expected, but I see maybe even more of a focus on academics (now).”

The separation between a regular school and an arts school has been a constant throughout Dreyfoos’ history. In a September 1999 issue of State of the Arts (the school’s former newspaper), students expressed requests for the new school principal including prioritizing the arts and improving or removing Spirit Week. The writer, Jenny Lobasz, notes she doesn’t “expect (principal) Ms. Ostrosky to start promising lunch downtown for upperclassmen.” 24 years later, Spirit Week is now considered a major aspect of student culture, and seniors now get to eat lunch at The Square.

“Dreyfoos definitely has a very different culture. It’s not as oriented on academics or sports as much as other schools are,” boys basketball small forward and strings sophomore William Tong said. “We’re missing out on more sports because usually at a regular high school, there are homecomings, there are football games, (and) there are even tennis courts!”

Dreyfoos is not the only school with an arts program. Other arts high schools in South Florida, specifically G-Star and New World School of the Arts (NWSA), provide different opportunities to their students. Dreyfoos takes the lead with nine majors, and NWSA has four, and G-Star has three. Neither of these arts schools have any sports programs.

Despite these differences, one common consensus among the staff is that the main difference between Dreyfoos and other schools is the community. 

Digital junior Taylor Rankine attended Jupiter High School for her freshman year before transferring to Dreyfoos. “Jupiter High is such a big school. I feel like there’s no community or connection between all the students, but I feel like at Dreyfoos, everyone wants to be there. We’re all connected by the fact that we all want to be there for our own reasons.”

There are 1,372 students on campus, spread out over nine buildings, comparatively Rankine’s previous school has 3,042 students, over 45 buildings and portables. Rankine also feels that Dreyfoos serves as an outlet for creativity.

“I think something that Dreyfoos does is they really let us express ourselves,” Rankine said. “They give us a lot of freedom that I don’t think other arts schools do as much. I feel like we have a lot of freedom in how we dress and the art we do.”

Dreyfoos may not be considered a “regular” high school due to the magnet school label, but every student puts in effort to attend this school. As foreign language dean Lori Brown said, with the audition process, attending this school is not a given because “you have to actually earn your right to be here.” Students have to put forward effort and be motivated to get into Dreyfoos.

“One of the things people always say to me is ‘Oh you get all the smart kids!’” Mr. Coombs said. “I say ‘No I don’t. I get all the motivated kids.’ That motivation makes all the difference in the world.”

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Gavin Leser, Content Team Editor
Gavin Leser is a 2 year staffer and Content Team Editor on The Muse. He loves playing with dogs and watching WWE, and hopes to be a filmmaker one day. He loves writing opinion pieces and reviews, and joined The Muse because he loves writing. He looks forward to managing his team this year, Team Goobers.
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