ORLANDO, Fla. — It was the first public school in the Paramore community of Orlando. Now, the Nap Ford Community School, named in honor of a longtime Orlando commissioner, has moved out of its original location, consolidating with the nearby Legends Academy.

  • Nap Ford Community School consolidates with Legends Academy
  • Nap Ford school continues fundraising, hoping to open new location 
  • School is named after longtime Orlando Commissioner Nap Ford
  • RELATED: Read more education news

Despite this small setback, students, faculty, and staff have not been deterred. They’re continue fundraising efforts for both schools, hoping one day to open a new location for Nap Ford Community School.

For the first time, the schools hosted a luncheon fundraiser during the holiday season.

The musical talents and speaking skills of students at Nap Ford Community School and Legends Academy only show a fraction of how students are putting thousands of fundraising dollars to use.

Eighth grade student Esther Jean-Baptiste says the donations are an asset to not just the schools, but the entire community.

“It makes me want to work harder to get Legends growing so that other kids can have the opportunity to stay here, and eventually go to college like I am,” Esther Jean-Baptiste said.

Ten years ago Esther and her family moved to Orlando from Haiti. She is thankful for opportunities at Legends and Nap Ford, putting her on the track to one day be a neonatal nurse.

Jennifer Porter-Smith, the executive director for both schools, says money raised by community fundraisers will allow the schools to provide special programs for students while honoring Orlando Commissioner Nap Ford’s legacy.

“We want to raise up and rear tomorrow’s leaders those that are going to follow in Mr. Ford’s footsteps,” Jennifer Porter-Smith said.

Ford’s wife Rebecca Ford, who sits on the school’s board, says her husband, who died 20 years ago this month, would be proud.

“It would really be a dream come true for him, because he served the community for 18 years on the council, and he did so much for the community, and education was a priority for him, so he would be really happy with the accomplishments,” Rebecca Ford said.

These accomplishments are a driving force for Orlando-area youth like Esther, who despite the odds, are all striving to achieve success.

“You just really have to get going and not stop for anybody or anything and get your mind straight on what you need,” Esther said.

School leaders say they need a half a million dollars before they can move Nap Ford Community School to a new location. Another big fundraiser is being planned for Spring 2019.