School left in darkness after blown transformer


"The Beauty of Power Outage" by Ikhlasul Amal is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Classrooms went dark on Dec. 8 after a school-wide power outage triggered the alarm for students to evacuate the building.

On December 8, school classrooms were left in darkness after a transformer behind the cafeteria blew, leading to a last minute, school-wide early dismissal.

The power went out, triggering the fire alarm to go off and causing students and staff to evacuate the buildings. A lot of students were concerned when the fire alarm went off, given the fact that the school was under a threat of a possible shooting last week. 

“I had a lot of anxiety. It was really scary. When we went downstairs [to evacuate] everyone was freaking out because no one knew what was happening,” senior Natalie Sanchez said. “All the teachers were telling us different things.”

After about 20 minutes of students and administrators waiting in the Florida sun, and no information on what was going on, members of the school were told to go to the football stadium and wait for further instructions.

Some students tried to get shade under the bleachers or walk the track to kill time, as others rushed to get a hold of their parents, all of them left in the dark as to what’s going on. 

After an hour of waiting with no explanation, the school was told to go back to the classrooms and wait for announcements on what to do next. Students and faculty waited inside their second period classes until principal Jimmy Arrojo announced a school-wide early dismissal would soon begin because of a power outage that should be fixed later that day. Florida Power and Light began working to restore power on site.

Later Wednesday evening, parents received a call from Arrojo announcing virtual learning for the next day, as the school waited for FPL to resolve the issue. Arrojo also held a brief faculty meeting on Teams to notify staff. Students were asked to log in Teams for their regular class schedule. Any students needing breakfast or lunch were able to go to any Broward County public school with their school ID to get food. 

Misinformation initially spread about what happened that day to cause the power outage. According to assistant principal Helene Kocis, the transformer behind the cafeteria breaking is what caused the power outage. When the transformer went out, sparks and smoke shot out, causing the fire alarm to go off. 

School resumed in-person on Friday, December 10, but the transformer still hasn’t been fixed. The school’s power is currently running off a generator and it’s uncertain when the transformer will be restored. 

All athletic home events were moved to opposing schools and activities were moved, rescheduled or canceled ahead of Winter Break.