Sunday, September 5, 2010


This weekend was the Florida Central Academy Reunion. FCA was the small co-ed boarding school that I went to from 9th-12th grades. The reunion was for everyone who ever attended the school, which existed from the first graduating class in 1961 through the last class in 1983. About 200 students attended each year.

This was an incredibly unique school experience. The building we lived in was an old hotel that was built in the 1920's. We lived two students to a room with our own bathrooms. The building was very grand both inside and out. Classes were very small and most teachers and administrators lived on campus.

A typical weekday at FCA consisted of breakfast, room check, 2 classes, mail break, another class, lunch and 3 more classes. After your last class you had a mandatory athletic period. If you were on a sports team (I was a cheerleader) you practiced longer than others. Next came dinner in the beautiful, high ceiling dining hall (which was a ballroom when the building was a hotel). After dinner and a short break the entire school went to study hall for 2 hours. Again, doors must be open, you had to be at your desk and no music. After that time there was a 45 minute free time period and then lights out.

Sounds very regimented, but as I always tell everyone, you knew all of your friends were doing the same thing, so you weren't missing anything.

After the class of 1983 the owners went bankrupt and the building fell into a state of extreme disrepair. Local historians tried to get the building declared a historical landmark so they could fix it up again. Before that could happen, 2 teenagers broke into the building in the middle of the night and burned the building to the ground. Giving a crushing blow to the students who went to Florida Central.

I did not go to the reunion, because of my disabilities, but have reconnected on facebook with a lot of my dear, dear friends. My personal story-I chose to go to boarding school myself, taking myself out of a very distressing family situation. The kids that I grew up with at FCA are like brothers and sisters to me the teachers and administrators, like parents. Everytime we meet it is like we never left each other-just like relatives. This week on facebook someone referred to us as "the throwaway kids" and that is what we were, but we triumphed because we became the family that most of us desperately needed.

1 comment:

Terri said...

What a cool school. I went through a period my sophmore year that I thought I WANTED to attend a boarding school.