History of Florida Preparatory Academy
In 1925, Ernest Kouwen-Hoven erected the first building on what is now the Florida Preparatory Academy campus. It was a magnificent Spanish Mediterranean-style mansion, complete with authentic Art Deco interior.
He used the mansion as his home for only one year, before selling it in 1926 to A.S. Widrig, who added extra rooms to it and re-named the property "The Lincoln Hotel." In 1957, The Lincoln Hotel was sold to August J. Rimer, the original owner of the Green Bay Packers. He re-named the hotel "The Belcelona."
In 1961, Mr. Rimer sold The Belcelona Hotel to Mr. Jonathan Dwight, an educator and aviation enthusiast from New Jersey. Several months later, with his wife Emmy Dwight, he founded Florida Air Academy, a military-style college preparatory school for young men.
In the fall of 2005, the Academy began accepting female students in both boarding and day capacities. The girls made an excellent contribution to the school and raised the bar academically. There have been five female valedictorians since the school became co-ed.
In 2011 the Academy celebrated its 50th Anniversary year. In 2013, a one-to-one Apple iPad program was implemented as the cornerstone of its focus on 21st Century Learning.
In June of 2015, the Academy became Florida Preparatory Academy (Florida Prep) to more accurately reflect its college preparatory identity. The AFJROTC program has become optional instead of required. The flight program continues and students may study to obtain their private pilot's license. The Academy's emphasis on academics, leadership, character, and preparing students for college and a global business environment continues to be its primary focus.
The fact that the Academy has been family-owned for all of its 56 years creates a unique atmosphere that pervades all aspects of school life. Today, Florida Preparatory Academy is run by Jonathan and Emmy Dwight's children, with son James Dwight as the current President of the school. Two grandchildren have graduated from the Academy and two grandchildren are current students. Jonathan and Emmy would be very proud of how their school has evolved!
At Florida Prep, the focus is the future. Visit our beautiful campus and learn more about what sets FPA apart from other schools!