Ransom Everglades School

Ransom Everglades is an independent, non-profit, co-educational, college-preparatory day school serving grades six to twelve in Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida. It formed with the merger in 1974 of the Everglades School for Girls and the Ransom School for Boys.[2] It's described as a college preparatory school and 100% of Ransom Everglades' students attend a four-year institution after graduation.[3]

Ransom Everglades School
3575 Main Highway

MottoHonor and Excellence
FounderPaul C. Ransom &
Marie B. Swenson.
StatusIn business
Head of schoolPenny Townsend
Age range11-19
Enrollment1084 (2016–17)
Average class size14.3
CampusesRansom Campus (Upper School), Everglades Campus (Middle School)
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Hunter Green and Carolina Blue
AthleticsFootball, Sailing, Crew, Water Polo, Swimming, Cross Country, Track & Field, Lacrosse, Tennis, Baseball, Softball, Wrestling, Basketball, Volleyball, Golf, Soccer,
Team nameRaider
RivalGulliver Preparatory School
PublicationThe Dell & Cannon
NewspaperThe Catalyst
Tuition$38,400; includes lunch (2018-2019)[1]

Admission to the school is selective and tuition costs $38,400 per year (2018–19). Tuition includes lunch and most fees except for books.[4] A significant, need-based financial aid program is available. Graduating classes each year range between 150 and 160 students. All students matriculate to four year universities; typically, more than 85% of graduating students continue on to out-of-state colleges and universities.

Ransom Everglades is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (AdvancED). Membership is held in the Southern and National Associations for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Independent Schools, the College Entrance Examination Board, the Enrollment Management Association, the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, the Global Online Academy, the Mastery Transcript Consortium, and the Independent Curriculum Group, among other educational organizations. The school appeared as the #1 Private High School in Florida in the 2018 Niche rankings.[5]


Paul C. Ransom, an educator and New York lawyer, opened Pine Knot Camp in 1896 as a school for boys in Coconut Grove. In 1902 he combined that with a campus in the Adirondacks of New York to create the Adirondack-Florida School, the first migratory boarding school. Ransom emphasized a curriculum based on experiential learning. Students attended classes on the Florida campus in the winter and on the New York campus in fall and spring.[6][7] The school suspended operations during World War II. After the war the school reopened in 1947. In 1949 the Adirondack campus was shut down and the school continued in Coconut Grove as the Ransom School for Boys.[8][9] Ransom School changed from a boarding to a day school in 1972.[10] Its counterpart, the Everglades School for Girls, began in 1955 founded by Marie B. Swenson.[11] The schools merged and took its current name in 1974.

The school continues to be influenced and guided by the values of its founders. Ransom's letter to prospective students, stating an interest only in boys who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it" is read to the students at the beginning of the year by the Head of School.[12]

Meanwhile, inspired by the philosophy of Marie B. Swenson, who opened the Everglades School for Girls to all students, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity, the school today values a diverse community of learners. According to the school profile, 50% of students hail from multicultural backgrounds and more than 20% speak a language other than English at home.[13] A financial aid program is able to meet the demonstrated need of all qualified students once they are admitted.[14]

Ransom Everglades has longstanding community partnerships with Breakthrough Miami,[15] St. Alban's Child Enrichment Center, Booker T. Washington High School,[16] ARC of South Florida,[17] MUVE and the Reclamation Project,[18] and many other community organizations. After a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, students at Ransom Everglades raised almost $30,000 which they donated to relief efforts in that country.[19]


The school occupies two campuses. The "Upper School" (Ransom Campus) serves grades nine through twelve and is located on Main Highway on the shore of Biscayne Bay, the site of the original Pine Knot Camp. This makes it the oldest South Florida school still in its original location.[7] The original site of the Everglades School for Girls is now the "Middle School" campus (Everglades Campus), serving grades six through eight and located on South Bayshore Drive, about one and a half miles from the Upper School. It is not on the water but is in a residential neighborhood and a mile away from the restaurants and shops of Coconut Grove.

Three early twentieth century buildings still stand on the Ransom campus. The pagoda was built in 1902.[20] It was once the whole school—the place where the original students both learned and lived. Now, the building serves as the Head of School's office, an event and study space, and faculty offices. It's often featured in historic pictures of South Miami, and in 1973 was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[2][7][21] Like the Pagoda, the "Ransom Cottage" is constructed from local materials, largely Dade County pine, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1906, the cottage has been used as the infirmary, the Headmaster's residence, and the band room. Restored in 1998, now the cottage is a conference room and meeting space.[22] In June 2016, Ransom Everglades acquired the La Brisa property adjacent to the Ransom Campus. The 6.9 acre campus includes a restored 1920s home that sits 23 feet above sea level.[23] According to Penny Townsend, the Head of School, the acquisition of the campus will allow the school to "improve our facilities, add vital greenspace and continue our long tradition of respecting, protecting and learning from the treasures of Old Florida and Miami’s precious coastal ecosystems.”[24]

Both Campuses are featured in the 1998 movie Wild Things.


