Principal Weston Edmonds worked with assistant principal Brandon White on the project, which they began in the school year before the COVID-19 pandemic and were able to finally complete this past summer.
At the centerpiece is a newly-repurposed display case holding two deck plates and a deck cleat from the U.S.S. Hartford, the Admiral’s ship during the Civil War and the site of his famous battle cry, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” when he captured Mobile Bay.
“We have had all three for a while,” said Edmonds, who noted the deck plates are on loan from the U.S. Navy.
“And we had the case, but we refinished it to hold these items so they could be displayed appropriately.”
Edmonds sanded the case, Knox County Schools provided the glass and White added new pieces of wood.
Also new are two wall placards, one detailing Admiral Farragut and his accomplishments, the other summarizing Farragut Middle School and the community.
“Personally for me, this was really important because I was a history/social studies teacher back in the day, and having these things, and being able to see the ‘why’ and ‘where’ puts it in the context of our school and community,” Edmonds said.
“As a history buff, this has been really neat for me to be able to dive deeper into knowing more about our school and community,” White said.
A large cardboard cutout of Admiral Farragut already was located in the lobby and is positioned on one side of the new display case. Another taller case is on the other side, holding a statue of Admiral Farragut, along with implements from ships, which have borne his name — including a sextant from the third ship in use between 1934-1945.
The display is just part of a larger interior facelift administrators have been overseeing inside the school.
“Overall, we had started with some murals and statements encouraging student motivation, but we wanted to tie into our history,” White said. “It is a big picture thing to pull in Farragut, and letting not just our students, but also our community, know what we have here.”
“People and kids may not know why Farragut was so important, but they need to know what made us,” Edmonds added.