DESTIN — The famous movie quote "If you build it, they will come" worked for a baseball field in Iowa.

But what about a high school in Destin?

Although the idea has been floated before, representatives from the Destin Chamber of Commerce and the Okaloosa County School District on Aug. 11 proposed a half-cent sales tax to benefit the school district and help fund a new high school in the city.

After Destin Middle School, most students advance to either Fort Walton Beach or Niceville High School. Will parents — and students — be willing to forgo those two larger high schools for a secondary education in a smaller, more local setting?

Destin parents interviewed for this story seemed open to the idea of a Destin high school — but most of the students said they prefer the status quo.

For parent Phillip Blackburn, who has a son in the band at Destin Middle and a football player on the Fort Walton High Vikings, said he would be all in for a Destin high school.

“I would (send them there) just because I live in Destin,” Blackburn said. “I’ve always said they needed (a high school) in Destin. I think it would be great and I’d send my kids there.”

During the 2015-16 school year there were 614 high school-aged students in Destin. More than 400 of them went to Fort Walton Beach High School.

Blackburn is a 1996 graduate of Fort Walton Beach, and his son Presley, a linebacker for the Vikings, will graduate this school year.

Shawn Phillips, a mother of nine with a senior and a junior at Niceville High, a freshman at Fort Walton Beach and two at Destin Middle School, likes the idea of a Destin high school.

“I think the idea of a Destin high school is great,” Phillips said. “However, we like the large variety of academic course selections as well as wide variety of athletic programs that a large school offers.

“The smaller school setting of a Destin high school will be a wonderful option for many children, but as for us, my children would probably attend a larger high school,” she added.

Destin’s Madison Tenore, a freshman at Niceville, said she would consider swapping to a high school in Destin.

“It would be a possibility,” said Tenore, who was the shining star on the Destin Middle School girl’s golf team this past season and finished first in the Okaloosa County Middle School Golf Tournament.

“I’m very content where I am,” she said, noting that Niceville was her dream school.

Tenore said she went to Niceville for the academics as well as athletics.

Miranda Treadway, also of Destin and a freshman at Niceville, is also glad to be an Eagle.

“I’m pretty happy at Niceville. I don’t know (if I would choose to go to a Destin high school),” Treadway said.

Treadway said she had heard about the good academics at Niceville and knew they had a “really good” softball team. “I wanted the competition.”

Treadway, who played catcher for the Destin Marlin softball team, led the team in home runs.

“Niceville just grabbed my interest. I gave it no other thought … it was Niceville from the get go,” she said.

Blake Orr, who plays football and baseball at Destin Middle, is pretty set on the idea of going across Choctawhatchee Bay to Niceville.

“I’m looking forward to playing at a big high school,” said Orr, who noted he would not attend a Destin high school.

Orr, an eighth-grader, liked the recognition that athletes receive at the bigger schools. He said former Destin Marlin Deonte Sheffield went on to Niceville and excelled on the gridiron.

“A lot of people know who Niceville is,” Orr said.

Plus, he already plays travel baseball for Niceville and knows the coaches and players.

For Luke Edelman, also an eighth-grader at Destin Middle who plays football, baseball and basketball, he said as of now he’s headed to Niceville next year because that is where his brother Jacob attends.

However, he does live in Regatta Bay next to what would be the possible high school.

“I’d be able to walk to school. … It would be a tough decision,” Edelman said.  “If a lot of people started coming here, I might consider it.

"But right now I’m probably going to go to Niceville.”

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