line was around the block,” Gray said.
From that first year, newborn babies were added to the
waiting list for LPA.
In the 1990s, soon after Rachel Cuccurullo and her family
moved to Port St. Lucie from Hollywood when she was 5, her
parents applied for her to attend LPA. She stayed on that wait
list for 10 years before she got what she called her golden ticket
in the mail telling her she has been accepted as a 10th grader.
She said her long wait was typical among her friends. But
by the time she was accepted she had set her student life up
at Centennial High School in Port St. Lucie and declined. She
was in the Centennial Class of 2007.
FRIENDLY, FAIR AND FIRM
John Lynch joined the LPA faculty in 1986, the second academic
year it was a magnet, stayed 15 years, and was named
St. Lucie County Teacher of the year in 1998. Lynch said, “We
had a solid group of teachers at Lincoln Park. Exceedingly
good teachers. We built good relationships with the kids and
good relations with our colleagues.”
He said his approach was like that of many of his colleagues
at Lincoln Park: friendly, fair and firm.
Lambertson’s efforts at Lincoln Park were hailed in 1991
when she was one of 10 named an American Hero in Education
by Reader’s Digest.
Each year that first class of eighth graders continued as
LPA added a higher level each year and by the 1989-1990
school year, it had all four high school grades. It graduated its
first class in 1990, 84% of whom went on to college.
WE DO RIGHT…
The mere fact that parents choose to send their children to
LPA means that they are likely be higher achieving than those
at more conventional middle and high schools. But the advanced
classes that were once unique to LPA are now offered
at other county high schools, allowing them to draw students
from throughout the county to their schools. The waiting list
is not as long these days but parents still register newborns
for a chance to be a Greyhound, said Henry Sanabria, LPA’s
principal since 2014.
LPA’s graduation rate is more than 99% and, because the
state rounds up, is officially 100%. Most of its students are
still high-achievers and college-bound.
Two are Alexandra Watson and Caitlyn Difilippo, both
juniors who got into LPA as sixth graders because they were
During a panel discussion on the centennial of LPA at the recent Treasure
Coast History Festival, principal Henry Sanabria vowed to keep alive the
school’s history and traditions. Sanabria was a police officer in the Air
Force before becoming an educator.
in the program for gifted students. Watson is in the IB program
and is thinking about attending either the University of
Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania or the University of
Florida. Difilippo has her sights on Flagler University.
“What sets us apart is the academics,” Difilippo said.
“And Lincoln Park’s legacy is profound. LPA is definitely a
cut above. Most people in the county know that. It’s purely
statistical. We are always, always No. 1.”
Watson said she chose to go to LPA rather than the school
she is zoned to attend because it gives her the most options
after she gets her high school diploma, and she loves her
The school district decided when LPA began that it would
not have a football program, and while it excels in other
sports, the main one for most high schools is absent.
“I’m not going to lie,” Watson said. “I do miss having a
Their energetic principal, Sanabria, said, “It’s all about
developing culture and maintaining the traditions. You have
to change with the times but you don’t change to the point
where you forget your traditions. The tradition of excellence
had always been maintained, and the culture is what keeps
that going. The school motto says it all.”
That motto was created by the students who moved in 1953
to the new LPA on 17th Street from the old one on 13th Street
and were subjected to frequent admonishments from faculty
not to mess up the new place.
The original motto was “No One Has To Tell Us What To
Do. We Do Right Because It Is Right To Do Right.” Over time,
the first sentence of the motto was dropped.
No One Has To Tell
Us What To Do. We Do
Right Because It Is Right
To Do Right.
— LPA motto