Destin High School hopes to offer a fishing class as part of its curriculum
In addition to getting credit for social studies, math and science, students at the new Destin High School could possibly get credit for taking a fishing class.
The school, set to open in August, is located in what has been called for years the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”
“How could we not” offer a fishing class, Destin High Principal Christine Cruickshank said.
Destin High, home of the Sharks, hopes to get its curriculum approved for a commercial fishing class. Students would be certified to be a crew member when they finish taking the course.
“If they go through the entire program, they could have their captain's license right out of high school,” Cruickshank said.
Right now, Cruickshank said the school is just waiting for approval of the curriculum from the Florida Department of Education. Last year’s curriculum for the school year was approved April 1.
The commercial fishing classes are new for the state of Florida but would be available for all if approved.
However, Cruickshank said she hopes to make Destin High the first in the state to offer it. “That’s my goal,” she said.
Included in the fishing curriculum will be such things as “communication skills, leadership skills, human relations and employability skills, safe and efficient work practices, crew duties on seagoing boats, trailers and small ships. Included are vessel operation and maintenance, vessel navigation, vessel handling, shrimp and net fishing, pot and line fishing, and galley operation/food preparation.”
“The purpose of the program is to prepare students for initial employment as an officer or fishing vessel captain,” according to the fishing curriculum proposal.
The fishing classes fit right in with Destin High’s overall purpose of giving back to the community by giving students skills they can use locally.
Cruickshank said the school is also looking at a marketing entrepreneurship academy in which it will teach students about marketing and business.
The fishing curriculum would fall into the Career Tech Education Program.
Capt. Mike Parker, who recently sold his charter boat Silver King after 20 years in the business, will be instrumental in helping to get the classes started if they are approved.
Cruickshank said Parker would be eligible to teach these classes because he has five years of experience in the field and has a captain's license from the state of Florida.
“This is considered tech education. So, with career and tech classes, it makes more sense for someone who has that life experience in those fields,” to teach those classes, she said.
"There’s a lot of interest with the students in fishing … and if we can give them credit and move them forward in a career that gives back to the community … it’s a win-win for us and the community,” Cruickshank added.
“It’s just something we’re doing that’s a little unique from the other schools around,” she said.
If by chance the fishing curriculum is not approved, Cruickshank said fishing will still be a big part of Destin High. The school will offer a fishing club and fishing competitions.
"There’s a lot we can do with it,” she said.
Nevertheless, Cruickshank hopes for approval.
“I’d like to just give the kids on that career path that step up … and the others that do it just because it’s fun. We can do it for that, too,” she said.
Applications for Destin High are “on track to do what we want to do,” Cruickshank said.
“It’s exciting times and they are still coming in.”
Destin High School is located on Commons Drive at the site of the former Grace Lutheran Church.
Subscribe today using the link at the bottom of this page and never miss a story.