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Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts
Established 1989
Type Public
Magnet (arts)
Secondary (high/9-12)
Principal Ellen Van Arsdale
Students 1,350
Grades 9–12
Location West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
District Palm Beach County School District
Campus Urban
Colors Gold and Black
Mascot Jaguar
Art Areas Communication Arts, Dance, Digital Media, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts
School of the Arts Foundation
Dreyfoos CIMG0275.JPG

Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. High School of the Arts (DSOA) is a public high school located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Formerly named the Palm Beach County School of the Arts (also known as School of the Arts or SOA), the school was renamed in recognition of a 1997 donation of $1 million by Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., a West Palm Beach philanthropist.

DSOA is a magnet school, with students coming from across Palm Beach County. Students belong to one of the school's six art departments: Communication Arts, Dance, Digital Media, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts. Students are then said to 'major' in their art area, taking at least two art area classes per year in addition to other academic and other classes. Newsweek magazine ranked DSOA #19 on its list of "America's Top Public High Schools" in May 2007.[1] (The list ranked schools by taking the number of Advanced Placement and other tests taken by all students at a school, divided by the number of graduating seniors). The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

The school's campus is located in downtown West Palm Beach at 501 South Sapodilla Avenue, adjacent to the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the CityPlace district. Located across Tamarind Avenue is the Tri-Rail train station, on which many students from the southeastern part of the county regularly commute.

DSOA is administrated by the School District of Palm Beach County, which also provides most of its funding. The school receives supplementary funds from the School of the Arts Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Visit the school's website, [1] for more information about the school.



All DSOA students are accepted by competitive audition. Most students enter at grade nine, although students in higher grades may apply to transfer to DSOA in later years. The audition process takes place on a yearly basis; no mid-year transfers are conducted. Only legal residents of Palm Beach County may audition.

Prospective students must first submit the Choice Programs Application to the School District of Palm Beach County's Department of School Choice and Choice Programs by December of the preceding school year. Auditioning students must then attend an Audition Sign-Up Day to schedule their audition. This typically occurs in mid to late January. Audition dates run from late January through early March. Audition results and admission decisions are then mailed to prospective students on a date determined by the school district, typically in mid-April.


Students in their first year at DSOA are given a rounded course selection in their art area. First-year visual arts majors, for example, take a year-long drawing class as well as a semester of sculpture and a semester of either 2-D design or photography. In subsequent years, students are allowed and often encouraged to specialize in an area of the department: Creative writing, graphics, journalism, television, film, or speech and debate for communications majors; technical theater, acting, or musical theater for theatre majors; sculpture, painting, photography or printmaking for visual arts majors; ballet or modern for dance majors. The one exception is music, in which a student is given intensive training in their instrument of expertise (or voice) for all four years. Music majors include band, keyboard, orchestra, and vocal.

Training at the school emphasizes professional skills. Students learn through classes, lessons, ensemble rehearsals, and performing.


Visual Arts

According to The College Board’s 2007 Report to the Nation, the studio art advanced placement students at The Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. School of the Arts had the highest percentage of students passing the AP exam of any large high school in the world. This is the third time the school’s visual art department has received this distinction, having achieved it previously in 2006 and 2005. Dreyfoos student Rebecca Mock was named as one of the 20 national Presidential Scholars in the Arts in 2007. [2].


Dreyfoos Music Department was selected as one of the top ten music programs in the country by the NARAS (National Association of Arts and Science) Foundation and was declared a GRAMMY Gold Division School[2]. The music department at Dreyfoos includes Band, Strings, Vocal, and Piano majors.


The Dreyfoos Theatre Department received the Educational Theatre Association’s Outstanding School Award, Outstanding Student Award, & Hall of Fame Teacher Award (the first time in the 75 year-history of this organization that one school received all three awards). The School's theatre department has also been one of only 10 schools each year selected to perform their Mainstage productions at the Florida State Thespian Competition for the past 4 years. The Florida State Thespian Competition is the largest high school thespian competition in the World.
2006: Trojan Women
2007: As You Like It
2008: Our Town
2009: Fame

o Named an Education Theatre Association Outstanding High School Theatre Program
o Performing on the Mainstage of the Florida State Thespian Festival twelve times in the last fourteen years
o Two-time Winner of the Southeastern Theatre Conference Secondary School Play Competition
o Four-time Winner of the Florida Theatre Conference Secondary School Play Competition
o Most awards for a single school at the District Thespian One-Act Play Competition
o Most awards for a single school at the District Thespian Individual Event Festival


The Dreyfoos Speech and Debate team won #1 in the nation at the annual Bickel and Brewer National Policy Forum competition in New York City in 2006 and 2007 [3]:

Palm Beach International Film Festival:

1st Place High School Feature/Shorts and Documentaries A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Communication Students; Nicole Groton, Emily Englehardt, David Kossin, and Sandon Simmons.

1st Place Poster Awards A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Communication Students; Joseph Gerbino and Alison Schwartz

1st Place Viral Video Award A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Visual Arts Student; Grant Yansura

Audience Choice Award Award A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts Communication Students; Joseph Gerbino, Daniel Satinoff, Errol Sabinano, Joseph Poach, and (G-Star Student) Houston Davis Jones. [4]

The Collaborative Film Productions Club won 1st place in the High School Narrative category at the 2008 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival for the film "Wednesday" [5]

The TV production team of 2008-2009 won the prestigious pacemaker award.

