ACADEMIC CONCENTRATIONS

 

An entrepreneurial spirit drives Tampa Prep to create a dynamic environment where students have access to the most relevant topics and learning approaches. We are a constant work in progress, and there is always room to build, do and create. That nimbleness allows us to respond to the changing times and needs of our students.

This is how our Academic Concentrations came to be. Students with deep passions and accelerated interests in specific subject areas wanted more. So concentrated studies in the academic areas of the Arts, Global Studies, Humanities and STEM were developed to provide the opportunity for in-depth exploration of these fields.

Concentration Requirements

Each program requires students to select classes from a body of relevant coursework that coincides with each interdisciplinary focus. Academic Concentrations rival college-level curricula. For many alumni, the signature experience has a profound impact on their academic and professional careers after Tampa Prep. 

VIEW CONCENTRATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Completion of the core curriculum.
  • A minimum of three years of classes in the concentration area, though four years is recommended. AP courses are required where applicable.
  • Maintaining a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.0.
  • Leadership by joining concentration-related Honor Societies.
  • Community service initiatives in the area of concentration.
  • Attendance at events held on and off campus that are associated with the area of concentration with written reflection after the event.
  • Attendance at a conference in the area of concentration (MUN Conference, for example, in a Global Studies Concentration).
  • An audition (for Band and Strings, Theater, Vocal Music).
  • Production of work and submission to local or national competitions (Film & Video, Fine Arts).
  • Hosting an international student and participating in at least one study/travel abroad program (Global Studies).
  • Culminating 15-page research project (Humanities).
  • Culminating research project and undertaking a STEM-oriented senior internship (STEM).

ARTS CONCENTRATION

The Arts Concentration provides rising 10th grade students with a rigorous arts-focused curriculum that will engage, inspire, and celebrate creativity, emphasizing commitment and discipline, while encouraging a lifelong appreciation of the arts. In support of the School’s Mission Statement, our Arts Concentration presents a unique opportunity for students to earn an Arts Concentration Scholar certificate along with their diploma by completing a prescribed curriculum and additional requirements during their four years in the Upper School. Arts Concentrations are available in the following areas of emphasis:

  • Band & Strings
  • Film & Video
  • Fine Arts
  • Theater
  • Vocal Music

LEARN HOW the Arts Concentration inspired Alexa Lowrey '19

“When you lose a part, it’s good to think like, ‘It’s just not your turn yet.’ As long as you keep trying you’re not failing.”

Alexa Lowrey ‘19 grew up with music. Her mother is a music teacher and her father is a professional bass player. For as long as she can remember, music has conducted her life.

She performed in her first professional musical in third grade. “I was in a production of Annie at the Patel Conservatory. I had such a good time,” she says. “As a cast we went to see one of the touring groups there at the same time and I thought ‘You can get paid to do this? I want to do that!’” So began her dream to be a Broadway star.

Lowrey started Tampa Prep in sixth grade–she’s what we call a “lifer”–and participated in Chorus and Dance as a middle school student, while simultaneously doing two shows per year at the Patel Conservatory. She played her first role in a Tampa Prep musical in eighth grade in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, where she found her tribe and her home. 

Tampa Prep introduced the Arts Concentration in Lowrey’s sophomore year. Most students choose one Arts Concentration path from Band & Strings, Film & Video, Fine Arts, Theater or Vocal Music. But Lowrey was already taking all the requirements for both the Theater and Vocal Music concentrations as part of her normal schedule, so she received credit in both areas.

“The concentration helped me keep track of what I was doing,” she says. “The [concentration] track also helped me feel ready for college auditions and that whole process.” 

Lowrey, now a freshman at NYU says, “I felt very ready for college and its courses. I could always talk to my counselor, Mrs. Leonhardt. She’s the best. It’s like a family. The courses I took and the support I received that junior/senior year were the things that led me to being successful here at NYU.”

Recently, Lowrey visited Tampa Prep during a break from school to record an audition. “The past week I’ve been applying to summer theater companies. I had to learn a dance from a video, and I choreographed my own tap dance. I was at Prep so I could record it before I went back to NYU so it’s out of the way.” 

The summer theater internships she’s applying for are located across the country. Each one requires multiple levels of auditions, and each company wants something different, so there’s a good bit of strategy and work that goes into finding the right songs and monologues.

