The History of Admiral Farragut Academy
Founded in 1933 on the banks of the Toms River in Pine Beach, New Jersey, Admiral Farragut Academy was a college preparatory, military-style school named after Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, the first U.S. Naval officer to rise to that rank. During Farragut's first 12 years, the school became so popular that a second campus was purchased in 1945 on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is the only campus open today.
The school has changed and grown a lot by adding day students, an elementary school, and girls. Today, the southern campus continues many of the naval high school traditions, but focuses most importantly focuses on the character development to create well-rounded, resilient young men and women who are emotionally mature when they matriculate to college.
The school is named after David Glasgow Farragut (July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) who was a flag officer of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and admiral in the United States Navy. He is remembered in popular culture for his order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, usually paraphrased: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" by U.S. Navy tradition.
Admiral Farragut Academy was founded in Pine Beach, New Jersey and opened as a boys only military and college preparatory boarding school serving grades 5-12 (Middle & High School). It was located in an old hotel called the "Pine Beach Inn" on Toms River.
On October 1, 1938, the Admiral Farragut Academy Alumni Association was officially organized and William Toroni, Class of 1934N, was elected as the association's first president. The small alumni office kept the organization alive during WWII by correspondence and mailing of the school newsletter, The Capstan.
Admiral Farragut Academy is one of only two Honor Naval Academies in the United States. The school is designated by an Act of Congress and reaccredited each year by the Department of the Navy.
The officer in charge of our Naval Science Program has the authority each year to make the following nominations: 6 nominations to the U.S. Naval Academy, 5 nominations to the U.S. Air Force Academy, and 3 nominations to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
In 1944 Farragut expands and purchases a second campus located on the waterfront with 35-acres in St. Petersburg, Florida. It opened for school in January 1945.
Alan Shepard, Class of 1941 from the Pine Beach, New Jersey campus, becomes first American in space in 1961.
In 1971 he is our first alumnus to walk on the moon as the Spacecraft Commander of Apollo 14!
At the beginning of the 1968-69 school year, the Board of Trustees made a decision to officially accept day students, contrary to the original concept of Farragut as an all-boarding student, private military prep school.
Charles Duke, Jr., Class of 1953 from the St Petersburg, Florida campus, walks on the moon as the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 16.
It was a year long event of activities on the New Jersey campus which included an outdoor concert, anniversary convocation and reception, special parade, and commencement 1984 was the concluding major event. All living members of the Class of 1984 were awarded 50 year special diplomas.
The flight program on the southern campus has existed as an extra-curricular program since the early days of opening in 1945. With the assistance of qualified instructor pilot Christina Branch, the Aviation Program was revamped in 1987 and continues today as an academic class covering aerodynamics, aircraft design, weather, navigation, model building, rocketry, private pilot operations, cross-country flight planning, and more.
Students spend three class periods a day receiving ground lab training and flight instruction at a local towered airport. Many Aviation students earn their Private Pilot License prior to high school graduation.
To date, more than 300 students have received some form of flight instruction from Farragut's Aviation Academy.
In 1989 female students were first accepted to Farragut as day students and in 1990 they were allowed to begin boarding at the school.
Pictured is one of our first females at the Southern Campus. Katie Everlove-Stone was also the first female to matriculate from 5th grade to graduation.
On November 5, 1992, the City Council of the City of St. Petersburg, Florida passed a resolution designating Admiral Farragut Academy (the Farragut Hall building) as a local historic landmark.
Farragut Hall was originally a hotel built by Walter Fuller in 1925 called the Jungle Country Club & Hotel. The hotel rooms on the second and third floors were converted into dorm rooms and the first floor was converted into administrative offices.
The northern campus in Pine Beach, New Jersey closes after an unfortunate decrease in enrollment. The southern campus remains open and still trys to keep in contact with all Pine Beach alumni members.
The first female, Kari Graham who graduated in 1996, is chosen as battalion commander since the school went coeducational in 1990.
CAPT Robert J. Fine Jr. has been with Admiral Farragut Academy since 1989 and has served in many capacities including Teacher, Coach, Dormitory Supervisor, Middle Division Head and Assistant Headmaster. He has served in his current position as Headmaster of Admiral Farragut Academy since 1998.
Established in the fall of 1999, the Elementary School consisted of 26 children in two classes - kindergarten, and a first-second combination class. The Elementary School now serves grades PreK-5th.
The Admiral Farragut Academy Museum was dedicated as The Alvin R. Wagner, Jr. Memorial Museum because of Wagners life-long support of Farragut. When Wagner passed away in 1994 he had bequethed a portion of his estate towards financial aid. The Alumni Museum officially opened in 1999 but was moved to a new (and its current) building in 2008. It displays yearbooks, photographs, historical artifacts and more. You should check it out!
2004-2005 was the first school year Farragut offered a 5-Day Boarding Program in which students return home to their parents or stay with a local relative every weekend and only live at the school Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon.
In April of 2009, Admiral Farragut Academy has had 75 graduating classes and celebrated with a weeklong large gathering at the Southern campus which included parades, fireworks, special operations command parachute team drop onto football field, laser light show, Navy Band Jacksonville performance, Charlie Duke presentation, school drama performnace, and more!
Researched and written by Richard G. Wheeler 87'H and Dale Mitchell, Ed.D. This is a compilation of photographs, memories, and history of our Pine Beach, New Jersey campus and our St. Petersburg, Florida campus.
Admiral Farragut Academy’s campus was selected as the location for the Veteran’s Hospital in the 3-D Warner Brother's film, Dolphin Tale. The students, faculty, and staff were able to watch the transformation of campus, filming of scenes, and some were even hired as extras! Some of the famous actors/actresses on campus were: Morgan Freeman, Nathan Gamble, Ashley Judd, and Austin Stowell.
The football program, which debuted in 1945, had gone through some tribulations but in the fall of 2011 our varsity football team made it to the Class 2A state championship game (Citrus Bowl in Orlando) against North Florida Christian. It was the first time a team in Pinellas County had advanced to the final in 16 years. Unfortunately we did not win the championship.
A day and boarding school with an average of 80 students in the Elementary School which includes grades PreK to 5th grade (day students only), an average of 75 students in the Middle School which includes grades 6 to 8 (day and boarding), and an average of 230 students in the High School which includes grades 9 to 12 (day and boarding).