Wow! What an amazing Alumni Homecoming and 85th Celebration we had October 25th-27th! It was great to welcome back those who have attended or visited the southern campus, and it was even more special to welcome alumni who have never been to the St. Petersburg campus.
There was a large turnout at the Waterfront Reception, which was held on a beautiful Thursday evening. This was a nice time to kick off the weekend and relive many wonderful memories shared from learning to sail, obtaining the QBH, to reliving many stories of the Naval Science instructors. The excitement in the air was palpable as we all came together as one Farragut Family.
Friday was a fun-filled day. The first event was the Farragut Experience, which featured cadet-led tours to share today’s innovative programs and curriculu, followed by a hard-hat tour of the new multi-purpose building. We are very proud of this new building which will enhance the student learning experience and increase our opportunities to bring in new boarders from around the globe. The state-of-the-school luncheon was well attended and Commandant Todd Wallingford highlighted the updates from Farragut’s record-breaking enrollment of over 500 to Naval Science traditions.
The Farragut pride of blue and gold was evident during the afternoon and evening events on Friday, including the Homecoming formal parade, the Commandant’s tailgate party, and the Homecoming football game against Northside Christian School, which ended with a shutout score of 56-0. Approximately 75 alumni joined us at the after party at Sea Dog Brewery to hear our very own David Herrera ’93S perform with the Betty Fox Band. The brewery event proved to be a great success and will be part of the Alumni Homecoming Weekend schedule in the future.
The festivities didn’t slow down all weekend. Saturday had perfect weather for the flight experience with our Director of Aviation, Rob Ewing. A special thank you to alumnus Granvil Tracy ’73N who showed up with his helicopter and gave rides to Don Schreiber ’46N and Anne Bamford. What a wonderful treat! Back on campus, we had the alumni basketball game versus several of our current players. Headmaster Bob Fine threw the tip ball, and the alumni team took the win.
Homecoming Weekend culminated with the alumni reception and dinner at the historic Don Cesar hotel. All alumni were greeted by our Admiral Farragut Academy cadet honor guard and the cadet color guard. 8th-grade cadet Madison Hollingsworth started the night by singing the National Anthem, which got the entire room on its feet and singing along. It was truly a special moment. The master of ceremonies, David Yoho ’68N, kept the room lively and reminded us of the shared bonds made at Farragut regardless of your graduating class. During the dinner, George Michel ’49N took the opportunity to honor the life, dedication, and contributions of time and resources of beloved Frank Wendt ‘42N, longtime donor and one of the founders of the Admiral Farragut Academy Foundation, who had passed away just days before. We heard from the Class of 1998 valedictorian, Josh Hirsch, who stated that
“It’s the cadet stories that build the history, and it’s the faculty, and staff that built this institution.”
Ron Rose, from the class of 1968N, addressed the celebration of the 50th reunion. Ron reminded us that the Farragut years laid the foundation for a lifetime of success. COL Glenn Mitchell, from the class of 1963N, toasted to Farragut’s 85-year anniversary.
“We Are One Farragut and the legacy will continue forever.” – COL Glenn Mitchell ’63N
We premiered our 85th Anniversary video, which highlights the Farragut legacy since 1933. Click here to watch the video or watch below.
Our keynote speaker was Farragut parent and NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, who showed us her personal slideshow from when she lived in the International Space Station for three months. Stott shared her memories of living in space and how important it is to separate from our surroundings to truly appreciate the connection and the memories. She spoke of how proud she was that her son was attending a school that would develop him into a leader, tying it all back to our alumni who returned this weekend to reflect, remember, and reconnect. Cadet Hollingsworth returned to end the evening by singing “God Bless The USA”; a special thank you to her for her wonderful performance.
Homecoming 2018 exceeded our expectations. We came together and shared in the common bond of Farragut. We are so proud that, although Farragut has grown and changed, we still work to honor our beginning and traditions. We hope you will continue to be proud of your alma mater and find ways you can support Farragut with your time and or resources to carry out the Farragut legacy.
Here’s what our alumni had to say about Homecoming 2018
“I have been attending Farragut Homecomings since the 80’s and Wanda and I think this was one of our favorite Homecomings we have attended. The campus activities, neat appearances, the friendliness of the staff and cadets, to all the great events, it was energizing. Farragut is alive, well, and I am proud of my alma mater,” Ed Deseta ’67N
“With the exceptional planning by the Alumni and Development office, the Class of 68’N enjoyed what would certainly be our best Class reunion ever. More importantly, you made us feel a true part of Admiral Farragut Academy South. My heartfelt thanks to all. “ Chuck Koczwara ’68N
“Thank you to the entire staff at Farragut for putting on a series of events that both made us feel welcome and entertained us! We had a wonderful time! Our seven-year-old, Nathan, loves being at Farragut and being a part of the events. It was a memorable homecoming, something we look forward to being a part of for many years to come.” Bruce Sarte ‘91N and Erin Sarte ‘95.