As a member of a fraternity, forum of peers, or any larger organization, you understand the feeling you get when you reconnect after a time apart, sometimes fifty years, with your friends and confidants. The feeling is special. The memories you shared before are instantly brought to the forefront of your minds. The sights and the sounds of when those memories occurred replay round and round in your head. These sentiments rang true for our alumni who attended our 2016 Alumni Homecoming Weekend October 28th and 29th.
Throughout the weekend, nearly 225 alumni, families and friends spanning from the class of 1946 to the class of 2016 arrived on our beautiful campus. With a 70 years span between those alumni, the memories are all so similar; formation, breaking ranks, the mess hall food (good or bad), dorm room living, the list of stories are endless and the experiences are timeless.
Our goal for the alumni homecoming weekend is always to bring our alumni back to the days of their time at Farragut, their time as a cadet and make them genuinely proud and excited about what the school is doing today. Campus tours with our Regimental Staff allow our alumni to see learn about the advances we have made in academics, highlighting many of our signature programs and educators. Today, we are proud to boast both a Mixed Armed and Silent Unarmed Female Drill Teams. Both were on hand for a private exhibition prior to our annual Homecoming Parade on Al Ross ‘49 Field. Following the parade, CAPT Robert J. Fine, Jr. (AFA) hosted a large group of guests in our Roy M. Speer Student Center for his annual State of the School Address.
No Homecoming would be complete without a football game. And no proper Homecoming Game would be complete without a tailgate party. Following CAPT Fines address, our guests were invited to the home of our Commandant of Cadets, Todd Wallingford and his wife Kim for our Annual Homecoming Tailgate Party. Strictly a time to relax and reconnect, this has proven to be a great time to meet peers from similar classes and professional backgrounds as well as get to know many of our educators, coaches, and administrators. With over 150 folks in attendance, the event was truly special.
Over the past few years, we have changed Saturday’s schedule to be more accommodating for our alumni and guests, giving them a greater chance to get together with their class and their peers as a group. This year was no different. While some classes took it easy and lounged on the beach for lunch, others took in a small golf outing or fishing trip. Some visited the expansive lineup of our museums in downtown St. Petersburg, while others just relaxed poolside. This time is intended to be flexible and allow personal relationships to rekindle or grow.
On Saturday evening Alumni Homecoming Weekend culminated in a dinner event held at the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club. Welcomed by our Honor Guard of Cadets, our evening began with many thanks and great praise to our school and cadets who always welcome our Alumni Community with open arms. Karen Bacon from our Alumni Team honored our Class Agents who worked tirelessly to recruit classmates and friends, and Jeff Ogden ‘00, Director of Alumni Relations, thanked all behind the scenes that made the weekend a success. We were also honored to have our current Chairman of the Board of Directors, Christian Wagner ‘82 in attendance to share with us his vision of Admiral Farragut Academy in an ever changing time in education. He was heartfelt in sharing the pride he had in speaking to a room of his peers, and the pride he feels to have Admiral Farragut Academy alive and well, planning the next 80 years of the school’s future.
While this weekend is extremely meaningful and important to us as a school, we use Alumni Homecoming Weekend to bring our classes together, often for the first time since commencement to reconnect and revisit. Some classes and alumni are regulars to this weekend but for many this year, it was their first of many! Friends, roommates, and forever brothers and sisters came together again, as one, no matter their campus affiliation.
We want to thank those who joined us from near and far. Your commitment and passion means the world to us and your peers. It is your attendance and support that truly make this event a success for our community.
We invite you to join us in the Fall of 2017 (official date to be announced) for our 2017 Alumni Homecoming Weekend events celebrating reunions for all classes ending in ‘2 or ‘7, though we welcome each and every member of our alumni community!