Kick Off Event a Huge Success to Launch the Capital Campaign

L-R: Mark Salebra, Lanie Salebra, and Heather Mariscal

On the evening of Thursday, November 17th the West Lounge of Farragut Hall was the center stage for the Kick Off Event for the Capital Campaign to raise $4 million dollars for The New Building on campus.

Admiral Farragut Academy, which has been ranked in the top military schools in the country, has become recognized for its strong academics and programs in leadership, aviation, engineering, marine science, and scuba. The proposed 20,000 square foot building will be a welcome addition to the already beautiful campus, providing space for a much needed auditorium to hold assemblies, and host speakers, along with classroom space and office space. There will also be a trickle down effect, freeing up desperately needed classroom space for the Upper School and providing for additional dorm room space in Farragut Hall.

L-R: Casey McKee ’21, Ansley Fine ’21, and Bianca DeSilva ’20

Over 120 attendees enjoyed the delicious spread of food prepared by our own Sage Dining Services and the lovely music by Upper School cadets: Bianca DeSilva on the clarinet, Ansley Fine and Casey McKee on the flute, and Mitchell Lewis on the trumpet.

Speakers included a welcome and introduction by Headmaster, Robert J. Fine, Jr. who spoke about the need for this building. “This will be transformative to our campus. This is the first step in building the New Farragut. We have evolved and have had to reinvent ourselves and change with the times,” said Fine.

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Christian Wagner ‘82, said, “It is more than academics that make the school what it is, it is what I call the ‘Farragut Effect.’” Wagner, who serves as the CEO and CIO of Longview Capital Management, said he credits much of his success to his time at Farragut. “Farragut gave me a lot of focus and clarity.” He is proud of his alma mater and is confident the campaign will be a success and the new building will come to fruition.

Dr. Tonjua Williams, member of Farragut’s Board of Directors, who serves as the Vice President of Student Affairs at St. Petersburg College said, “This campaign is more than just the building and the bricks and mortar, but it is what happens inside the building that will change lives.” Williams grew up in the economically challenged area of Jordan Park in St. Petersburg and remembers the effect of a single building, Sidney Harden’s Grocery Store. Williams said, “I didn’t even know it was a store, the love I got there and the people who told me I was going to make it was what made that building.” Similarly she feels the new building for our campus will do the same for our students.

The Capital Campaign Chair and Board Member, Jake Jacobus, said, “I am confident the campaign will eclipse its goal before the end of 2017.” Jacobus, whose son Scott graduated from Farragut eight years ago, knows firsthand how the school transforms lives. Jacobus announced with much fanfare that the campaign had already raised $2.1 of the $4 million dollar goal prior to the launch that evening.

Art Musicaro ‘73 and Treasurer of the Board of Directors spoke about the true value of the Farragut education. He also gave kudos to Farragut’s Board of Directors whose members have all stepped up to donate or make a pledge to the new building starting with the first commitment from Board Member, Gary Damkoehler, and his wife, Gail, which set the tone. The Damkoehler’s have four grandchildren who have attended, or are attending Farragut.

The Parents Committee was represented by speaker Dr. Camille T. Fine who has a son graduating in May and a daughter in 8th grade. Fine reflected on where the school has come during her 27 year affiliation. “When I first came to Farragut, girls were being admitted for the first time that year, there was no lower school, the northern campus was still open, and boarding started in 5th grade, there was no air-conditioning in Farragut Hall, no lights on the football field, and I believe someone had to manually hang numbers on the scoreboard. In the years that have transpired, Admiral Farragut Academy has evolved into a truly remarkable community that I feel so blessed to have my children be a part of. Now the school’s marketing motto, “Only at Farragut” refers to tremendous diversity of ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses; multi-age and cross-curricular activities and projects; unique state-of-the-art programs like marine science, scuba and aviation; and less tangible elements like giving everyone who wishes an opportunity to participate in athletics, or the arts, or whatever their hearts desire.”

“Tonight,” said Dr. Fine, “I stand before you ecstatic about what is yet to come. We are being presented with the opportunity to shape Admiral Farragut Academy’s future. Your commitment to this project will not only enhance the Farragut experience for our students, it will leave a legacy!”


Other large donors already committed to the project include:

• Lisa Vickers and the Speer Family Foundation

• Jean-François and Patricia Rossignol

• Bob and Claudia and Sokolowski

• Ed ‘67 and Wanda DeSeta

• Christian W. ‘82 and Lisa Wagner

• Robert and Diane Klingel

• Gary and Gail Damkoehler

• CAPT Robert and Mrs. Anita Fine

• Jake and Ingrid Jacobus

• David ‘61 and Dottie Arms

• Jon and Wendy Covington

• Art ‘73 and Vicky Musicaro

• Drs. Camille Fine and Brett Schlifstein

• Matt ‘92 and Jenn Sokolowski

• Bill Roberti

• Dan Baker