One year after 6-year-old King Carter’s life ended in tragedy, a mystery donor has pledged $1 million to pay for a new academic center in Northwest Miami-Dade to give other kids opportunities King never got to experience.
On Wednesday, the Miami-Dade school district announced the anonymous donation, which will be used to support the King Carter Academy of Trade & Logistics at Miami Northwestern Senior High, a hands-on program that will prepare students for careers in a growing industry.
The donation will also pay for the expansion of an existing trade and logistics program at Miami Central Senior High, the school King likely would have attended had he not been struck by a stray bullet in February 2016 while on his way to buy candy in his Northwest Miami-Dade apartment complex.
“I’m thankful and I’m very blessed that we could reach out to other kids and let them have an opportunity that my child didn’t because his life was cut,” said King’s mother, Monica Smith. “He didn’t even finish first grade.”
“What we know is that engaged kids are successful kids,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “Idle kids fall prey to danger.”
When it opens in August, the academy will combine internships and other hands-on training with core academic classes, preparing graduates for entry-level jobs in trade and logistics. International trade supports more than 100,000 jobs in Miami-Dade County, and trade and logistics is a growing industry fueled in part by PortMiami and Miami International Airport.
But the number of qualified employees hasn’t kept up with the demand for jobs, and trade and logistics companies in Miami often struggle to find workers with the right skill set, according to a report from JPMorgan Chase. The recent designation of the 79th Street Corridor as a foreign trade zone — among the first nationwide in an economically disadvantaged urban area — will likely increase the need for skilled employees. Northwestern High and Central High are the closest public high schools to the 79th Street Corridor.
The donor has insisted on anonymity, the school district said. It’s unclear whether the donor has a personal connection to Northwestern Senior High or King Carter’s family. The donation will come in two chunks — $700,000 in the next few weeks and $300,000 later on.
King was killed on Feb. 20, 2016, when three teens who police say had gotten into an argument on Facebook started firing outside the Blue Lake Village apartments at Northwest 103rd Lane and 12th Avenue. King was struck in the chest. Tamar Teems, 17, Irwen Pressley, 19, and Leonard Adams, 19, have been charged with second-degree murder.
“We will never forget that day, but we must always remember the memory of King Carter,” Carvalho said. “And what better way than connecting King Carter’s name to schools in our neighborhood, schools that perhaps he would have attended, schools that perhaps he would have thrived in.”
Miami Herald staff writer Chabeli Herrera contributed to this report.