Photo by Nomeus, 2008 -

Southeastern Academy of Travel and Tourism

Photo(Nomeus, 2008 – A former Ramada Inn, it was converted in 1976 to make way for the school.

The Southeastern Academy of Travel and Tourism was originally opened in Orlando, offering two-year associate’s degree programs in business, computer and other professional fields. It was only temporary as their primary location was being renovated. In 1976, they moved into their new building situated on 31-acres of land, a converted Ramada Inn built in the late-1960s located just off the Florida Turnpike.

The school operated until May 31, 2001, when the school was forced to close down due to financial issues. At the time of it’s closing, the school had 235 students attending, with many students claiming that the school still owed them tuition reimbursements. Students received copies of their transcripts and financial aid records as well as receiving full credit for courses they were currently attending. Other students recieved thier diplomas if they were to graduate after the quarter.

The financial issues the school had stem back to a court hearing, which found them guilty of not filing a closeout audit and not properly accounting federal funds for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 award years. The judge ordered that Southern College and Southeastern Academy repay to the United States Department of Education the sum of $5,555,682.46 and $5,069,550.00, respectively; in other words, a sum of money the school didn’t have.

In November 2002, Positive Directions Alliance, a non-profit organization that provided housing, counseling and job training to homeless and other deprived individuals, began operating at the former school. Six months later, it’s residents were forced to vacate the premises after electricity to the property was cut off due to an outstanding fee of $26,000 to Kissimmee Utility Authority. At this time, the property was still in the hands of Southeastern Academy, with the possibility that the building was leased out to Positive Directions Alliance.

Photo(Nomeus, 2008 – Remnants of the Christian organization that occupied the building around 2004.

Southeastern Academy declared bankruptcy and the property was acquired by Super Stop Petroleum Inc. in 2003. Around 2004, Super Stop Petroleum leased the property out to the Kissimmee Christian Academy(KCA). Late that same year, the KCA filed a lawsuit against Super Stop Petroleum, claiming they were harassed off the property by having their electricity, water, and sewer services cut off and then sent a erroneous bill against the provisions of it’s lease. Though, remnants of a church organization could be found at the abandoned school, it’s history goes deep into conspiracy at this point.

Pastor Lee Wasson, who runs the KCA, believes it is so Super Stop can establish it’s own organization, Universal Heritage Foundation(UHF), a group known for its hate speech against Christians and Jews. He also said that the UHF invited speakers to it’s mosque, describing suicide bombers as “martyrs“, and call for the imposition of Sharia law in the U.S. He also claims that the UHF have been in charge of other mosques and schools that have been under investigation or have had arrests and raids.

According to this site, the Universal Heritage Foundation is run by Zulfiqar Ali Shah, a person with a long history with managing extremist Muslim organizations. Shah has had many dealings with Mohammed Javed Qureshi, who runs Super Stop Petroleum. It is also worthy to note that Super Stop is only one of 160 companies registered to Qureshi. Again, there are remnants of Islamic literature found at the former school, which provide some proof that an Muslim organization occupied the building for a while, but the rest is up to debate.

Photo(Nomeus, 2008 – A wave of vandalism swept through the school following it’s abandonment.

The building sat vacant for years and it would be around 2008 when the vandalism on the property would begin. Though a fence was erected around the property, officials and neighbors seem to not pay attention to who comes and goes off the property. Chunks of the walls and ceiling litter the floor, the landscape is terribly overgrown, and the graffiti on the walls is what you’d expect from kids. Much of the building has been on fire at some point, including the main lobby and many of the dorm rooms. In October 2009, a storage building located behind the school which contained textbooks, school materials and even a truck was set ablaze. Even though the property is currently on the market for $2.5 million, vandalism there remains an issue.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2008

315 thoughts on “Southeastern Academy of Travel and Tourism”

    1. Hi. My name is John catanzaro and I went to this school in 1979 and graduated in December of 1979. My roommates were already and Michael Harris if anyone remembers me please contact me back Thanks

      1. My roommates were Eddie and Mike Harris. I hung out with Carol and Tracy and Jeannie. I lost contact with everyone. If you remember me email me at johnnylivesmart360 at gmail. I was in a 12 week class in late 1979.. Hope to hear from one of my friends….

      2. Johnny never new you went to Southeastern? I was there in 1979 also although in August. Small world see you at FFL Draft.

  1. I attended SEA 1991. It was a time I will always remember. Made so many friends and had the time of my life. I have Pictures of the way it was back then. So sorry to hear and see it is now gone. RIP SEA.

  2. So sad to see what has become of SEA. My memory is not as good as it used to be. I did the 1/2 home study and 1/2 at SEA from Jan to Feb or Mar 1980. I also remember the home interview before being accepted. Sadly, I never worked in the industry, I made the decision to join the USAF in 1981 and did 20 years. If anyone remembers me, you can find me on FB (

      1. Hey Keith I remember the nights at HoJos and all the great times we all had I still have pics I think your in some of them my room mates were Wendy and Monica from Iowa I was Gail Geyer from MI.

