Destin High School hopes to offer a fishing class as part of its curriculum

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

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. 

Destin High School Principal Christine Cruickshank hopes to offer fishing classes for credit at the new school set to open in August.

“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. 

More:Destin High School board selects Christine Cruickshank as principal

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. 

More:Destin High School is a big hit for prospective students and their parents

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. 

Anglers fishing aboard the Sea Winder with Capt. Chris Couvillion show off some of the blackfin tuna they snagged on a recent trip out of Destin aboard the Sea Winder.

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. 

Prospective Destin High School students and their parents gathered Thursday evening at the old Grace Lutheran Church on Commons Drive to learn more about the school. The former church is being renovated and will open as Destin High School in the Fall.

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.  

An artist's rendering from DAG Architects shows what the new Destin High School will look like. A construction crew will renovate the old Grace Lutheran Church building on Commons Drive into the school, which will open in the Fall of this year.

More:VIDEO - Spring time fishing in Destin

“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.  

The Destin Fishing Rodeo wrapped up on Oct. 31 with some big catches. Here's a look at some of the fish that hit the scales.

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. 

More:FISH FLASH: More cobia tournaments on tap for April

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.

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