Harry Potter Vibe at Florida Prep Features House System That Builds Character, Celebrates Rich History
By Space Coast Daily // October 20, 2019
houses named after astronauts Winston Scott, Christine Koch, Thomas Stafford and Virgil Grissom
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BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – There is a bit of a Harry Potter vibe at Florida Preparatory Academy this year. No, students won’t be brandishing wands or communicating via owl mail, but they will be channeling the commendable team spirit found in the J.K. Rowling novels to further enhance their educational experience.
The 2019-2020 academic year at the premier private school in Melbourne has brought many exciting changes, including the institution of a “house system” with mascots such as the kraken and the griffin, mythical creatures that would feel right at home at Hogwart’s.
The brainchild of Florida Prep dean of students Jay Gideon, the school’s new house system cleverly wraps team and character-building goals in a package of fun that also simultaneously celebrates the institution’s rich history.
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“We wanted to further enhance our structure and pay homage to our past,” said Safiyah Dinally, director of admissions.
The entire student body, boarders and day students alike, are assigned to one of four houses named after astronauts Winston Scott, Christine Koch, Thomas Stafford and Virgil Grissom.
“Every time a rocket launches at the Cape, our student body goes out to watch and they’re always so awed, whether they’re from Brevard or from other places around the world, so we opted for the space theme for the house names,” added Dinally.
A sponsor from different aspects of the school’s administration serves as the heads of each house, guiding, encouraging and overseeing all aspects of house activities. For example, Dinally sponsors Grissom House.
Student assignment to the houses is not a random affair, but rather a careful selection.
“We put a lot of thought into how the houses are divided,” explained Dinally. “We wanted a cross-section of our student body in each of them.”
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Guiding each house are a house captain selected from the senior class and a vice-captain chosen from among the current juniors.
Both are selected by the sponsors. Together with the house sponsor, the captain and co-captain conduct meetings, organize activities and update members.
The houses are assigned a specific physical zone within the campus, and students are expected to take pride in maintaining the area in tip-top shape visually.
“Each house has responsibility over that zone,” added Dinally.
Grissom House, as befits a house sponsored by the director of admissions, is all about the school’s curb appeal.
“We’re in charge of the zone everyone who visits the school first sees,” said Dinally.
Grissom House’s official house flower, the odd-sounding but pretty spider wart, will be in abundance at the entrance to Florida Prep to add visual appeal.
At the heart of the house system are House Points and the special event known as the House Cup.
The accumulation of House Points during the year and through performance during House Cups add friendly and healthy competition while promoting values and skills that encourage a higher level of achievement.
Students in each house are awarded points for academic achievements such as taking dual enrollment and honors courses, being in the President’s List and enrolling in academic clubs.
Conversely, students are deducted points for conduct that is not appropriate or for being in academic restriction when a grades slip below a “C.”
“Academic restriction is not a punishment, but rather a reminder that they need to step up their game,” said Dinally.
Students also earn points for athletics and service to the community through volunteer efforts at nonprofits, including Habitat for Humanity, Daily Bread and Florida Wildlife Hospital.
House Cups, held each semester, allow for additional points through competition in diverse events that include everything from traditional field day games to group problem solving, debates and talent showcases.
“Everyone is involved,” said Dinally.
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House points will be displayed in the Hall of Flags, which also celebrates the school’s impressive diversity with a display of flags representing the many countries of origin of the student body.
At the conclusion of each House Cup, the house with the leading points will be recognized and its colors flown in the Hall of Flags.
Each House Cup win will be accompanied by celebrations that include a special luncheon, and at the end of the school year, the top-scoring house will be honored during the final assembly for the season.
Through the house system, Florida Prep aims to promote mental and physical fitness and increase academic competitiveness and community awareness.
“We’re building a strong foundation,” said Dinally.
The 12-acre campus of Florida Preparatory Academy is at 1950 Academy Dr., Melbourne. For further information, call 321-723-3211 or CLICK HERE to learn more about Florida Preparatory Academy.