Around the time when leaves are changing and temperatures start to drop, here on our St. Petersburg, Florida campus, alumni, friends, and families gather to remember and honor their own slice of the “Farragut Pie.”
Spanning 81 years, Admiral Farragut Academy has amassed endless relationships, infinite memories, and thanks to our days as an all-boys school, sums of demerits and miles marched that cannot be calculated by even the computers of today’s generation. But over one weekend, over a small weekend in October, those numbers, names, and discipline acts all seem to come back together with a smile and a “remember when…” While Homecoming 2015 has come and gone, the memories are a bright as ever and the pride is as strong as the bond we all share for our alma mater.
Over the course of the weekend, we welcomed nearly 125 alumni and friends back to campus. On Friday the day included campus tours led by our Upper School Regimental Staff which featured stops in our dormitory and signature classrooms, boat tour and dolphin watch on Boca Ciega Bay, Homecoming Parade, delicious lunch and tailgate provided by SAGE Dining, followed by the Homecoming Court announcements and Football Game (win 56-12 vs. Everglades Prep Academy).
Saturday is always a day that we leave open for classes to mix and mingle among themselves. Many took the day to experience St. Petersburg and our beaches, museums, and some of our local historical sites. To close out Homecoming Weekend, our alumni gathered at the Club at Treasure Island for the annual Alumni Homecoming Dinner. Greeted by Admiral Farragut Academy’s cadet Honor Guard, guests were treated to a Hawaiian themed dinner and steel drum band. Thank you to our guest speaker, RADM Mark “Buz” Buzby ‘75N, USN (Ret.), who spoke of the camaraderie of our alumni and Farragut Today, the opportunities available to students and the bright future ahead for Farragut.
The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” truly tells the story about this weekend and the times shared by all. If you would like to see a collection of emotion, smiles, and even a few laughs, please stop by our photo gallery.
For those looking forward to attending our Alumni Homecoming Weekend in 2016, we are already looking into dates for next year. While we should have a date confirmed in mid-February, now is a great time to reach out to your classmates and get the conversation started. Your involvement makes this event a success.
Experience from Ken White ‘65N:
“In the early fall I received word of the reunion schedule at AFA for this year. My thoughts were; ‘it would be great to see my classmates again after such a long time… It’s a long way to Florida to see some guys I haven’t seen for 50 years, why make the effort… Farragut South isn’t where I attended school, why bother.’
The answer slowly became apparent after thinking it might be fun, so I contacted as many of our class that I had data for and received some positive feedback. Andy (Aldi) and I spoke often about getting a group together and between the two of us we were able to shake the bushes and raise interest. As the weekend drew closer my anticipation rose like a rogue wave filling my thoughts of what it would be like.
The staff at the Academy went way overboard in making us North fellas feel right at home. The planned activities, the food, and the campus tour were all outstanding…and then we got a glimpse of the boys from the South. Ollinger assured our group we could take them on the gridiron, while Vollherbst, forever our captain, pointed out that we were outnumbered and they were of good size! It wasn’t long before one of the “Southies” ambled over to us, said his name was Rich, and wanted some info in order to do some recon in the library. We were wise to be cautious, for Rich DeWitt’s reputation had been leaked to us, but that evening buttons appeared with our senior photos copied from our yearbooks! Rich, you made friends of us all, thank you!
Perhaps these guys from the South were not so bad after all!!
Following shared meals and just a few libations during the late night and early morning hours, we Northies felt a welcomed part of the school and kindred to the class of 65 S.
I remarked to one of my classmates that it was actually easier for me to travel to a reunion in Florida than New Jersey from the Adirondacks of New York! And the climate provided by our guests is much more preferable than the Jersey shore at this time of year!
I had only two regrets from my weekend: First, we missed all those unable to attend to include those who are no longer among us. Second, I was greeted with freezing temps and snow upon deplaning back at home.”