The Burke Family resides in the Cayman Islands and are very proud of their generational legacy of Farragut graduates.
The First Generation of Burkes:
Kent (Class of 1985S), Troy (Class of 1986S), and Craig (Class of 1996)
In the spring of 1971, Troy and Kent Burke found themselves moving from their family home in Jamaica to Grand Cayman Island in the British West Indies. Their parents believed the beautiful twenty-two-mile island surrounded by white sandy beaches and turquoise blue water would provide a safer environment and greater opportunities for their family. The Burkes soon found this accurate as they were able to start successful businesses.
While Troy loved life on the island and the opportunities it provided, his parents wanted more for him and his brothers. Troy recalls that news was often delayed two or three days and that popular television shows often arrived on the island via VHS. “My family wanted us to understand that Cayman was not the world and to explore and learn more than Cayman Island life,” said Troy.
In 1981, the Burke family began to look at boarding schools in the United States as a means of increasing their sons exposure to the world and their educational opportunities. On the recommendation of an aunt and uncle who had recently moved to Clearwater, Florida, the Burke family discovered Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg and scheduled a visit. Troy recalls that upon arriving he quickly noticed how beautiful the school looked sitting across from Boca Ciega Bay with all the sailboating opportunities. Troy recalls his parents being impressed by the academic, extracurricular, and leadership opportunities Admiral Farragut Academy offered. The fact that there was family in the area made it clear that this was the school for them.
Kent started as a ninth grade international boarding student and Troy started as an eighth grader. Troy recalls the transition from the island to the Academy as “very smooth,” something Farragut still prides itself on today. He excelled in the new environment and became the lower school student who never lost sight of his goal to become Battalion Commander his senior year, which he accomplished in 1985-86. Troy takes pride to this day for achieving this goal. He embraces the profound impact which set the foundation of leadership and discipline that has served him as a successful entrepreneur and servant leader throughout his life. Troy and Kent were both followed by their younger brother, Craig, in 1994.
Troy remembers his time at Farragut as full of adventure, from “enjoying weekend trips to Busch Gardens and Booker Creek, to camping in the Everglades.” Living on campus, he developed close relationships with instructors such as the department head for math/science, Captain Sanders, and dorm supervisor, Mike Nicholson, who had a large impact on his life. “It was their passion to grow and mold the next generation to be the best young men (and now women) who will impact and serve their communities.” Troy feels indebted to these individuals, who were not just teachers in the classroom, but teachers in life.
Since his time at Farragut, Troy has built successful businesses in the Cayman Islands. He returned to the island after earning a degree from Stetson University and began working in his father’s commercial real estate and development business, Universal Equipment. Subsequently, he and his brothers joined together, along with their parents, to form the Burke family business, Heritage Holdings, which continues to thrive. Troy and Lisa also own and manage four successful Subway restaurants with plans to open a fifth location at the Cayman Islands Owen Roberts International Airport. Additionally, a successful accounting business and photographic studio make up the rest of their business portfolio.
“My family was completely committed to giving my brothers and I an excellent academic opportunity, one that has proved to be more than an education, but a foundation for life,” said Troy. “Farragut pushed me to attend college and I don’t believe I would have done so if not for the faculty and staff at Farragut.”
“Attending Farragut allowed me to broaden my worldview and to understand issues affecting my business even today.”
Troy said he will never forget a quote that Captain Orie T. Banks would often share and that left a deep impression on him, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”
The Second Generation of Burkes:
Cory (Class of 2016), Dylan (Class of 2018), and Sabrina (Class of 2021)
It should come as no surprise that Troy and his wife, Lisa, a community leader and respected accountant with her own accounting firm, also wanted to ensure the best education for their children. Lisa worked with each one of their children, Cory, Dylan, and Sabrina to identify where the children excelled. As they progressed through elementary and middle school, Lisa and Troy decided they would have better opportunities by attending private school overseas.
