Community Comes Together for Destin High School Groundbreaking


By Kay Phelan

The clouds parted and cleared a path for the community to come together and celebrate the official groundbreaking of Destin High School (DHS). A sense of pride and exhilaration filled the air as future students, parents, community members, and elected officials gathered in the school’s future auditorium and excitedly grabbed shovels and hardhats for photo ops.

DHS Governing Board President, Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell, and DHS Principal/Head of School, Christine Cruickshank, co-emceed the well-attended event. Guest speakers were Carolyn Ketchel, Okaloosa County Commission Chair, Destin Mayor Gary Jarvis, and Monica Autrey, Destin Water Users Operations Manager who was also representing the Destin Chamber of Commerce. Connie Lee of the local chapter of the DAR kicked off the event with the presentation of a flag for the school.

DHS is located on the former Grace Lutheran property, located on Commons Drive next to the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village. DHS is being retrofitted as a high school and will open to 9th, 10th and 11th graders in August 2021. The Phase Two plan calls for the future construction of a new building on the campus as the school expands to its full capacity in the next couple years.

“This really is the coming together of so many dreams, not just mine, but the city council’s, the community’s, the students that wanted a school. And it really means so much to be able to give this back to the community and offer a school right here in our own neighborhood that’s going to prepare them for college or for a career—or whatever the case may be. We’re just absolutely thrilled to be opening the doors of the school this August,” says Prebble Ramswell, DHS Board and Destin Councilwoman/Mayor Pro Tem.

“Despite the weather, the indoor Groundbreaking Ceremony was perfect,” commented Principal/Head of School, Christine Cruickshank. “As the DHS renovation proceeds full steam ahead by DAG Architects and Lord & Sons Construction, it is exhilarating to see how excited both our incoming students, and the community are about the new school. Go Sharks!”

In addition to offering advanced and state-mandated core curriculum, DHS will utilize a place-based approach to learning that will take advantage of the local geography, industry and community. This will allow the school to offer additional curriculum opportunities through authentic, meaningful and engaging personalized learning for their students.
“So many happy students, parents and community supporters united to celebrate the groundbreaking of DHS. After many years of planning, persistence, patience and development of strategic public/private partnerships DHS is a reality… this highly desired and needed high school will finally open,” says Myra Williams, DHS Board. “It was a magical evening and on behalf of the Governing Board, we express our gratitude.”

Though the official application period has ended, a few seats are still open. Visit to apply. For additional information on registering, donating, or volunteering, please call (850) 424-1664, email, or visit