By Tamas Mondovics

Students at Durant High School are enjoying the spotlight thanks to their hard work and diligence as well as the school’s exemplary focus on its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, (STEM) program.

According to Hillsborough County Public Schools officials, many of Durant’s successful STEM students have chosen this year to apply to, and have been accepted at Florida’s newest university, Florida Polytechnic University (Polytech), near Lakeland. 

Over the past few years, STEM education options have taken center stage both locally and nationwide, prompting the Durant administration to make sure its student body did not lag behind.

Not only were the school’s Communications Technology I, II, III, and IV classes filled each semester, but Durant’s AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry and Physics Honors classes, Web and Digital Design, and the Academy of Information Technology classes also were and continue to be highly sought after by students who officials said “have a flair for technology and do well with a hands-on approach to learning.” 

“My students should be able to find answers on their own,” said Durant High School ESE and Communications Technology program teacher Gail Jayson in a recent press release. “They need to appreciate and value becoming adult learners, and they need to realize that smart people do not have all the answers, but they know where to find them.”  

Jayson has reportedly seen a definite upward movement of students who see the value and pleasure of learning in a hands-on, applied technology environment.

Looking forward to attending Polytech, Durant senior Emily Stitt explained the reason for her choice when she said, “I really like the non-traditional classes and classrooms, and they are one of the few schools that offers the field in which I want to major, which is nanotechnology or nano-engineering.” 

Tyler Francis, also a senior with a very specific major of electrodynamics, is also eager to learn in what he calls a “small, focused classroom” setting, coupled with Polytech’s intense, academic culture.

The university’s website is clear on its mission, which states, “Prepare 21st century learners in advanced fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to become innovative problem-solvers and high-tech professionals through interdisciplinary teaching, leading-edge research and collaborative local, regional and global partnerships.”  

Visit and

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