The group completed nearly two months of hands-on “getting to know Farragut” classes, governmental meetings and volunteer hours at Farragut Intermediate School before “graduating” during a program Wednesday Nov. 6 at Fox Den Country Club.
Among the enthusiastic class members were life-long Town residents Jeff Pinchok and Stephanie Clark, recent Farragut transplants Bill and Sandy McAdams, local television personality Whitney Kent and Farragut museum volunteers Todd Klepper, Annie Judkins and Ed McGimsey. Other class members were Ashley Lynch, Vikki Felts and Jeff Ullian.
“I loved the class,” said Kent, who works at WVLT-TV, Channel 8, where she hosts a daily show, “Moms Everyday,” and also serves as the station’s Community Affairs coordinator.
She said the class helped her with contacts and story ideas, and she learned about different ways WVLT can get involved in community activities and better publicize events.
“I feel like I’m a Farragut ambassador and can educate people who don’t understand what Farragut is all about,” added Kent, who has lived in Farragut for seven years with her husband, Joe Book.
“It also made me really proud to live in the community. There’s so much good happening in the Town and it’s nice to hear about it, especially when news isn’t always positive!”
Clark said she, too “loved” the classes and “learned a lot.
“The book we read, (‘Full Speed Ahead’ written by former farragutpress general assignment reporter Heather Mays) was really interesting on how it described the events that happened to create the Town.”
“They worked so hard,” Felts added. “We take it for granted today, but all those folks worked so hard because they really loved their community.”
The McAdams’ moved to Farragut from Kingsport in July, and quickly became involved with Intro to Farragut, which started in August.
“We joined the program to learn and seek opportunities to contribute to our new home,” Bill McAdams asid. “The program was outstanding for us because we learned a great deal of the history and current situation of Farragut.”
“We were very impressed with the vision, commitment and professionalism of the people including employees, elected officials, and volunteers,” he added.
“A highlight … was to understand the responsibilities, funding, and services of the Town of Farragut versus Knox County.”
“I learned a lot about how decisions are made,” Klepper said. “One thing that was really surprising to me was finding out how the school system is funded. I didn’t know Farragut (schools) get a lot less money per child (than many other Knox County schools) because none of our children are considered at risk.”
“We also heard lots of great speakers,” said Judkins, who noted a field trip took the group to the Campbell Station Inn, First Utility District Wastewater Treatment Plant and Town Public Works headquarters, among other locations.
“But the best part was learning how the government works here in Farragut, so we can explain it to our guests who visit the museum,” she added.
Pinchok, whose father is Farragut Alderman Ron Pinchok, said he took the class because, “after living here for 30 years, I wanted to know more about the community.
“I really learned a lot that I didn’t know.”
Town Administrator David Smoak credited Jennifer Hatmaker’s efforts in overseeing the program.
“The class could not get done without Jenn Hatmaker,” Smoak said