For the Farragut High School Class of 2021, this year has yielded some disappointments. But a new Senior Board is looking to a brighter day when audiences can once again gather in the school auditorium, and they want them to be comfortable.
In January, the Senior Board, made up of a teacher from each department and approximately 25 seniors who were voted on by the teachers, will begin “selling” seats in the school’s auditorium. The goal is to replace 800 orchestra-level seats that are original to the school, which was built in 1976.
The idea, strangely enough, came from a rival school – Bearden. Farragut principal John Bartlett was principal at Bearden in 2016, when the school’s Senior Committee raised money to replace their auditorium seats. It was Bartlett who suggested to the Farragut staff that a group of seniors be assembled to work on a gift from the class to the school.
Social Studies teacher Angela Breeding is on the Senior Board. The senior class used to give a gift to the school, but it was years ago, she says. She’s glad the tradition is coming back. The students care about the school and are willing to work to leave it in a better place.
“They need a place to be proud of,” she says.
The board gathered for a brainstorming session on what the gift should be. To get the conversation started, Bartlett shared Bearden’s project to renovate its auditorium. The group decided it was a good idea, says Jack Hollis, a student member of the board who is enthusiastic about the project.
“Farragut High School is an excellent school, and I have amazing memories. Every year, it gets better and better. We just want to give back to the school.”
The students will reach out to current students, alumni and local businesses that want to invest in the community. Each new seat will cost $199, which includes a name plate so that buyers can identify “their” seat once renovations are complete. Breeding thinks it will be especially fun for alumni who live locally to purchase seats so their children can see them when they get to FHS. She hopes auditorium rehab will also include fresh paint and carpet.
She’s concerned that Covid will negatively impact the students’ efforts to work on the project in the spring, but says the work will continue into the fall if necessary. She wants the 2021 Senior Board to come back to celebrate after the new seats are installed. Plans are in the works for a reception to honor donors and students and celebrate the refreshed space.
“It will be nice when this Covid mess is over to have a nice place to gather,” she says.
A link to the site for purchasing seats will be available at knoxschools.org/farraguths in late January.
Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.