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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, May 18, 2018 1 year ago

Winter Park High School recognized by U.S. News & World Report

The home of the Winter Park Wildcats was the only Orange County school to receive a gold medal ranking.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

It feels good to be recognized.

Just ask Winter Park High School.

The home of the Winter Park Wildcats recently earned a “Gold” rating in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best of High School Rankings.

Nine schools in Orange County received gold, silver and bronze ratings, but Winter Park High School was the only one to receive the top ranking.

Winter Park High also finished as the No. 35 school in the state and No. 480 school in the nation.

“It’s exciting for us to be awarded the gold medal rank,” Principal Tim Smith said. “We’re happy that we rank in the 35th spot in the state of Florida. There’s some great competition all around Central Florida. We just like to perform as high as we can. We moved up a few places from last year. I don’t remember exactly where we were last year, but we were probably in the 40s.”

More than 20,000 schools across the country are included in the analysis and have a shot at gold, silver or bronze medals based on performance on state assessments, graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college.

Smith said his school’s success is the product of a community effort.

“What’s really neat about it is I think it’s exciting for the community,” Smith said. “We are truly a community-based school, so everybody has a hand in that starting with our incredible students. … I’m really proud of our staff, our teachers and a really inspiring group of people. And then we’ve got our parents, who are incredible supportive and helpful. We feel that support every day. All of that is the reason we’ve moved up in the rankings. It’s because of the Winter Park family.”

Above all, Smith hopes the school provides its students with options in the future.

“We want to position kids well for the future where they have choices and opportunities,” Smith said. “We want them to have the academic skills and the learning skills. Our goal is we want kids to choose, when they’re finished, from a lot of opportunities and go follow their call and have a positive impact on people.”

Tim Freed is the Managing Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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