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Bonefish benefit nets funds for FHS

Farragut High School Education Foundation and the FHS PTSO hosted a fund-raising dinner Saturday, April 15, at the new Bonefish Grill restaurant located at Colonial Pinnacle in the Turkey Creek Shopping Center on Parkside Drive.

The proceeds raised at this event, totaling more $12,500, will go to the Education Foundation’s “Friends of Farragut High School” Capital Campaign to raise $100,000 over two years for equipment needed to renovate and refurbish the FHS science labs. Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, announced that Knox County would work to provide an additional $250,000 needed for building renovations to the FHS science wing.

“I was pleased to be part of the fund-raiser event at Bonefish Grill to kick off the Farragut High Education Foundation’s Business Campaign,” Ragsdale said. “This situation at Farragut High comes at a time when viable science lab facilities and equipment are needed both to attract students to the sciences and to advance their education in current and rapidly advancing ideas, techniques, and equipment.

“Knox County has budgeted fifteen million dollars over three years to meet special school capital needs and I consider the situation with the F-H-S Science labs to be a crisis that must be addressed immediately. That is why I pledged to recommend to the school board that the two hundred and-fifty-thousand dollars needed for capital improvements to the lab’s infrastructure come from the five million dollar special county appropriation for two thousand six and seven.”

An estimated $350,000 in funding is projected to be necessary to renovate and furnish the science wing of Farragut High School to a state-of-the-art facility. The assessment and recommendations were made by the FHS Science Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr. Lee Riedinger, associate laboratory director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and made up of members of the scientific community in Oak Ridge, representatives of the University of Tennessee and other science and technology institutions and companies in the area.

Mayor Ragsdale has pledged to do his part to fund the $250,000 in capital infrastructure needs for the FHS science wing, and “for our part of this public/private partnership, the FHS Education Foundation has pledged to raise the hundred thousand dollar funding for equipment and furnishings,” said Brian Sellers, FHS Education Foundation president.

Sellers added, “Now we need the support of local companies and institutions with an interest in seeing us succeed — especially those involved in science applications, or whose employees’ children attend FHS, as well as those who benefit from Farragut High School’s proud tradition of academic excellence. This project must not be a minimal stop-gap solution, but must result in the best science facility we can create in the existing space.”

Sellers went on to applaud Bonefish Grill for its generosity, and presented Dave Levins, managing partner of the Bonefish Grill, with the first “Friends of Farragut High School” certificate.

Approximately 250 guests paid $25 per ticket to sample the cuisine offered by Bonefish Grill. The dinner was followed by a live auction of donated goods and services, conducted by Knox County Commissioner John Griess, who served as auctioneer.

Auctioned items included a 10-person dinner party at Bonefish Grill, a fly-fishing trip in the Smokies by Little River Outfitters, a two night stay at Blackberry Farms and many other items. The liveliest bidding came for a dinner to be prepared by FHS principal Michael Reynolds, which went for $1,000.

“My wife didn’t know what a bargain she was getting all these years,” Reynolds said afterward. 

Several student groups added to the fun of the evening, including the FHS Jazz Trio, consisting of Jeff Edlund, Josh Howard and Noland Gross; cheerleaders and dance team; and Student Government Association members. Sellers also added his thanks to event organizers Ellen Hubrig, FHS PTSO President-elect, and Andy Wade, Foundation business relations chairman and FSG Bank branch manager, as well as PTSO Co-Presidents Jocelyn Brodd and Anita Brittain.


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