Tradition and Innovation Blend at Florida Prep – Focused On Future, But Rooted In a Proud Past
By Space Coast Daily // July 19, 2017
family-oriented school creates unique atmosphere
ABOVE VIDEO: With a focus on the future but rooted in a proud past, Florida Preparatory Academy has found the perfect recipe for shaping the minds and bodies of the leaders of tomorrow.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – With a focus on the future but rooted in a proud past, Florida Preparatory Academy has found the perfect recipe for shaping the minds and bodies of the leaders of tomorrow.
Celebrating its 56th year, the Melbourne preparatory school attracts students from throughout the United States and 23 countries around the world.
Parents who want the best for their children realize in Florida Prep they have found the perfect combination of challenging academic curriculum embedded within a culture that holds students to high standards of personal responsibility within the structure of a supportive, family atmosphere.
Florida Prep has always been a “family” school, thanks to the Dwights, whose patriarch, Jonathan Dwight, in 1961 launched his vision for a military-style college preparatory school for young men. Dwight and his wife, Emmy, lived on campus and raised their children there.
One of their sons, James, is the current president. Among the roster of graduates are two of the Dwight’s grandchildren and two more “grands” are current students. The Dwights’ continuing connection with the school separates it from other preparatory schools run by boards who may not be as personally invested in the success of their graduates as the Dwights are.
“The fact that Florida Preparatory Academy has been a family-oriented school from day one creates a unique atmosphere that pervades all aspects of school life,” said James Dwight.
The school has successfully evolved from a military academy to a highly regarded college preparatory institution that embraces young men and women from diverse backgrounds. Florida Prep accepts boys and girls in fifth through 12th grades as day students or five or seven-days-a-week boarders.
Whether the child is struggling academically or is looking for academic challenge, Florida Prep’s individualized curriculum promotes success. Students’ class work issues benefit from free after-school teacher help, an academic assistance program, private tutoring and mandatory nightly study halls for boarding students.
SAT Preparation courses are offered each semester to provide students with ample opportunity to prepare for and improve their scores on this critically important test.
Florida Preparatory Academy has achieved 100 percent college acceptance since 1978, and its students have earned millions of dollars in scholarships from some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world.
The deep feeling of family found within the school provides a support net to help students test their wings without fear of falling, because they know their Florida Prep family is always there for them with support and encouragement.
Fifteen percent of the faculty live on the school grounds and almost all staff members send their own children to Florida Prep. Faculty and staff get to know each student personally.
Small class sizes for the school’s intellectually challenging academic program promotes curiosity and learning to reveal each student’s intellectual strengths, interests and passions.
Florida Preparatory Academy also has a sterling reputation in sports, both in junior and senior high school, with a wide range of teams and activities.
For families who wish for their students to take advantage of the leadership, citizenship, service and self-discipline opportunities found in a military experience, Florida Prep continues its Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training unit, or AFJROTC, on campus.
The unit, formally established in 1964, has been honored as a Founding Unit from AFJROTC Command and has been successful since its inception.
“The mood in the country was not always favorable to the military, yet Florida Air Academy (FAA) experienced exponential growth in 1964, culminating in the opening of a new academic building and science lab,” said current unit commander Lt. Col. Dean Fitzgerald (retired).
“The school’s model, based upon the then recently established Air Force Academy in Colorado, was a hit with young men and their parents from numerous countries around the world.”
Over the years, FAA Unit FL-032 has grown to become one of the top 100 AFJROTC units in the USA, having won the Distinguished Unit award numerous times, along with the award for Community Excellence. In 2005, the unit added female cadets.
The unit has always stayed true to its mission to “develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.” In the coming academic year, Florida Prep’s AFJROTC will add to this heritage of service through an innovative program that will accept homeschooled boys and girls in grades nine to 12. Students will be eligible for academic credit.
“It’s a first in the area and we are very excited to launch this opportunity to the homeschool community,” said Fitzgerald.
“Homeschool students will be joining one of the premier units in the country, and will undertake the same classes and activities as their Florida Prep peers.”
Registration for the new AFJROTC program is currently open. Admission will be via a short applicant and interview. Interested families should contact Lt. Col. Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also new for the 2017-2018 academic year is a program expected to gather considerable interest, the Florida Prep Surfers, a unique physical education credit elective offer to high school students of the Academy.
The Academy’s location, just two miles from the ocean and at the epicenter of the Surfing Capital of the East Coast, home to surf legends Kelly Slater, the Hobgood brothers and Ron Jon Surf Shop, is perfect for this elective, which will be overseen by former worldwide surfer and physical education instructor Mike Lynch.
“It’s a formal class, not an opportunity to head to the beach,” said Lynch.
“We have high expectations and students will be graded accordingly. Prior to students’ acceptance, they will be required to pass an ocean swim test and also a paddle test to demonstrate their control of a surfboard and their physical fitness on the water. The tests are tough for a reason. Surfers are required to be confident in the water and physically capable of remaining in the ocean for extended periods of time.”
Local surfing pros will be invited to join the Florida Prep students both on the water and during class time to discuss and demonstrate technique and provide counseling. It is my hope Florida Prep surfers will achieve a level of competency that will enable them to compete at local contests,” said Lynch.
Students and parents interested in the surfing elective should contact Lynch at email@example.com for more details.
With its rich past and its innovative approach, Florida Prep develops young men and women of academic ability, curiosity and integrity, individuals well prepared for the leadership roles they will undoubtedly assume in the future.
For more on Florida Preparatory Academy, call 321-723-3211 or visit flprep.com
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