Admiral’s Gala calls attention to need for updates at FHS

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

Farragut residents are proud of their schools, and for good reason. Farragut High School was ranked ninth in the state in 2018 by U.S. News & World Report, an accolade that reflects well on all Farragut schools.


Good schools do more than educate students. They attract new residents and are a source of hometown pride. That’s why FHS principal Ryan Siebe wants the community to invest in much-needed updates at the school.

Farragut schools are among 88 funded by Knox County. The town of Farragut also gives an annual gift to each Farragut school. Last year, FHS received a total of $34,000 – a significant amount for a small municipality with no property tax, but not nearly enough for a large-scale renovation.

According to Siebe, FHS had a $6 million renovation eight years ago that included permanent walls (to replace folding walls that were part of the original open-classroom setup), new lockers and bathroom updates. That means the county is unlikely to spring for additional upgrades anytime soon. But the outdated building doesn’t reflect the quality of what goes on inside, he says.

“It’s not where we are as a school. Fifty-five percent of our students will take AP exams this year, which is a testament to the caliber of our students and educators. We need a facility that matches what we’re trying to do.”

Right now, Siebe and the school’s PTSA are focused on improving the school’s library. It’s a student hub in spite of outdated furniture, he says. Kids eat lunch there even though there’s no comfortable seating.

Proceeds from the upcoming Admiral’s Gala will go toward new furniture for the library. The event is at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at Riverview Family Farm. Dinner by Seasons Innovative Grill, a performance by Whiskey Compass and a silent auction are included in the $50 ticket price. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

But Siebe’s vision for fundraising goes beyond an annual gala. A major donor program is in the works, he says. He’d like to see improvements to the school’s auditorium, as well as a second gymnasium to accommodate multiple team practices.

“This can’t be a one-time thing. For Farragut (high school) to be what it needs to be, we need continuous support.”

Many FHS alums have found success locally and now send their kids to Farragut schools. Others have gone out into the wide world and prospered. If you or your kids have benefited from Farragut’s excellent schools, this is the time to show your appreciation.

The larger community should also feel compelled to make Farragut schools the best they can be, regardless of whether or not their children attend. Oak Ridge and the University  of Tennessee attract highly educated employees every day, and Farragut’s combination of good schools and beautiful neighborhoods is a big draw. For Farragut to flourish, we need new residents to buy homes and spend money here.

To buy tickets to the Admiral’s Gala click here.

For information about sponsorship, email marynussbaum@ymail.com or oglejean@gmail.com.

Wendy Smith coordinates marketing and public relations for the town of Farragut.

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