Christopher Columbus High School (Miami-Dade County)
|Christopher Columbus High School|
3000 SW Galloway Road (87th Avenue)|
Westchester, Miami, (Miami-Dade), Florida 33165-3293
United States of America
|Religious affiliation(s)||Roman Catholic, Marist Brothers|
|Patron saint(s)||St. Marcellin Champagnat|
|Status||Active and progressing since 1958|
|President||Br. Kevin Handibode, F.M.S.|
|Principal||Mr. David Pugh|
|Language||English, French, Spanish|
|Hours in school day||8|
|Campus size||19 acre|
|Color(s)||Navy Blue & White|
|Rival||Belen Jesuit Preparatory School|
|Accreditation||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Sister school||Our Lady of Lourdes Academy|
|Alias||CCHS or Columbus|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christopher Columbus High School, Miami.|
Christopher Columbus High School is a private, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory high school, conducted by the Marist Brothers in the Westchester census-designated place of Miami Dade County, Florida. It was established in 1958 and was taken over by the Marist Brothers in 1959. It has over 100 teachers, administrators, faculty, staff, and an enrollment of 1,700 students. It was selected, for the fourth time in a row, as one of the "Top 50 Catholic High Schools" in the United States by the Catholic High School Honor Roll in 2008.
In 1958, Christopher Columbus High School was built in an area that was then surrounded by Everglades swampland. The school was established by the Diocese of Miami at the request of the Archbishop of Miami Coleman F. Carroll to continue the secondary education program at St. Theresa Catholic School in Coral Gables.
The school opened with two and a half buildings and an enrollment of approximately 150 students. The Marist Brothers assumed the direction of the school in 1959. Presently the Columbus campus extends over 24 acres. In addition to the four major academic buildings, there is the Abraham Science Building, the Lawrence-Bell Media Center, the Howard Korth Music, and Athletic Center and the Mas Technology Complex. Athletic facilities include varsity athletic fields, a baseball complex, outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, a gymnasium, track, and weight room.
In May of 2018, Columbus High School made national headlines after controversy centered around the display of a live caged tiger during the school's "jungle-themed" prom. Videos and images captured the tiger pacing in a metal enclosure. The school's principal David Pugh expressed regret for the school administration decision to allow the use of animal entertainment, stating that it did not reflect the school's Catholic values.
Today, Columbus has an enrollment of approximately 1,700 students and over 15,000 alumni.
Columbus' rival school is the only other all-male, Roman Catholic school in Miami-Dade County, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. The two schools' rivalry is often limited to athletics (though Columbus competes on the more competitive level across all sports), the rivalry often extends beyond sports and into local politics and culture.
These are some of the accomplishments Columbus has had:
- 1958: Columbus opens with 2 ½ buildings with an enrollment of 139 students.
- 1959: The Marist Brothers assumed the direction of the school under the leadership of Br. Benedict Henry.
- 1961: The CCHS gym made history as its pre-cast beams were the largest ever constructed in South Florida.
- 1965: The Brothers’ residence opens.
- 1978: 1st computer course is introduced.
- 1981: Campus Ministry implemented Encounter, Kerygma, and Emmaus Retreats to enrich Explorer spirituality.
- 1983: The Anthony Abraham Science Building opens offering 6 labs.
- 1988: The Genevieve Abraham Chapel opens.
- 1988: The 1st Columbus Open House is held.
- 1989: Senator Bob Graham praises and congratulates C.C.H.S. for its 30th Anniversary at the U.S. Senate Chamber.
- 1998: The Lawrence–Bell Media Center opens.
- 2004: Baseball Complex is completed and varsity baseball wins the state championships.
- 2004: CCHS is named one of top 50 Catholic High Schools in the U.S, 2004. No other Catholic high school in Miami-Dade was selected. The school will go on to consistently receive this distinction.
- 2008: The Mas Technology Complex is completed in September 2008.
- 2013: Congressman Joe Garcia honors CCHS by presenting a Congressional Records Statement that honors the school for 55 years of service to the community. In the Statement Congressman Garcia says "It is only fitting that Columbus' motto be Adelante, for this school has certainly been moving South Florida and America forward for over half a century".
- 2013: Columbus launches a one-to-one, iPad-based learning ecosystem; all students and faculty begin to utilize iPads in the classroom.
- 2013: Columbus opens a 4 million dollar Fitness Complex and Wellness Center.
- 2015: Columbus wins the baseball state championship.
- 2018: Columbus wins first track and field state championship on school history.
Catholic and Marist identity
As a Catholic and Marist institution, students are offered the opportunity to attend confessions and Mass as well as various Catholic retreats. Catholic religious education is part of the everyday curriculum, but students are also exposed to the various world religions in their traditional history classes. Mass is celebrated Monday through Friday in the Genevieve Abraham Chapel at 7:30 in the morning. Columbus is one of fourteen schools in the United States the Marist Brothers minister and one of the seven that they run. In addition, it is one of the U.S. Marist schools with the greatest number of working Brothers.
