Name chosen for new high school near west if Lake Worth opens in 2023

When Palm Beach County’s new high school opens in the fall of 2023, it will be the first in the county to be named after a Hispanic community leader.

School board officials voted to name the school Dr. Joaquín García High School — a name that honors one of the founders of the Hispanic Education Coalition, who died last December.

“It’s an emotional day for many of us. Joaquín was a mentor to me, a friend. /latino likewise run for the school board,” said board member Alexandria Ayala.

More than 30 people attended the meeting and at least a dozen spoke in favor of the new name.

Dr. Joaquin Garcia was the founder and chairman of the board of directors of the Hispanic Education Coalition

Donning white shirts and blouses, they shared their personal love and professional inspiration with García, who wanted to improve education by investing in scholarship programs, advocating for bilingual learning, and supporting causes that make more tolerant schools for Hispanic and LGBTQ+ students.

The Mayors and Vice Mayors of Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay were joined by Greenacres Council Member Susy Diaz to express their support.

“As a native of Florida and Palm Beach County, I can tell you that it is long overdue that we consider honoring a Hispanic (person) with a school nomination,” Diaz said.

Diaz added that the communities that will power the new high school, such as Palm Springs and Greenacres, are majority Hispanic communities.

And audience members highlighted why representation will be important for Hispanic students, who make up 37% of the district’s total population.

“It’s history in the making,” Carmen García told the board. “I just pray that each of you understands how important this is, not just for our Hispanic community, but for every child who has the opportunity to see someone who looks like them or has a name. who they can relate to will be able to see that there is an opportunity for them.”

Supporters of naming Palm Beach County's newest high school after Dr. Joaquín García gather outside the school district office on Wednesday.  The school board voted to name the school after the late doctor and businessman.

García was a Cuban-born physician and businessman, founding member of the Hispanic Education Coalition, and co-owner of the El Cid animal clinic in West Palm Beach.

He has also been involved with the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, the Compass Community Center, and the International AIDS Education Foundation. García was a strong supporter of bilingual programs in the school district.

District leaders said García frequently said he had no natural children, but considered the nearly 200,000 students in the Palm Beach County School District “his children and his responsibility.”

He died in November 2021 and was honored with a school board proclamation a month later.

Learn more about the Education Office:Palm Beach County School Choice Applications Begin Tuesday: How to Apply

Name of the school :Palm Beach County School Board chooses name for new Boynton Beach area college

Previously:Palm Beach County’s first new high school in 17 years opens next fall. How will it be named?

About the new Palm Beach County High School

The County’s 24th District High School will accommodate 2,600 students.

School board members and parents hope this will reduce overcrowding in schools in the county’s midsection.

The project, which the district called “OOO” before being named, is the first new high school to be built since 2005, when Seminole Ridge High was completed near Westlake.

The high school principal, two prospective students, members of the community, a representative from the Palm Beach County Historical Society, and instructional superintendent Karen Whetsell served on the school’s nominating committee.

They sorted through more than 50 suggestions and narrowed down the final three names to Park Ridge, Western Wave, and Dr. Joaquín García High School.

The new high school will be located between Palm Beach Central and Park Vista High Schools, just west of Florida's Turnpike.

Who will attend the new Lake Worth area high school?

The next step is to draw boundaries that will delineate the students who will attend the new school, located between Palm Beach Central and Park Vista high schools and just west of Florida’s Turnpike.

Nine high schools need relief from overcrowding as they reported enrollment that exceeded their building capacity this year: Dreyfoos School of the Arts and Boca Raton, Forest Hill, John I. Leonard, Olympic Heights, Palm Beach Central, Park Vista, Santaluces and Spanish River High Schools.

Although geography makes it difficult for the new high school to deal with overcrowding on all these campuses, helping any of these high schools will require a delicate rewriting of the boundaries.

The school will be filled from surrounding neighborhoods, and vacancies created at other high schools will then be filled by moving those boundaries and potentially displacing students.

District officials will determine the boundaries of the new school through a series of public boundary committee meetings. Last year, public meetings began in December for Blue Lake Elementary School in Boca Raton, which opened in August.

Dates for these meetings are yet to be set, but interested parents can check the district’s student enrollment and demographics page online for updates.

Katherine Kokal is an education reporter at the Palm Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected] Help support our work, subscribe today!

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