Troy and Lisa explored their options for their oldest child, Cory, who was a rising junior at the time. One day, Cory asked his parents if he could go to boarding school in Canada, a suggestion Lisa and Troy quickly pushed back on – it was a bit further than they wanted to be from their child. Troy fondly recalls what happened next, “Cory said, ‘Dad, I want to go to Admiral Farragut Academy where you graduated.” Troy was elated, but told his son, “You cannot just spring this on us, we have to plan and see if the opportunity is available.” He challenged Cory to complete all of the admissions paperwork if he really wanted to go. To Troy’s pleasant surprise, Cory had the paperwork filled out the very next day. “Cory showed the initiative that he really wanted this academic and leadership experience and to follow in my footsteps,” said Troy. Sending a child to boarding school is an investment, and although the Burke family had to sacrifice purchasing a new home at the time, they knew it was the right decision because of the impact Farragut had on Troy and his brothers.
Cory started at the Academy during his junior year and like his father found Farragut to be a welcoming place full of activity. During his time at Farragut, Cory took advantage of all that was offered and excelled in drill, earned his Master Diver scuba certification, played on the tennis team, honed his sailing skills, and was a member of the color guard. As a result of his hard work and dedication, Cory graduated in 2016 with honors and a scholarship to attend Stetson University. He was subsequently offered a scholarship to attend the University of Tampa where he is currently working on his undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurship. Recently, Cory, along with several other Farragut alumni, served as camp counselors with a former Farragut science and diving instructor, Mr. Davenport.
Throughout his two years at Farragut, Cory would return home every holiday break and share with his siblings stories of his weekend trips, adventures on the bay, his favorite faculty and staff mentors, and the hands-on learning he was experiencing. In 2016, Dylan (Class of 2018) followed Cory to Admiral Farragut for his junior year. Initially, Dylan recalls being in his brother’s shadow, but states, “I quickly became my own individual.” Dylan immersed himself into life at Farragut and became a Regimental Officer, served on the drill team, became a member of both the National Honors Society and Spanish National Honors Society, and earned his Master Diver Scuba Certification.
Dylan graduated this past May with honors, received several scholarship opportunities, and enrolled at Eckerd College this fall to study Environmental Studies with a minor in Business Management. Dylan was encouraged by Mr. Sadler to attend because he also went to Eckerd and the college’s science program is highly regarded. (Henry Sadler replaced Mike Nicholson after his retirement in 2018).
As their boys progressed through high school life at Farragut, Lisa and Troy wanted their daughter, Sabrina, to receive the Farragut Experience as well. Desiring their daughter to have a full four years at Farragut and as many opportunities as possible, Sabrina started as a freshman in the fall of 2017 and will graduate in 2021. Sabrina’s own transition, like her father and brothers before her, was smooth, aided by the fact she had older brother, Dylan, to help her adapt to boarding school life. Sabrina quickly came into her own, excelling in extracurricular and academic activities, volunteering in the community, being part of the drill team and “making lifelong friends from all over the world.”
It’s About Honor, Tradition, and Legacy for the Burke Family
For Kent ‘85, Troy ‘86, Craig ‘96, Cory ‘16, Dylan ‘18, and Sabrina ‘21, Farragut has become more than an education, but a home away from home and an extended family. Troy still remains in contact with lifelong friends made at Farragut, including his roommate, Stuart Brown (also class of 1986). Stuart and Troy remained roommates throughout college and continue to get together with their families as much as they can. The Burkes fondly recall instructors who devoted their lives to theirs such as Mike Nicholson, who taught Troy, Cory, and Dylan about science and life, and Henry Sadler who continues the tradition today.
Although not an alumna herself, Lisa feels a special connection to Farragut and the lifelong lesson of working hard and setting family goals that Farragut embraces. Lisa shared, “It’s amazing when you are at a family event and see multiple generations of Farragut alumni including my husband, brothers-in-law, and my children, coming together to talk and share their Farragut experiences.”
“It’s amazing how one school can have such a lasting legacy and impact so many generations.”
The Burkes want their children to find their passion and to make a difference wherever they feel called – on the island, in the States, or beyond. Troy and Lisa are thrilled to watch how the Farragut Experience of education, leadership, lifelong friendships and connections across the globe will influence the lives of Cory, Dylan, and Sabrina as they get older.