It’s so much more than football or another reception… It’s coming together united for America and Admiral Farragut Academy.
The 2018 Army/Navy Alumni Weekend kicked off on Friday evening December 7th with a reception at the historic Union League Club of Philadelphia. Alumni came from near and far along with special guests including military leaders, business leaders, and celebrities to join in one of the premier Farragut events of the year.
The reception opened with guest of honor, RADM Mark “Buz” Buzby ‘75N, USN (Ret.), who spoke about how Farragut impacted his life and shaped his character that lead to an esteemed military career and life. RADM Buzby is currently the Administrator of the United States Maritime Administration. Buz reminded the attendees how Farragut stands apart from other college preparatory schools with its strong NJROTC program and outstanding core values that began in 1933 and are still relevant today. He expressed pride in the outstanding leaders Farragut produces and pointed out the fine men and women who have chosen to serve. It was an honor having Buz and his wife, Gina, join us.
Other notable guests included Col Bill Roberti, USA (Ret.), Col Glenn Mitchell ‘63N, MD, USA (Ret.), RADM Phil Sobeck, Director, 21st Century Sailor Office, who once commanded the USS Farragut and continues to be a huge supporter of the Academy, TV and film producer Joseph Zolfo ‘86N and his wife Carrie, and legendary actor George Hamilton whose son, George T. Hamilton, is a 2018 alumnus.
The true stars of the evening were the cadets and recent alumni including Regimental Commander Evan Schlifstein ‘19, Regimental Training Officer Ashton Raymer ‘20, cadet Tyler Turner ‘22, and cadet Alex Erwin ‘22. The cadets were honored to be a part of such a special event and to gain wisdom from speaking with alumni, an experience they will never forget. Additionally, many recent alumni attended including MIDN 3/C Trevor Benatti ‘17, USNA, MIDN 3/C Zachary Fine ‘17, Duke, MIDN 4/C Ethan Lipsky ‘18, USMMA, George Hamilton ‘18 and Chris Kosarzycki ‘17.
Alumni Director Victoria Raymer introduced a new tradition to the event, “Ring The Bell for Farragut”. The historic Class of 1966 engraved bell was displayed at the front of the room for alumni and friends to ring and share their Farragut stories and why they continue to support the Farragut legacy. The bell was rung throughout the evening by many alumni including Art Musicaro ‘73N, Board Chair Christian Wagner ‘82N, alumni parent George Hamilton, Sea Naval Officer USNA Zack Northcutt ‘09, alumni parent Al Benatti, alumni parent David Lipsky ‘75N, and Jeff Ogden ‘00. Heartfelt stories were shared with the common bond that unites generations of alumni. As a result of this new tradition, significant funds were raised for the Academy.
On Saturday, December 8th, Farragut alumni and friends attended the 119th America’s Game at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Stadium. The march on the field is a long-standing tradition and an amazing sight to behold. The pomp and circumstance prior to the game are in many aspects more exciting than the game itself. Farragut alumnus and tech company owner Aquiles La Grave ‘98 and his wife, Megan, flew in from Colorado to attend what he described as, “a bucket list item”.
Before the game started a powerful opening prayer by Chaplain Col Matthew Pawlikowski of the USMA West Point stated, “Some wonder why we pray for a football game so I tell them in this game every player on the field is willing to die for every person watching.” It was quite the opening with the Commander in Chief conducting the official coin toss. Navy lost 17-10 in a closely contested defensive match-up. The game was not decided until the final minutes and all in attendance had a wonderful time.
The weekend represented more than just a football game or reception, it represented the best in our country and Admiral Farragut Academy. Dr. Lou Cona ‘73N summed it up best, “The weekend was just amazing. It was an honor to be in the presence of things that have always meant so much to me, friends and our young men and women who have chosen to serve. It doesn’t get better than that!”
Jenn and Jarrett Creacen-Crawford current Farragut family attended the game this year and shared, “Attending the Army/Navy game with our daughter (Sarah, 8th) was spectacular. As a first-year student, it gave her the opportunity to see the big picture of where her education and career can take her. To be amongst the cheering cadets of both the USMA and Naval Academy is an unforgettable experience. The sense of unified pride, patriotism, and comradery (regardless of who won) was moving. We will do it again next year and bring our other children for sure.”
We look forward to continuing this tradition next year on December 13 and 14, 2019, and hope many more alumni and friends of Farragut will plan to attend. If you are interested in reserving your place for this event please contact Alumni Director Victoria Raymer at 727-224-4332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.