  3. I graduated SEA February 1986 and truly had the best time of my life. Roommate Ken Nalls from Baltimore was the best guy to room with! Awesome memories and pics that cant be taken away by the destruction shown. I kept in contact with many for some time only to lose contact years later. I actually moved from Green Bay WI to Kissimmee following graduation – worked throughout the travel industry but never landed that airline job. Returning to school now 28 years later hoping to transfer credits. Hmmm. Wish a reunion was possible.

  4. ***NEWS*** Planning a Southeastern Academy Reunion- summer 2014! Please choose a date that’s best for you. Most votes will be reunion date. More info to follow. Thank you.

      1. Get off the turnpike, turn left , go down the road and it was on the left. I lived in Kissimmee for a while after graduating in 1983. I moved back to PA a little later. Big mistake. I can’t get back out! Lol

    1. I’m in California, but if you could do some kind of online streaming like Skype for those of us who probably can’t attend, PLEASE let us know how to join in!!!! XOXOXOXO

  5. I graduated in August of 1983. My name was Annette Roark then (from IN…Chicago area)
    I had 2 roommates: Carol Hochella from Allentown PA, and Theresa Desnoyer from Millington, TN.
    We had a great time while at SEA. …especially on the weekends. Trips to Daytona, a big nightclub in Orlando on Orange Blossom Trail (can’t remember the name of it) and of course, HoJo’s. Drinking age was 18 then and we took full advantage of it.
    I remember a few people from our class…Brian, from IN (he had a big crush on Theresa) Jeff Hammer (Carol’s boyfriend), Marcus from MI and Armando Martinez from Chicago.
    I think of SEA often and fondly. It was because of SEA that I got hired at TWA right out of school. After leaving TWA, I worked in hotels for years and all Around the country.
    Ahhhhh…those were the days.

      1. Was there too in 1983, HOJOs kept my roomate from graduating, too much partying, woulnt listen. Had fun, too bad the market wasnt as good as the auto industry was in metro Detroit at the tym. Never secured a job in travel that would out do auto. Martin Fedyna.

    1. Had alot of fun there, 1983, always playn tennis outside dorm room, went to Busch gardens with three blondes, just friends, but sure drew envy from the fellas,lol.

  6. Sandi…was your last name Hardock?..I was there in jan/feb 1984 for 6 weeks, My name is Steve Sullivan, roomed with Joe from Pittsburgh and robert lee from Ga.??…hung out with Gary Haney and Ron Pinkalm…Diane Ivers from Cincy….Ho Jo’s was the bomb baaack then!!

    1. Steve I don’t remember you but my name then was Joe Clark and im from MA. I remember some names of class mates T.J. Brancazio and a female name Rhonda From Lakland FL. I would love to connect with you all. Had a great time there and a lot of memories.

  7. I’m Jane, working with a couple friends who attended SEA in the late 80’s to get a reunion together. VERY IMPORTANT that everyone who reads this chooses a date that’s good for them: July 11-13 OR Aug 8-10, 2014.

  8. I worked at Southern College/SEA in the 80’s and went to school there. Anyone know how I can get employment/education verified for a job I’m applying to? This is sad to see/read and also frustrating. Thanks

  9. Southeastern Academy Reunion Saturday July 12, 2014 in Kissimmee! Go to FaceBook reunion page for details. HURRY- Monies MUST be received BY May 1, 2014

    1. According to the county records the owner of this property is Academy Lux Inc. a for profit corporation in Boca Raton, FL.

  10. I graduated from SEA in 1978. Started out as a General Manager of a Cargo Airline after graduation and went on into the Import / Export industry ( Freight Forwarding ) field and have been doing it ever since. Had an exciting time there, met alot of good people. Looking to hook up with people that graduated in that time. Sad to hear the school doesn’t exsit anymore, it helped me alot with my career.

  11. Hi All,
    I am so glad I found this site on SEA. I too really need transcripts to prove I was a student there. Anyone have any luck?
    Very, very sad to hear what happened to SEA. I was recently in Orlando and wondered where the school was located and if it was still standing.
    I attended in 1984 from September to December. Roommates were Debbi Johnson and Sara – can’t recall last name but both were awesome roommates from the midwest region. I also had a very good friend, Lynda Ford from New York. Sadly, I lost tough with all of them over the years. Lynda had roommate named Bambi. Great times at SEA and made some super friends in the short time we were there.
    Would love to attend a reunion…..
    My best to all of you,

    Lori (Staub) Dempsey
    formerly from Pennsylvania
    now living in Indiana

  12. I’m trying to help a friend find the resource(s) to obtain her transcript for her new job. She finished in 1991. Any information on how the transcript can be obtained?

  13. I attended from August to October 1991, I would love to reconnect with old friends. Hung out with a ton of people, Ogre, Sam, Missy, Piggy, Tom. I look at the old pictures I have an am heartbroken by the way it looks now.

  14. I stopped by SEA today to check out the campus. Unfortunately, the classrooms were set on fire and nearly everything has been destroyed. It’s sad to think that people would destroy a building for fun. It looks like you guys really loved this place.

    Abandoned Building Hunter

  15. june 1991
    so sad to see it like this….
    that school was so much fun!
    winter park
    coco beach
    daytona beach on the weekends
    adventures on the weekends
    where is tracy stephaine al cory chris norma jean miss
    you guys

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