Admission and academics
As a Catholic and Marist institution, the school does not discriminate on the basis of race or religion in its admissions process. The school is funded by tuition with significant discounts offered for 2nd and 3rd children enrolled in the school. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
Columbus is an Elite Smart Showcase School and a participating school in the Catholic High School Honor Roll for 2012-2013.
In order to graduate, students require twenty-four credits and a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0. They must also complete one hundred hours of community service by the end of their senior year. The academics at Columbus are based on a phasing system: Phase 2 classes are for the academically challenged who require more time to absorb a given subject, Phase 3 classes are for average students, Phase 4 refers to honors classes for the academically gifted, and Phase 5 refers to Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which have a college-level format and where academically motivated students have the opportunity to gain college credit should they earn the proper score on the AP exam. Depending on a given phase of a class, a student will earn a certain amount of points, which are then weighted and averaged to generate a student's GPA, the average GPA being a 3.2.
Columbus has more students taking AP classes than any other Catholic school in Miami-Dade County and their passing averages on AP exams are five times higher than the state and national averages.
Mas Family Scholars Program
Started in the 2005-2006 school year, the Mas Family Scholars Program is an accelerated program at Christopher Columbus High School. The program was started by the Mas Family, who founded MasTec, Inc., a telecommunications company. In addition to having an advanced curriculum, the students in the program participate in extracurricular activities. Mas Scholars are encouraged to participate in sports and to encompass the ideal of the student athlete. Mas Scholars
The program is a continuing collaborative effort between Columbus and the Mas Family. Brothers Jorge Mas, Juan Carlos Mas, and Jose Mas, sons of the late Jorge Mas Canosa, founder of MasTec, Inc. and The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), are all Columbus graduates.
Program requirements:
- Top 10% score in the Columbus Entrance Exam
- Recommendation from junior high school principal
- Completion of enrichment courses during the summer
- A minimum of four Honors/AP/Dual Enrollment courses during junior year and five during senior year
- B+ or higher cumulative GPA.
- Involvement in minimally 1 extracurricular activity per year
- Attendance at a minimum of two enrichment activities during the year
- Service to the community
Program benefits:
- Students are ensured to complete a minimum of 30 college credits prior to graduation
- Periodic enrichment activities - Personal guidance and academic counseling
- Periodic status meetings with program director to ensure successful completion of courses
- College counseling and organized visits to universities
- Gateway to College
- Columbus College and Career Counselors will arrange periodic meetings with parents and students to explore college and career opportunities
- Preparation for PSAT/SAT examinations
- SAT 2 examinations upon completion of AP or Honors courses
- Induction into Honor Societies
- Ivy League college tours include: Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Brown University, Columbia University, Princeton University, and University of Pennsylvania.
- Field trips: Past Mas Scholar field trips have included visits to the Everglades National Park, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, operas, theatre, museums, Hispanic Heritage Lectures, and art and music lectures.
Students and faculty
The students are 84% Hispanic, 13% White, 2% African-American, and 1% combination of Asian/Pacific, Pacific Islander and Native American/Alaskan. The student-teacher ratio at Christopher Columbus High School is about 15:1. The professional staff includes 17 Marist Brothers, 100 laypersons; 2 librarians/media specialists and 9 counselors/advisors; 45% hold an advanced degree; 60% have over 20 years of teaching experience, and half have been with the school well over 15 years. Many Marist Brothers hold positions at Columbus including president, guidance counselors, career and college advisors, and teachers.
Although the school is an all-boy institution, the social formation of the students includes girls from neighboring co-ed St. Brendan High School in after-school clubs. Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, the Catholic all-girls sister school to Columbus, handles the cheerleading for the Columbus sports teams. Christopher Columbus High School also plays host to both Homecoming and Prom events each year for their students and their dates.
Athletics are an integral part of the school's educational program. Students are encouraged to win and excel, but the principles of self-discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship are the underlying goals of the program.
A member of the Florida High School Activities Association and the Greater Miami Athletic Conference, Columbus is the only private school in the state of Florida to compete at the 8A level, which means that our students play in the most competitive leagues and have the greatest amount of exposure to college scouts.
At Columbus, students also compete in non GMAC clubs such as: Roller Hockey, Fishing, Scuba Diving, and Personal Fitness. Intramural programs in football, dodgeball, ping pong, and basketball provide friendly competition and fun among class year levels after school.
Varsity level sports offered are: baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, hockey, soccer, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, swimming, diving, tennis, track and field, water polo and wrestling.
Junior varsity level sports include: baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, hockey, soccer, wrestling and lacrosse. Freshman level sports offered are: baseball, basketball, football and volleyball.
