In the world of casino gaming, seven is the lucky number so it only seems fitting that just a few miles north of Atlantic City this past weekend, we hosted one of our most successful Pine Beach Reunions for the seventh straight year!
What made this weekend a success can only be told by the numbers.
For starters, 90 alumni and friends gathered at the Lamp Post Inn on Friday evening, 14 golfers enjoyed the links at Sea Oaks Country Club, and 18 attendees had fun at Shooters Gun Range on Saturday. The weekend event culminated on Saturday evening at the Sea Oaks Country Club where 107 guests enjoyed a fabulous dinner and program. The group included large groups from classes that have either never attended or only attended in small numbers.
- The most senior alumnus in attendance: Don Schreiber ‘46N (Even had a chance to take his first selfie with Terri Rekus ‘94N)
- Alumnus who traveled the furthest: Mike Harris ‘76N and his wife, Edda, joined us from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Attendees by Class:
- 1940s: 5
- 1950s: 17
- 1960s: 19
- 1970s: 34
- 1980s: 25
- 1990s: 14
- Class with the largest attendance: 16 from the Class of 1976
For the grand finale, our dinner guests enjoyed a remarkable speech delivered by CAPT Eugene Paluso II ’85N, USN (Ret), Commandant of Cadets, The Citadel.
Speaking to a group that included classmates he had not seen since graduating in 1985, Paluso, a decorated officer in the U.S. Navy and a member of SEAL Team 3, highlighted the fact while the north campus “may only have the flagpole, the football field and the supply building still standing, but the heart and soul of the school lives on with the foundation that has helped carry us through the rest of our lives.”
His message resonated from the shores of Pine Beach back to the waterfront of the St. Petersburg campus.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Farragut North or Farragut South, the young men and young women who go to Farragut today are the exact same as we were. Some went for the academics, some went for the regimented style, some went because their family members had attended, some went for the discipline. Whatever the reason, we all came away with the same thing — a great education, lifelong friendships, lifelong lessons and a foundation for life.”
Paluso also mentioned how the Farragut way of life propelled him — and fellow graduates, Jeff Smith and Paul Calcagno — to a successful tenure at The Citadel that would ultimately lead to him taking on the arduous journey as a U.S. Navy SEAL.
“The Citadel is very regimented and coming from Farragut, we had a leg up on our classmates. Just like at Farragut, you realize the importance of a support network and I had it there with Jeff and Paul. Whether it was knowing how to shine our shoes, square our meals, how to march, we were able to succeed where others failed early on. It continued when I became a SEAL. It wasn’t about myself. It was the same feeling you get going to Farragut.”
In closing, he finished with a statement that could very well be repeated by every Farragut graduate.
“I realized this wasn’t just about a reunion speech. This was an opportunity to say thank you to my family for pushing me on the bus to Toms River. It made me a better student, person, and man. Thank you!”
For all 2016 attendees, those who have attended in the past, and those that have not, we would really appreciate your feedback and input.