Palm Beach School Boys at the Beginning

As the Palm Beach Day Academy continues to commemorate its first one hundred years, it seems only appropriate to remember its earliest beginnings, its rudimentary curriculum and its students. The school was originally founded as the Palm Beach School for Boys– a pre-prep outpost for the sons and scions of the Island’s early residents. Its mission was to provide a seasonal education for boys aged 5 to 14, with an emphasis on “individual attention for each pupil” and an “ample provision for calisthenics and organized play”– a classroom/athletics balance too often overlooked in today’s secondary schools. The initial prospectus reinforces the “emphasis given to good habits of study” and the “athletic participation of every boy”. More conspicuous is the List of Pupils, a small slice of  America’s privileged youth (circa 1921)– the sons and scions of “pioneer” families who’d ventured to Flagler’s barrier swampland which overnight became a worldwide watering hole. Within this near-historic list are over two dozen fathers, grandfathers, uncles and cousins of prominent progeny who now proudly call Palm Beach their permanent home, and who continue to support all layers of this generous community. This simple school (now Palm Beach Day Academy) remains a beacon of academic excellence and family legacies, a human reflection of Palm Beach and its dramatic transformation in barely over a century. May they both continue to flourish.

The Palm Beach School for Boys was headed by Williard W. Ferguson and Edward M. Shields.