The school offers more than 20 Advanced Placement courses each year, and typically 90% or more of the 900+ AP exams taken each year result in a score of 3 or better.[25] In the Fall of 2018, 16 Ransom Everglades seniors were named National Merit Semi-Finalists.[26]


The school has a comprehensive athletic program with over 70 teams among 18 interscholastic sports.[27] Ransom Everglades has fielded state championship teams in recent years in Water Polo (2014, 2015, 2016),[28] Soccer (2015),[29] Soccer (2016),[30] Tennis (2014, 2018),[31][32] and Volleyball (2013).[33]

Notable alumni


  1. "Tuition & Fees". Ransom Everglades School. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. Klepser (2002) p.59
  3. "Petersons". Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  4. "Tuition and Fees". Ransom Everglades School. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. "Ransom Everglades School Rankings". Niche.com. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  6. Klepser (2002) p.58
  7. Parks and Munroe (2004) p. 131
  8. Klepser (2002) p. 59
  9. Blanc (1979) pp. 58-59 and p. 84.
  10. Blanc (1979) p. 95.
  11. Lovejoy (1969) p.41
  12. "Ransom Everglades School - History". Ransom Everglades School. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  13. "Ransom Everglades School Profile" (PDF). Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  14. "Ransom Everglades School - Tuition and Financial Aid". Ransom Everglades School. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  15. "Breakthrough Miami". Breakthrough Miami - Our Sites. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  16. Odzer, Ari (January 15, 2016). "Exchange Program Allows South Florida Students to Trade Places". 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. NBC 6. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  17. Falco, Tom (November 13, 2013). "Swoop-A-Thon at Ransom to raise funds for The Arc". Coconut Grove Grapevine. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  18. "Reclamation Project - Ransom Everglades School". The Reclamation Project. Xavier Cortada. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  19. "Ransom Everglades Students Applauded For Generosity To Haiti". University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. March 9, 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  20. "City of Miami Planning Department". Miami Historic Sites and Districts. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  21. Historic Preservation Miami web site article on the Ransom School pagoda
  22. Neilsen, Kirk (January 28, 1999). "Cottage Beaten, Held for Ransom". Miami New Times. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  23. Dixon, Lance (June 21, 2016). "Ransom Everglades School buys one of South Florida's most expensive properties". Miami Herald. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  24. Baumgard, Josh. "Ransom Everglades Scoops $40M La Brisa, Coconut Grove's Priciest Listing". Miami Curbed. Vox Media. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  25. "Ransom Everglades - At A Glance". Ransom Everglades School. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  26. "Sixteen RE seniors named National Merit Semifinalists". Ransom Everglades School. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  27. Peterson's (2008) p.482
  28. Stern, Michael (April 16, 2016). "Ransom Everglades girls win third consecutive water polo state title". Miami Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  29. Jackson, Michael (February 11, 2015). "Ransom Everglades wins first boys' soccer state championship". Fake Agency. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  30. Daley, Bill (February 11, 2016). "Ransom Everglades wins first boys' soccer state championship". Miami Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  31. "Ransom Everglades Wins Florida Class A State Championship". DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships. April 24, 2014. Archived from the original on 2017-01-08. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  32. "Ransom Everglades star clinches state singles, doubles titles". The Miami Hereald. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  33. Fernandez, Andre (November 14, 2014). "Ransom Everglades rules state in Class 4A volleyball". Miami Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  34. Blanc (1979) pp. 22.
  35. Liles, (1996) p. 30.
  36. "Ferdinand W. Roebling, Jr". The Roebling Story at the Invention Factory. 2002. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  37. Butch Brickell obituary Archived 2011-01-04 at the Wayback Machine
  38. Historicracing.com biography
  39. Newsbull Jeff Lindsay Interview Archived 2005-02-26 at the Wayback Machine
  40. Daz biography for Mike Malinin Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  41. Official Season 5 So You Think You Can Dance Blog profiling the top 20 contestants Archived 2009-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
  42. My Reality Television article about Jeanine Mason
  43. Ransom-Everglades School. Alumni Directory 1981.
  44. Blanc (1979) p. 42.
  45. "Cardiff University biography for Arlene Sierra". Archived from the original on 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  46. Sridhar bio
  47. The Hindu (January 2004) On the road to success
  48. The Miami Hurricane Youngest Ever Rhodes scholar Prepares for Future
  49. Oxendine Publishing UM student does it all Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  50. Jordi Vilasuso biography at Soapcentral.com
  51. Nee, Eric (2006) Stanford Lawyer Winter 2006 Issue Archived 2007-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
  • Blanc, Giulio, editor. Ransom Everglades; Reflections of a School, 1893-1978. Miami: Banyan Books (1979)
  • Headley, Gwyn (1996) Architectural Follies in America. ISBN 0-471-14362-6
  • Klepser, Carolyn and Arva Moore Parks (2002) Miami Then and Now (Then & Now). Thunder Bay Press, ISBN 1-57145-852-2
  • Liles, Harriet, editor. Miami Diary 1896. (no place, no publisher) (1996)
  • Lovejoy, Clarence Earle (1963) Lovejoy's Prep School Guide
  • Peterson's (2008) Private Secondary Schools 2008. ISBN 0-7689-2399-9
  • Pincus, Laura and Arva Moore Parks. (2003) Honor & Excellence: A Century Of Ransom Everglades School. Centennial Press, ISBN 0-9741589-1-7
  • Parks, Avra Moore and Munroe, Ralph (2004) The Forgotten Frontier: Florida Through the Lens of Ralph Middleton Munroe. ISBN 0-9741589-2-5
  • Plasencia, Alex (2011) "A History of West Coconut Grove from 1925: Slum Clearance, Concrete Monsters, and the Dichotomy of East and West Coconut Grove". Clemson University: Tiger Prints ISBN 1-2490715-7-7

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