In 2009, Christopher Columbus High School won the Dodge Sunshine Cup All-Sports Award for boys' athletics programs in Class 6A. Columbus has produced six state champion and eleven runner-up teams:
|Baseball||2003, 2015||1973, 2009|
|Football||—||1980, 1982, 2014|
|Cross country||1997, 2008, 2009, 2010||1962, 1995, 2005, 2011|
|Track and field||2018||2009, 2010|
Head football coach Chris Merritt was part of Team USA's coaching staff for the inaugural International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship in 2009. One player from Columbus competed on the team, which won the tournament.
Christopher Columbus' baseball program was ranked the number one baseball team in America during the 2009-2010 year. Currently, Columbus competes at the 8A division.
The school has technology throughout all 8 academic buildings, including campus-wide Wi-Fi, Smart Boards and LCD projectors in all classrooms, fully -equipped science labs, a media center, and a technology complex with a digital based library, computer labs, and a media production studio
There are four main academic buildings that have a media center that contains a technical resource center, an auditorium, a TV news studio, a chemistry laboratory, a concession stand, and several offices. The science building contains a physics and chemistry lab. The school also has several computer labs, gymnasium, a tennis complex, a baseball complex, a weight room, football field, and a concrete track which is used as a parking lot.
In 2008, Christopher Columbus High School opened the three-story "Mas Technology Complex", which contains administrative offices, a conference room, computer labs, a large library, a production studio, a recording room, and a school clothing store.
- Richard Blanco - '85, U.S. inaugural poet 
- Raoul G. Cantero, III - '78, former Justice of Florida Supreme Court.
- Patrick Farrell - '77, photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize winner 
- Carlos A. Gimenez - '72, Miami-Dade County Mayor, former District 7 Commissioner, former city manager and Fire Chief of Miami
- Pedro José Greer - Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
- John M. Higgins - '79, journalist, business editor of Broadcasting & Cable
- Marcus Lemonis - '91, entrepreneur, television personality and CEO of Camping World
- Jorge Mas - '81, Chairman of MasTec
- Enrique Murciano - '91, actor, CBS drama Without a Trace and films Traffic, Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Lost City, Black Hawk Down
- Victor E. Renuart, Jr. - '67, retired Air Force general, formerly commander of United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
- Javier Fernandez - '94, State Representative for District 114 in the Florida House of Representatives, lawyer and public servant.
- Eddy Alvarez - '08, 2014 Sochi Olympics Team USA member, short track speed skating; first Cuban-American male speedskater to go to Winter Olympics for USA
- Augie Diaz - '72, world-class sailor
- Orestes Destrade - '80, former MLB player for Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates and ESPN analyst on Baseball Tonight.
- Pedro Grifol - coach for MLB Kansas City Royals
- Jon Jay - '03, MLB player for Chicago Cubs
- Ed Lynch - '73, former pitcher for New York Mets and General Manager for Chicago Cubs
- Paul Mainieri -'75, collegiate baseball and Baseball America's National Coach of the Year, led LSU to 2009 National Championship
- Izzy Molina - '90, former MLB player for Oakland A's and Baltimore Orioles
- Rob Murphy - '78, ormer Major League Baseball pitcher for Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Florida Marlins; pitched collegiately for University of Florida
- Andrew Suarez - pitcher for Miami Hurricanes, selected in 2011 MLB Draft
- Mario Cristobal - '88, former University of Miami 2x National Champion ('89, '91), current University of Oregon head coach
- Joaquin Gonzalez - '97, former University of Miami , 2001 National Champion, retired NFL offensive lineman
- Brian Griese - '93, former NFL quarterback for Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears
- Alonzo Highsmith - '83, former University of Miami and NFL football player and professional boxer; currently senior personnel director for Green Bay Packers
- Carlos Huerta - '87, former NFL placekicker for Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Rams
- Patrick Lee - '03, Auburn University and NFL cornerback Green Bay Packers. 2011 Super Bowl champion
- Mike Shula - '83, former University of Alabama football coach, current offensive coordinator for NFL Carolina Panthers
- Mike Whittington - '76, former University of Notre Dame, New York Giants and Memphis Showboats linebacker
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- "2009 FHSAA Class 6A Baseball Championship". FHSAA. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- "FHSAA Football Championship Records 2009-2010, page 3" (PDF). FHSAA. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- Boys Cross Country 2009–10 Championship Records (PDF). FHSAA. 2009. pp. 11–15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-07-18.
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- "FHSAA Records Book" (PDF).
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- "'One Today': Richard Blanco's Inaugural Poem". ABC News. 2013-01-22. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
- "Justice Raoul G. Cantero III visits Columbus - The Log". The Log. 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
- "The Pulitzer Prizes | Citation". www.pulitzer.org. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
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- Royals make coaching changes
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