BREVARD COUNTY — Each fall, the Zonta Club of Melbourne highlights a piece of Brevard as part of its ornament collection, treasuring historic buildings that many residents have grown up visiting.
This year, the 2019 Historic Brevard Ornament has been announced and it will capture the likeness of the Florida Preparatory Academy.
According to the Florida Prep Academy’s website, the building was originally erected in 1925 by Ernest Kouwen-Hoven, and it was sold a year later to become known as The Lincoln Hotel. In 1957, the hotel was sold to August J. Rimer, the owner of the Green Bay Packers, who renamed it to The Belcelona.
The website later states that in 1961, Mr. Rimer sold the hotel to Johnathon Dwight, an educator and aviation enthusiast who turned the building into the Florida Air Academy, a military-style college preparatory school for males. It wasn’t until 2005 that the academy began accepting female students.
In 2015, the school changed its name to Florida Prep Academy to better reflect its mission as a college preparatory school.
“I think this is No. 21 that we’re doing this year, and who would have thought that it would continue this long,” said Sandy Michelson, member of the Zonta Club of Melbourne. “It’s wonderful how the community has embraced it and supported us over all these years.”
The Florida Prep Academy ornament will join the ranks of many other historic buildings, such as Sams House, Wells Green Gables Home, the Henegar Center, Strawberry Mansion, Flat Iron Building and more.
“I think the ornaments are popular because of the memories and the history of our community,” Ms. Michelson said, “and of family occurrences, like visiting Dels Freeze - that was a favorite spot for families to gather.”
Proceeds from the ornaments help serve the Zonta Club of Melbourne’s community projects, such as the Cocoa Domestic Violence Center, in addition to scholarships for young women of different backgrounds.
Scholarships include Young Women in Public Affairs, which is offered to high school students; the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, which is offered to women in their second year of undergraduate studies through her final year of a master’s degree; the Zonta/Meehan Scholarship, which is offered to women in need of any age who are working to improve their quality of life; the Amelia Earhart Fellowship; which is offered to women pursuing a doctoral degree in the field of aerospace-related sciences and engineering; the Zonta/Yellow Dog Café Culinary Scholarship, which is offered to women pursuing a culinary education from Eastern Florida State College; and the Zonta/EDC Manufacturing Certification Scholarship, which is offered to women seeking success in the manufacturing field.
The Zonta Club of Melbourne is a nonprofit organization made up of men and women volunteering their time to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.
Members spend their time engaging with the community about the dangers of human trafficking and domestic violence.
In the first Sunday of each March, the nonprofit hosts its annual Chocolate Festival with information about fair trade chocolates and how to find them in stores. Competitors from local businesses and restaurants must use fair trade chocolate in their submissions.
“This community has helped us so much with our fundraising efforts, so that we can help women help themselves,” Ms. Michelson said.
The Zonta Club’s Historic Ornaments are available online and at Meehan’s Office Products in Downtown Melbourne. Ornaments cost $25 (without a stand) and $30 (with a stand).
The Zonta Club of Melbourne will have a booth with ornaments for sale at the Native Rhythms Festival this weekend at Wickham Park.
For more information, visit www.zontaspacecoast.org.