“Some companies have one show. Some have a whole season, and throughout the season you’re in every show. It’s a good way to get a lot of performance credits, but it’s a lot of work,” she says. “I’m still a freshman, I’m still young. But there’s always the fear of ‘Will I ever be cast? Will I have enough experiences in my toolkit when I go out and audition in the real world?’”

While visiting Tampa Prep, Lowrey was able to watch a bit of the rehearsal for the recent upper school performance of Chicago and visit her longtime mentors, Mr. Andrew Hoy (Choral Director) and Mr. David Mann (Theater Director) who have answered those questions for her many times over the years. 

“You can tell they really care about their work and genuinely want you to succeed,” she says. “Mr Mann always talks about how it’s OK to mess up. He wants you to mess up because it shows you have courage. You have to fail to succeed.” 

This is an important concept for any actor to grasp, but especially for Lowrey because not being guaranteed a role is new for her. As an actor in Tampa Prep productions, Lowrey always knew she’d get a part in any play she tried out for because, besides being phenomenally talented, the classes are small and parts need to be filled. 

During the college admissions process, that obviously was not the case. “You’re going to these schools and auditioning, and you might get in academically but not get into the [theater] program,” she says. “Once you get that first rejection it’s just like, ‘Oh, that stinks.’ You realize they only accept 20 out of 1,000 kids, so you try not to let the whole thing of rejection–‘Am I good enough?’–get in your head.”

Lowrey didn’t get in everywhere she applied to college, but she got into many schools. She says, “I had to tell myself, ‘I may not get into this top school, but I still got into this great school. I should be proud of getting in! That rejection that started in the college process will be there throughout my entire life. It helped me prepare for the real world when real rejections come rolling in.” 

Now that she’s passed the college entrance auditions, she’s working on getting cast in shows at NYU and she recognizes there are no guarantees, “so there is a lot of trying and failing,” she says. “When you lose a part, it’s good to think like, ‘It’s just not your turn yet.’ As long as you keep trying you’re not failing.”

When asked what theater means to her, Lowrey says, “It’s a vulnerable expression of yourself in front of people you’ve never met. It’s vulnerable to go out there and pour your heart and soul into some character that may or may not be like you.” She places value on the work because she recognizes that theater is a way for people to escape from their own lives, to see something in a character they might see in themselves or to provide a realization about something they needed to hear that day. 

“It’s a good way to learn more about yourself while also teaching others,” she says. “They come to see you, and afterward they view the world in a different way.”

With passion like that, Lowrey is sure to realize her dream of playing comedic, dramatic and powerful characters on Broadway, including Natasha from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, one of her favorite shows.  “Or I’d just be happy to make a living by performing,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be fame or riches, as long as I’m able to keep performing, do what I love, and make sure I get a family, a dog and am able to balance all aspects of my life.” 

ALEXA LOWREY, CLASS OF 2019

GLOBAL STUDIES CONCENTRATION

In support of the School’s Mission Statement, Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary Global Studies Concentration for rising 10th grade students who are passionate about international issues. The underlying goal of the concentration requirements is to equip graduates with a range of experiences that prepare them for further opportunities in these interdisciplinary fields, while also completing Tampa Prep’s graduation requirements.

LEARN HOW the Global Studies Concentration inspired Rammi Quah '17

By the end of his senior year, Quah had completed 12 credits in World Languages, taking every language at every level that Tampa Prep had to offer.

Rammi Quah ‘17, says he has always been interested in global cultures and “people all over the world.” So when Tampa Prep introduced its Global Studies Concentration, Quah applied immediately in grade 10. By the end of his senior year he had completed 12 credits in World Languages, taking every language at every level that Tampa Prep had to offer. Some studies suggest that language is harder to learn later in life, but Quah would argue that. “I just love languages more than anything else in the world,” he says. 

One might think that living in a multicultural household inspired Quah to learn more languages but, he says, “My dad is from Malaysia and speaks Hokkien Chinese, and my mom is from Jordan so she speaks Arabic, but neither of them knows how to speak the other, so we all just spoke English at home. But I definitely want to learn Arabic and Chinese.”

It turns out that travel is, in fact, what inspires Quah to want to learn more about the world. “One of the best experiences in my life was the senior year spring break trip to France,” he says. “We saw a lot of [the country] and learned a lot. I’m obsessed with Bretan culture and language,” he says, speaking of Brittany, France’s northwesternmost region. “The food was the best, and I finally found books on the Brittany language which I brought home to devour.”

