Lake Mary Life: Lake Mary Prep

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WHEN LAKE MARY PREPARATORY SCHOOL CELEBRATED THE graduation of 175 students in May, the assembled parents weren’t the only ones with tears in their eyes. Graduation is always a happy triumph for the faculty and staff, too, who helped the class of 2012 secure more than $2.5 million in college scholarships.

Long before they walk across the commencement stage to receive their diplomas, Lake Mary Prep students sit down with their counselors as early as middle school and discuss all aspects of their college plan. Attracting students from as far away as Mount Dora, Waterford Lakes, DeLand, DeBary, and New Smyrna Beach, Lake Mary Prep is no ordinary school.

Established in 1999, Lake Mary Prep boasts a modern approach to teaching and learning. The school incorporates material into its curriculum with the sole purpose of enriching students’ minds and preparing them for college.

What sets these students apart from others is that, from pre-K to 12th grade, students at Lake Mary Prep are taught to think critically. “It’s not just about the memorization of words,” explains Jennifer Clary-Grundorf, director of admissions, “but understanding why something is the way that it is.”

How many children do you know who love to ask why? From basic math all the way to calculus and statistics, Lake Mary Prep implements Singapore math strategies in order to nurture and not neglect this innate need to know why things are the way they are.

“Children understand numbers so much better through Singapore Math,” Jennifer says. “They’re not just learning that 2+2=4. They’re understanding how the numbers work the way work and discovering exactly why 2+2=4.” The results speak for themselves. Lake Mary Prep students have scored much higher on tests after learning Singapore math.

The commitment to excellence does not end at academics. Lake Mary Prep also has an impressive athletic program. Lake Mary Prep’s own golf phenom, Shun Yat “Jason” Hak, was recognized by ESPN as one of the “Elite Eight” young athletes destined for greatness. ESPN said that Jason’s extraordinary skills on the course have made him the clear-cut top amateur in the United States

Also, Abby Hani was recognized for being the first young woman from Central Florida to win four gold medals at a Class 1A state track meet. (Please see page 133 for more information on Abby.) Lake Mary Prep offers athletic program to students in grades 6-12. The school currently has 33 teams in 13 different sports. Academics, sports, arts, and community service are just a few of the key elements of Lake Mary Prep that are integrated within its international reputation for achievement.

In 2007, Lake Mary Prep joined the Meritas Family of Schools, an educational organization with 10 private and boarding sister schools all over the world. The Meritas advantage has allowed Lake Mary Prep students to expand their cultural horizons through international exchange programs offered around the globe.

“Each Meritas School is individualized to its geographic location, but we share the same core values. Meritas gives us the opportunity to be worldly,” Jennifer adds.

Every year Meritas students from all over the world come to Orlando to compete in the Meritas Games, a multi-sport tournament for middle-school students. Since the relationship with Meritas has given Lake Mary Prep an opportunity to become part of a global learning environment for students, the school has adopted new technology in order to allow students to interact with each other. Recently, second graders at Lake Mary Prep participated in a biodiversity project in which they debated about certain topics via Sharepoint (video conferencing) with other Meritas students in Arizona. Similar projects take place throughout the different grade levels and reach out to all Meritas schools across the globe.

“It is a very unique and exciting experience for our students,” Jennifer says. “It helps them engage and makes them excited about learning. They also enjoy making new friends while working with their sister schools.”

Videoconferencing is just the beginning of Lake Mary Prep’s technological advantage. The schools has recently announced that it will be an entirely Apple-based campus, and the school will be investing in state-of-the-art Mac Pros to ensure students have the latest technology right at their fingertips. In addition, iPad carts will be available to allow children to use the tablet computers at school and check them out as needed.

By next year Lake Mary Prep will have Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) for every student pre-K-through-12 in order to ensure that all children are personally and professionally set up for success when the time does eventually come to receive their high-school diplomas.

“We do everything we can to give our students the tools they need to excel,” Jennifer says.

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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