HISTORY OF ROYAL PALM ACADEMY
The idea for Royal Palm came about by Patrick Moore’s visit to schools implementing Integral Formation in Dallas, TX, and Atlanta, GA. God put it on Patrick’s heart to bring this product to the Naples community after he witnessed a young child in Atlanta kneeling deep in prayer before school in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Planning meetings were held, strategies were organized, but nothing came to fruition until a few years later. While attending a Catholic Women’s Convention in Orlando, Florida, Carol Moore and a group of ladies gathered to discuss the possibilities of a project of this magnitude. Potential names for a school were proposed and Royal Palm Academy was selected. That afternoon, on her ride home to Naples, Mrs. Moore, successfully completed the incorporation of the school by telephone. The following Monday morning all the necessary paperwork and contracts were finalized. Within a couple of weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Moore, along with Mr. Lou Deprisco were organizing cocktail parties at local neighborhood country clubs to present the school and recruit students. Because of the wonderful vision of the education model they were adopting, the founders were confident that the school would be well-received by the community.
A site for the school was secured by Mrs. Moore in the first week of August, just prior to the start of school. This first campus consisted of three trailers on a five-acre dusty field off Golden Gate Parkway on 68th Ave SW in Naples. (It was formerly a Charter School that had closed that July.) This was the only available location that was suitable for a school. Many diligent hours were spent recruiting and Royal Palm Academy opened its doors with six students in three grades (two of which were the founders’ children), three teachers, one receptionist, and a Head of School. The Moore’s were confident that the vision of a 500-student campus would one day become a reality.
The school grew over the next couple of years to a point of overflowing the initial facility. It was evident that it was time to search for a new location that would accommodate not only the immediate needs but plans for growth, as well. Mr. Patrick Kirk and Mr. Lou DePrisco, who at the time were in the process of purchasing a 172-acre site, on what is now Livingston Road, redirected their goal from economic to apostolic and helped Royal Palm Academy secure its current site as well as a 100-acre site across the street.
A significant milestone was reached in 2015, when Royal Palm Academy was officially recognized as an affiliated Catholic School in the Diocese of Venice. This status was achieved after much hard work, prayer, and collaboration during the process of affiliation with the Florida Catholic Conference.
Another significant landmark came in 2016, with the opening of Royal Palm’s first permanent building in the form of a 15,000 sq. foot multi-purpose gymnasium. This building was the result of much collaboration, teamwork, and generosity of the part of many people. In March 2016, Bishop Frank J. Dewane officially blessed the building and said Mass for the entire school body. This special moment was truly a confirmation that the Holy Spirit has been the guiding force behind our school’s growth as part of the Catholic school system in America.
As the school grows to its full student capacity, more buildings will be phased in and the full campus, including all the classroom space, athletic facilities, arts facilities, and administrative offices will become a reality. However, in the end, let it not be forgotten that what makes Royal Palm Academy so special is not any buildings or facilities, no matter how magnificent, but rather it is the mission which makes this school unique — to form apostles who will transform society for Christ.