2019 Alumni Homecoming Weekend recap: Honoring the Past. Propelling the Future.
Honoring the Past. Propelling the Future.
The 2019 Alumni Homecoming Weekend was a special time for the Academy filled with many memorable events that honored our past and celebrated the future of Admiral Farragut Academy.
Check out the latest video, featuring alumni who are propelling the Farragut legacy.
2019 Alumni Homecoming Weekend Events
Thursday, October 17th
The alumni weekend kicked off on Thursday, Oct 17th with the Admiral Farragut Academy Golf Tournament at the historic St. Petersburg Country Club. The Farragut Family Association hosted the event with over 80 golfers, and the winning team, comprised of players Michael Koebel ‘09, Jeff Ogden ‘00, Alex Weghorn ‘05 and parent Doug Waechter, shot a 63 also earning them the Alumni Cup.
Friday, October 18th
The Farragut bond was renewed and strengthened with over 225 alumni attendees from the class of 1946 to the class of 2014 coming to the St. Petersburg campus to celebrate in the homecoming festivities. On Friday, Oct. 18, the alumni were treated with cadet-led campus tours and the Farragut Campus Experience where they were able to reminisce and become a cadet again by attending such classes as biology, engineering, and aviation, where some “flew” via a state-of-the-art flight simulator.
During Friday afternoon, alumni gathered in the Huntley Gym for a memorial dedication for Coach Stan Slaby and his wife Polly. Victoria Raymer, Director of Alumni Engagement, designed a trophy case which comprised of an engraved plaque complete with Slaby’s Navy and Marine Corp medals and other coaching memorabilia. Coach Stan Slaby and his wife, Polly, dedicated over 30 years of mentoring and coaching to Farragut athletes. David Yoho ’68N, and one of Coach Slaby’s all-state football stars, spoke of the impact coach made and unveiled the Slaby Scholarship Fund. The fund will provide a scholarship to a deserving cadet who desires a Farragut education with future goals to attend a Prep school service academy.
The Farragut pride continued as alumni and families gathered for the Homecoming Parade. Commandant Todd Wallingford reviewed the cadets as well as alumni members Don Schrieber ‘46S, Al Ross ‘49S, George Michel ‘49S, Peter Easton ‘49S, and Robert Otto ‘69N, Jim Sowards ‘69S, Michael Grimler ‘69S, Robert Stein ‘69S, EK Wilcox ‘69S, David Haas ‘69S, Jim McClaugherty 69S, for the pass and review.
After the parade the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the DeSeta Hall Building Dedication. Jake Jacobus, the capital campaign chairman, and board member Art Musicaro ‘73N shared their gratitude for the Farragut community coming together to make the building a reality for the students. Attendees toured the theater and music, visual arts, and band classrooms.
Over one hundred alumni showed off their blue and gold spirit at the Commandant’s tailgate party, gathering under a big tent in despite the rain. Thank you to Farragut family, Brad and Stephanie Piche, who donated food from Ricky T’s. Despite the inclement weather, the BlueJackets took home the big win versus Tampa Bay Christian Academy with a final score of 28-0.
Saturday, October 19th
The weekend concluded with a fun-packed reception and dinner in DeSeta Hall. The master of ceremonies, David Yoho ‘68N, made for a lively and entertaining evening.
Guest speakers Doug Pearson ‘66S and Corky Newcombe ‘66S honored their Farragut memories by presenting a book: AFA – The Cadets of ‘66S, A Journal of Their Brotherhood. Pearson and Newcombe presented the first-edition journals as well as a donation of $1,966 to Headmaster Bob Fine. The unveiling of the ‘66S journal brought over 30 alumni and spouses to celebrate homecoming this year, which was the biggest class represented.
Michael Grimler ‘69S shared his fond memories to commemorate his class’ 50th reunion. Grimler shared CDR Orie Banks’ sage advice he still remembers today: “You will need to build your house upon a rock rather than sand, and I’m proud to say Farragut was one of those rocks.”
The evening concluded with film and television producer Joseph Zolfo ‘86N. Zolfo shared his TV reel that highlighted films and shows he has produced and his experience breaking into the TV industry. Perhaps most impressive was how Zolfo made it to Farragut and the impact it had on his life. “I often tell myself if it wasn’t for Admiral Farragut Academy I would not have risen to the level of success of where I am today,” he said. “I run my film productions like a Battalion Commander.”
“It was such a wonderful honor for me to speak to the AFA alumni community. Thank you for having me, my family and friends had a wonderful time.” Joseph Zolfo ‘86N
Here’s what some more alumni had to say about the weekend:
“Last night’s farewell ceremonies were outstanding and, honestly, an event that I did not want to leave. A rally of cadets and families with like-minded ideas about the one true message conveyed. Admiral Farragut Academy is beloved and must continue on to meet the future needs for the sake of perpetuating all that we have grown to love.” John Akin ‘69S
“We just experienced the ultimate return to home that sent us to where we are today. I am sure that you are impressed as I with the direction of Farragut has taken. Some of our classmates have declared we are aiming for the 65th (reunion).” Fred Nelson ‘59S
“Thanks to the AFA staff who did a fantastic job making us feel warm and welcome. I hope we didn’t steal too much attention from the other classes, but also hope that we have provided a solid example of alumni loyalty to the school and to our ‘band of brothers’ from 1966.” Skip Thaeler ‘66S