Photography/Film/Digital Media

This department, a new addition to the school, started in the 2006-2007 school year. The program was created by blending two dynamic programs, Communication Arts and Visual Arts. Students are offered classes in film and digital video, production, photography – traditional and digital, animation and graphic design. Students in this program work with both the moving image and the still image to create narrative experimental, documentary and short films of a variety of genres.

Alumni and accolades

The Class of 2007 boasted a 98.9% graduation rate with 95% of the graduating class going on to attend post-secondary educational institutions. Additionally, the Class of 2007 collectively received approximately $8.4 million in scholarship offers.

The Dreyfoos School of the Arts Debate team won the prestigious National Public Policy Forum for the second year in a row in 2007. It is not only the first school to win the New York University/Bickel and Brewer Law Firm competition in consecutive years, but is the first public high school to win the competition in its history.

In 2005 the school's student newsmagazine the Muse, became the first school publication in Florida to win the National Scholastic Press Association's prestigious Pacemaker award, a recognition of the top ten student publications in the United States.

The school's newscast received fourth place in "Best in Show" at the 2007 National Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention. [3]

The School's literary magazine, Seeds, received fourth place in the "Best in Show" at the 2007 Fall Convention of the National Scholastic Press Association.

The school's Theater Department won the Southeastern Theater Conference festival with its production of Kindertransport. Numerous other productions have received high ratings at the Florida Theater Conference and the Florida State Thespian Festival.

In 1996 The Theatre Department was invited to the much popular State Festival in Tampa,FL. The festival showcased the state's top talents in performance among High School students. The Department performed a "Caribbean-style" spin on the Shakespeare classic, "Twelfth Night" starring among others Trevares J. Thompson.

Dreyfoos Alumni:

o started their own theatre companies (Kimberlea Kressal’s Estrotribe, Randi Berry’s Wreckio Theatre, & David Rodriguez’s 2 Cities Production Companies in NY), and film companies (Adam Cronan’s Bama Productions)
o performed in local & regional theatres (Gretchen Porro at Cincinnati Playhouse, Greg Roman at the Ahmanson Theater and The Groundlings in Los Angeles, Brandon Morris at Gable Stage & City Theatre; Jonathan Horvath & Lorenzo Guittierez at Atlantis Playhouse; Brad Barfield and Natasha Sherritt at Florida Stage; Johnny Mineo at Mosaic Theatre; Erin Krakow with Sally Struthers in Steel Magnolias)
o on television (Sharon Pierre-Louis on Lincoln Heights, Billy Bell- So You Think You Can Dance)
o working with casting agencies (Megan Larche for Binder Casting, Danielle Pretsfelder for Nickleodeon)
o in national tours (Daniel Rysak in Cats)
o in commercials (Deprece Reddick & Francesca Tosti for Pepsi)
o in major films (Joshua Harto in The Dark Knight & The Believer)
o appeared OFF BROADWAY (Carrie Specksgoor in Triptych & Harry Bayron in No Strings)
o and ON BROADWAY (Eddie Pendergraft and Kristina Fernandez in Wicked)
o professionally designed (Pam Kupper: lighting at Radio City Music Hall, Mike McClain: scenery for St. Louis Opera Company; Caitlin Hunt: assistant costume for In the Heights)
o performing their own stand up comedy (Franchesca Ramsey)
o performing at international theme parks (Mike Scirrotto, Tokyo Disney)

A sampling of the colleges and universities that graduates from Dreyfoos School of the Arts have attended:
American Ballet Academy
Alvin Ailey Dance Company
Art Institute of Boston
Atlanta College of Art
Berklee College of Music
Boston Conservatory
Boston University
Brandeis University
California Institute of Art
Carnegie Mellon
Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music\
Columbia University
Cooper Union for Art, Architecture and Engineering
Dayton Ballet Company
DePaul University
Eastman School of Music Emerson
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Florida State University
Furman University
George Washington
Harvard College
Manhattan School of Music
Mannes College of Music
Martha Graham Dance Co.
Maryland Institute College of Art
Marymount Manhattan
Mass Art
New England Conservatory
New School of Jazz
New World School of the Arts
NYU, Tisch School of the Arts
Notre Dame
N. C. School of the Arts
Otis College of Art & Design
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Rhode Island School of Design
Savannah College of Art
School of American Ballet
School of Visual Arts
Syracuse University
SUNY - Purchase
Tufts University
University of Central Florida
University of Florida
University of Miami
Univ. of Southern California
Webster Conservatory
Westminster Choir College
Ringling School of Design
Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
Stanford University
Wellsley College


The school's campus is the former site of Twin Lakes High School. Twin Lakes was founded in 1908 as Palm Beach High School; it was established one year before the founding of the county itself and is the oldest high school in the county. Originally for whites, Palm Beach High merged in the 1970-1971 school year with the black Roosevelt High School following integration, forming Twin Lakes High School. In 1988, following a decision by the Palm Beach County School Board, Twin Lakes was closed. The school moved to a new site and was renamed Palm Beach Lakes Community High School. The old campus buildings were boarded up and were slated for demolition.

Several years later, however, the campus was renovated. In 1997 it re-opened as the site of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts. DSOA was previously located on the former site of North Shore High School in Mangonia Park (the site now occupied by the Bak Middle School of the Arts). Before being renamed after Dreyfoos and moved to the new campus, the school was known as the Palm Beach County School of the Arts.

The school recently celebrated its 100-Year Celebration with the "100 Years on the Hill" event.



External links


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