The Florida Prep campus has weathered numerous hurricanes; as a private residence, hotel and school.
Set in 11 acres of lush tropical gardens, the main building, which was built in 1925 boasts classic Spanish Style architecture, with interiors of Art Nouveau, but it is the residents of this historic building who attract attention.
The school located in downtown Melbourne has been a boarding school for nearly 60 years, drawing students from around the world, attracted by a US education and an idyllic location on Florida’s Space Coast.
It is that very location that recently led students to find themselves thrust into the unknown as Hurricane Dorian descended on Florida.
“Unlike our day school population,” explains Dean of Students, Jay Gideon, “our boarders often have no family or friends to whom they can evacuate and they will remain on our campus throughout the duration of a storm. During that time, which is often stressful, we strive to make the experience as positive as possible by engaging our students in community activities, games and clean up, while still ensuring their safety at all times.”
Thus, while others were hunkered down awaiting Dorian’s arrival, Florida Prep students participated in Community Service at the nearby Orlando Melbourne International airport!
Thanks to the school's relationship with Metz Culinary Management, students from the school were invited to join The Red Cross preparing sandwiches for those in the local community evacuated to shelters.
“When asked to assist by the Florida Prep Culinary Director, Eric Schappert, students immediately stepped forward to offer help, this at a time when many were concerned about their own homes in the Caribbean, or fearful as to what a hurricane would entail,” said Gideon.
“I’m so proud of them all,” he continued “they were willing to put their community before themselves and to try to make an impact, no matter how small.”
In total, Florida Prep played host to 17 students from countries as far away as China and The Reunion Islands.
The school is now focusing its efforts on rescue efforts in the Bahamas, the home country of several of the Melbourne refugees.