Eaton found his professional calling in an Admiral Farragut Academy classroom.
As a senior, he took economics with teacher Mark Panuthos, who, Eaton said, “sparked my interest in the subject, which led me to majoring in economics.”
That economics degree – from Bates College in Maine — eventually brought him back to St. Petersburg, where today he’s a Financial Analyst with Directed Capital, a commercial real estate finance firm.
It wasn’t a direct path for Eaton, Class of 2012. After all, before economics there was basketball.
“The aspect of Farragut that first drew me in was the fantastic sports programs,” he said. “However, that wasn’t enough of a reason to go there, according to my parents. So, upon further research we realized that Farragut was much more than a school. It was a family that was very close-knit even with students from vastly different backgrounds.”
Plus, Eaton felt a pull to the best boarding school side of Farragut because his uncle attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the Marines.
It didn’t take long for the 6-foot-7 forward to make an impact on the basketball court. He also ran cross country, track, and played baseball.
“My favorite memory of Farragut would definitely have to be our playoff run in basketball my junior year,” Eaton said. “We had our best team in my time at Farragut and advanced all the way to the regional finals, only to lose in double overtime. While the game was obviously a disappointment,” he continued, “overall it was a tremendous season with guys that I’m still close with till this day.”
There were stressful times as well, Eaton recalls, but offered this advice for today’s Farragut seniors who may be feeling the same pressure:
- Step outside your comfort zone. “You just might find that you really like something that you might otherwise have not experienced.”
- Be a good person. “Go out of your way to sit with the kid eating alone at lunch. Tutor that friend who is struggling in your math class. Stick up for someone if you see them being bullied.”
- Be persistent. “It requires no talent, just consistency.”
For Eaton, his persistence took him from Farragut to Phillips Exeter Academy. He went there for an extra year of high school ball, because he wanted more playing time when he got to college. His plan worked: Bates College recruited him. In one memorable basketball game during his senior year, Eaton scored six points in seven minutes.
A summer internship with Directed Capital in St. Petersburg led to a full-time job there after graduation.
“Without a doubt, Farragut has prepared me for college and my professional career,” he said, citing time management, interacting with people of different backgrounds, and rigorous academics.
Not to mention, teacher Mark Panuthos. “He told you what you needed to hear, not always what you wanted to hear,” Eaton said. “This was so helpful during my development because that’s how it is in the real world. You just have to work hard to achieve your goals.”