Quah graduated Tampa Prep as valedictorian and now attends Emory University as a Linguistics major. ”I’m constantly breaking down languages and sentences in my head. Spanish has helped me because it’s prevalent and I can use it. French not as much because I barely run into anyone who speaks French. Latin helped because I took Portuguese this semester [his freshman year]. Taking all three at Prep has made it easier to learn other languages.” 

After completing his freshman year at Emory, Quah can say unequivocally that Tampa Prep and the Global Studies concentration academically prepared him for college. “I didn’t feel as much of a workload jump [going from high school to college],” he says. “My difficulties have been more about college life and managing time and sorting my life out and growing up.” 

Anyone who has visited a foreign country knows that cultural immersion is a magnificent education and a fast track to self-awareness. With Quah on a mission to conquer the globe one country at a time, no doubt his collegiate adjustment period will soon be behind him. 

He mentions that he is considering double majoring in Linguistics and International Studies as well as attending grad school. “I want to do something in the realm of global culture. Something that lets me experience and do good in the world.”

RAMMI QUAH, CLASS OF 2017

HUMANITIES CONCENTRATION

In support of the school’s mission statement, Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary Humanities Concentration for rising 10th grade students who are passionate about the study of the humanities. Humanities–the branches of learning that investigate human constructs and concerns–are an integral part of a well-rounded education and are part of each Tampa Prep student’s course of study.

The Humanities Concentration goes beyond that threshold and provides select students with a challenging, nurturing and structured program with exposure to high-level course work in both the English and the History departments.

LEARN HOW the Humanities inspired Maureen V. Moore '17

Maureen V. Moore ’17

My time as a Terrapin changed my ability to write and speak. I used to have difficulty with expressing myself clearly. After the countless papers and declamations, translating my thoughts into conversation/paper seems like second nature. I understand the worth of words. Words are incredibly powerful. Not only are they used as a tool for opening doors (in the real world), but also, they are a true measure of the relationships we have in life. Effective communication is what keeps things working and makes it last. For that and many more reasons, I am proud of the education I received at Tampa Prep, because I finally found my voice.

MAUREEN MOORE, CLASS OF 2017

STEM CONCENTRATION

In support of the School’s Mission Statement, Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary STEM Concentration for rising 10th grade students who relish the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The underlying goal is to equip graduating students with a range of experiences that prepare them for further opportunities in these fields, while also completing Tampa Prep’s graduation requirements.

LEARN HOW the STEM Concentration inspired Pedro Lima '14

“Two years in the STEM program at Prep changed my life. A lot. I can’t imagine what three years in the program would’ve done for me!”

Pedro Lima was a junior at the inception of Tampa Prep’s STEM Concentration, which means he missed being one of the first graduates with that recognition by just one year. But true to engineering form, he worked with the parts he had, and built something magical with it.

Lima admits that engineering wasn’t even on his radar until his junior year of high school when he learned about robotics. “My first taste of engineering was being on the robotics team,” he says. “Just being on that team with other people . . . that collaboration factor drew me in really quickly.” From there he learned about applied mathematics and applied sciences, “which is now what I really enjoy doing,” he says.

With just two years of STEM-focused studies with instructor KK Quah, Lima was accepted into Carnegie Mellon University’s engineering program. “I entered CMU as a freshman clear on my decision to be an electrical and computer engineering major,” says Lima. “Doing STEM with KK (Quah) helped me decide that before I ever stepped foot on campus.”

Lima chose electrical engineering as a path because of the spread that exists within the major. “There are a lot of things you can do within that degree,” he says. “It’s a lot of hands-on work that is electrical-related, computers, and thinking. A lot of thinking.”

During the summers, Lima has been working–and thinking–at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, CA, realizing a lifelong dream.

“It has been a dream of mine to work for Disney since I was a little kid,” he says. “I thought I wanted to be on the creative side, but after being in engineering courses I discovered I wanted to be on more of the technical side.” So Lima has spent the past summer as a software engineer at Imagineering, testing design and implementation of software for ride systems. It’s a job he hopes will become full time when he completes his masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, which he begins at Carnegie Mellon in spring of 2019.

Though Lima and his fellow classmates in the Class of 2014 weren’t able to complete the STEM Concentration, they all wish they could have. “Two years in the STEM program at Prep changed my life. A lot. I can’t imagine what three years in the program would’ve done for me!”

PEDRO LIMA, CLASS OF 2014