MSD students share their thoughts on attending the same high school as older family members


Jasmine Bhogaita

Freshman Coleman Campanella (right) carries on his family legacy by attending MSD 27 years after his father, Dan Campanella (left), did. Dan graduated in 1996 while Coleman will be graduating in 2026.

Jasmine Bhogaita, News Editor

Class changes to courtyards. Hallways to homecoming. Much has changed over the last 30 years since the founding of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Despite the ups and downs of the last three decades, the purpose of high school has remained the same: educate the next generation.

MSD first opened its doors for students on Aug. 27, 1990 after the growing population in Coral Springs and Parkland created the need for a new high school. Freshman, sophomore and junior students at neighboring schools zoned for MSD transferred to the new school; the first senior class graduated in 1992.

Dan Campanella was among one of the first graduating classes at MSD, graduating 27 years ago in 1996. Now, his son, Coleman Campanella, is in his freshman year of high school.

Throughout his high school career, Dan was an active member of MSD Wrestling. He joined the team as a freshman and quickly gained attention for his athletic talents, becoming a starter for the varsity squad. During his senior year, he placed second in the state of Florida in the 6-A division for his weight group. After his graduation, Dan briefly returned to MSD as a volunteer assistant coach for the wrestling team. He currently works as a mortgage market manager.

Despite their age difference, the father and son share a common love for sports. Coleman plays for the MSD football team, which he plans on continuing for the rest of his time in high school. In his free time, Coleman enjoys fishing with his dad and younger brother and playing video games.

Though Dan has been out of school for many years, he still reminisces about his high school experiences.

“I miss [then] Principal Arculeo and my wrestling team,” Dan said. “I’m glad that [Coleman] gets to attend a school that is close to home and is rated highly.”

Most of Dan’s old teachers have retired since his high school days, so Coleman does not receive advice about specific teachers his dad once had. However, Coleman believes that since his father went to MSD, he is at an advantage in his education.

“I can take comfort in the knowledge that if I don’t know something about a teacher [or class] I can ask him,” Coleman said.

The adjustment to high school can be tricky for some. Having already gone through Grades 9-12 at the same place, Dan had some advice to offer Coleman and other high school students.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things,” Dan said. “High school is one of the best times in your life, so make sure you take everything it has to offer. But don’t forget to stop and smell the roses sometimes.”
Freshman Jasmine Amaya also has familial ties to MSD. Her older sister, Melissa Amaya, graduated in 2013.

Melissa was a part of MSD’s marching band, the Eagle Regiment, where she played the clarinet and made many close friends throughout the marching season. Melissa graduated from Florida Atlantic University and majored in finance. Currently, she works for the accounting department of a company in Plantation, Florida.

Jasmine also shares the same musical gene as Melissa, as she currently plays the trumpet in her band class. She hopes to follow in her sister’s footsteps to join the Eagle Regiment and become a band section leader. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys baking and playing her trumpet.

Though the sisters lead busy lives and do not see each other often, their common interests provide a bond that allows them to connect with one another.

“Even though Melissa is older than me, I think it is cool that we have things in common, like band, that we can talk about,” Jasmine said. “When we hang out, we enjoy watching movies together.”

Though it has only been 10 years since Melissa graduated, there have been apparent changes within the MSD community. For example, when she attended, there was no block schedule. Block scheduling is a system of dividing classes into two days, with four 90-minute classes each day. At MSD, the two days are referred to as Silver and Burgundy days. Before the 2017-2018 school year, students attended all eight periods for 50 minutes each. After a vote was conducted by teachers, a decision was made to implement the block schedule.
There was also a less strict security policy at MSD years ago. Photo IDs were not required to be on campus and additional bags were not checked at gate entryways. Despite these differences, there are things that have not changed over the last decade.

“The inclusiveness of MSD has stayed the same,” Melissa said. “It’s really great that there’s still a place for everyone at this school.”

Sharing a bond over attending the same high school and common interests, Melissa is able to offer some advice about high school to her younger sister and other students.

“Always try your best in school,” Melissa said. “It’s important to take it seriously, so find time to study. Also, make friends [with a positive influence].”

Students who roam the same school halls their family members once did may have a more enriching educational experience. Having a family member who also attended the same school as a student may make one’s high school experience more exciting and useful, helping the student learn from and bond with their family member. Though several things have changed at MSD over the last decade, the school continues to teach a new generation of students in an inclusive environment.