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Destin High Well Ahead of Expectations After First Year

Destin High School (DHS) was the first new high school to open in Okaloosa County in more than 50 years. A tuition-free, public charter school funded through donations, fundraisers, and supporters. DHS officially opened last summer for its first 2021-22 school year. At a recent community press conference, they announced that enrollment for the 2022-23 school year for grades 9, 10, 11 and now 12, has exceeded their expectations. There is now a waiting list. Ultimately, DHS will be able to accommodate 800 to 1,000 students, up from the current capacity of 470 students.

As well, many remarkable first year accomplishments were announced. It is impressive to note that Athletic Director, Philip Dorn, and his staff instituted 22 new sports teams, compromised of 11 boys and 11 girls teams. Numerous other firsts included First Power Hour, First Amazing Staff, First Clubs, First Pep Rally, First Band Concert, First Theater Production, First Destin Christmas Parade (Grand Marshall), First National Cheerleading Competition, First Junior Prom Sunset Dinner Cruise, First Fishing Class, First Art Show and First Winter Social.

To be headed up by DAG Architects and Lord & Son Construction, the Governing Board kicked off a new Phase 2, $9 million Capital Campaign to enable a significant addition to the school grounds with the construction of a 26,000 square foot multi-story classroom building to include wet science labs and an expansive art studio. Also included in the Phase 2 expansion is a 3,000 square foot Physical Training building to be used for sports classes and athletic training. 

Denise Fountain, President of the DHS Governing Board, commented, “After a five-year journey dedicated to opening a high school in Destin, our Board is beyond excited to see the many successes of the first year for our students. This couldn’t have happened without the support of the community and we thank them. We hope the community will step up again to help us attain the expansion needs.” 

DHS is a 501(C)(3) non-profit entity; all donations to the Phase 2 Capital Campaign are tax deductible. Depending on the donation amount, there are many opportunity perks, including building and classroom names and other campus recognitions. For detailed donor information and levels, contact DHS’s fundraising chair and Governing Board Treasurer Sarah Stone at (850) 598-6888 or

In addition to offering advanced and state-mandated core curriculum, DHS utilizes a place-based approach to learning that takes advantage of the local geography, industry, and community. This has allowed the school to offer additional curriculum opportunities through authentic, meaningful classes such as Commercial Fishing/Captain’s License Prep, Biomedical, and Business/Entrepreneurship to name a few. 

For additional information on registering, donating, or volunteering, please call (850) 204-4044, email, or visit They are also hiring teachers and positions in facilities/maintenance and para-professionals.

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