August 23, 2023

Umatilla High School AICE Program A Massive Success!

6 min read| Published On: August 23rd, 2023|

By Kyle Coppola

Umatilla High School AICE Program A Massive Success!

6 min read| Published On: August 23rd, 2023|

Umatilla High School’s AICE program has been a roaring success as the school continues to improve their academics year after year. Principal Brent Fraizer has worked incredibly hard with his team of faculty and with students to change a lot of the former narrative on Umatilla High School. They are succeeding in so many ways. This year was a trumendous success for the AICE Program.

What is the AICE Program?

Simply put, AICE stands for (Advanced International Certificate of Education) which is a Cambridge University program that allows students to take rigorous courses as well as course examinations that give them the opportunity to earn college credits (up to 45 credits) similar to AP – and ultimately to earn the AICE diploma.

AICE Diploma Recipients from left to right: Hunter Semento Karen Locke Emalee Duncan David Logan Alexandra Clow Gracelyn Roach Lauryn Bischoff Katie Jenkins Natalie Strem Camryn Bowcott Brandi Rigdon Jetta Davis Adam Norton (Not Pictured: Alexander Dusold)

Students who earn the AICE diploma (earning course credits with passed examinations in 7 courses in the categories of math/science, language, humanities/arts, and global perspectives and research) earn the 100% Florida Bright Futures Scholarship.

Can anyone join the program?

Yes, anyone can join the program! Ben Nash one of the teachers in the program says “Our Philosophy is to provide the very best opportunities for every student we are privileged to encounter. We believe that every child can learn and achieve at the highest levels when pushed to their potential. Our Cambridge classes are open access, providing opportunity for all students who are willing to put forth effort towards a more rigorous curriculum and the possibility of college credits. We hold to the ideal that if you can dream it, and believe it, you can achieve it!”

The program has been a massive success!

When the school first started the program about 3 years ago, only 24 kids tested in 2 subjects for a total of 48 total tests. That group had an 83% pass rate. This group of kids ended up calling themselves the “Guinea Pigs.”

(Students working together in European History AS Level.)

Eventually in year two, Umatilla High School expanded to 6 possible courses over 2 grade levels, giving 359 tests. (208 students passed fora 58% pass rate.)

In year three which includes the 2022 and 2023 school year, UHS expanded to 11 courses over 3 grade levels, giving 588 tests. (357 students passed the tests, for a 60% pass rate.)

During the 2023-2024 school year UHS is projecting between 750-800 tests taken this year, given to students across all grade levels. This is tremendous growth, and we are so excited for the Umatilla High School students who will be a part of this program!

(Umatilla HS students had a Cambridge college visit to UCF this past February.)

This year alone $228,123 dollars were earned towards college tuition by AICE tests passed. $408,960 in Bright Future Scholarship money was earned on top of that! That is more than a half-million dollars earned because of the AICE tests.

Meet Ben Nash: AICE Coordinator

(Umatilla High School teacher Ben Nash is the AICE Coordinator.)

Ben Nash is the AICE Coordinator. This is his 2nd year in this position. Nash is such a positive influence and when talking to him you can hear the excitement in his voice when these kids are given hope and a chance to excel.

Nash says “Positivity from kids is off the charts! We had the privilege of sharing results with students on August 10th, 2023, and there is nothing better than the reaction of students after they realize they have earned the Bright Futures Scholarship… or after they realize they have earned a college credit by passing a test they never thought they could. The smiles are amazing!”

Principal Brent Fraizer thoughts on the program

(Principal Brent Frazier)

Principal Fraizer says “The growth and success of the Cambridge program at UHS is unlike anything I have experienced in my 22 years in this profession. In just three short years, we have witnessed a cultural shift in the behavior and mindsets of our students. They are grasping the concept that hard work and sacrifice yield results. With every achievement, their confidence grows. I couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments!”

What do students think about the AICE Program?

Hunter Semento a Senior, AICE Diploma with Merit says “Cambridge has helped me create so many bonds with teachers and friends, while also preparing me for college in ways my other classes cannot.”

(Students working together in English Language A Level.)

Natalie Strem a Senior, AICE Diploma with Merit said “AICE has benefited me in a myriad of ways. I feel confident going into my college classes knowing that I can properly write and prepare for tests. My classes have also taught me the value of hard work.”

Gracelyn Roach a Junior, AICE Diploma with Merit says “AICE created a small group of students who study, cry, laugh, and succeed together. This sense of community encouraged and strengthened us through the stress and burn-out that comes with the preparation for these tests.

(Gracelyn Roach is a Umatilla High student athlete. She competes on the girls swimming team and is actually a triplet. Her brothers Nathan and Seth Roach play football for MDCA. Gracelyn is paving the way, showing that student athletes can also make time for AICE Courses.)

AICE has provided many academic opportunities I would never have dreamed of. Bright Futures as well as graduating with an AA are hard to secure, but thanks to AICE I have the opportunity to graduate with both.

In truth, I wouldn’t have done as well on my tests if it weren’t for the teachers. All my AICE teachers went the extra mile to answer questions, create study guides, and prepare us for the stress of almost a month of tests. As a group, we would never have succeeded without them.”

What is the best feeling as an educator?

(Don Dickson teaches AICE English Language and General Paper.)

Don Dickson who teaches AICE English Language and General Paper had this to say about the program “I love the program and the curriculum, but I especially love seeing what it is doing for the students – the college credits, the scholarships, but maybe more than anything else their growth as young adults. Seeing their reactions when all their hard work pays off… That’s the best feeling you can have as an educator.”

AICE Coordinator Ben Nash sums it all up

“We have a great group of teachers who have been trained by Cambridge and have led the shift in the culture at UHS. They have not only transitioned to a new and very rigorous curriculum, but they are purposely fostering the Cambridge learner attributes in all our students. What is happening in our classrooms is leading to student success.”

This is exactly the program Umatilla High School needed

Umatilla High School is doing amazing things with this program. Being a college graduate myself with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. I know the value of what education such as these classes can bring. The opportunities that exist for the students willing to go the extra mile are endless.

(Student presenting in Global Perspectives and Research.)

AP and Cambridge styled courses are no picnic. They are challenging classes that take many hours to complete. But the payoff at the end as Ben Nash, Don Dickson and Principal Fraizer have all stated is the reason these kids do it. I encourage kids to take these classes. Even if you think you can’t, all you have to do is give it a try.

I think we should all give major credit to Principal Fraizer. Umatilla High School needs this. Now more than ever it warms my heart to see these students being given a guiding light. To see their eyes opening to the possibilities that can exist from education, it’s one of the best feelings you can have. I hope this program continues to grow and I want to send a special shout out to Ben Nash for reaching out to Lake & Sumter Style about this program. Thank you to the entire AICE staff for what you are doing for the children of our community! At the end of the day, the children in these programs are the most important part of our future.

If you have a program at your school that you think is helping our youth, feel free to message us on our Facebook page or email us at

Photos Provided By:

Ben Nash

Don Dickson

Umatilla High School

Leave A Comment

About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

Share This Story!

Never miss an issue,  Sign up for the Style Newletter!