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Farragut High School Changes with the times

From chalkboards to white boards to Smart Boards, Farragut High School has undergone many changes over the last 20 years; but the main objective — providing a quality education — has remained the same.

Wanda Lacy and Brenda McGrath, members of the FHS Math Department for more than 20 years, sat down with farragutpress to reminisce about times gone by.

“Twenty years ago we had a chalk board and an overhead projector,” Lacy said. “And now, we have Smart Boars, graphing calculators and all kinds of things we didn’t have then.”

“Forget Smart Board, we didn’t even have white boards,” McGrath added.

Now with at least one computer in each classroom, e-books in the library, the capability to host Web Classes for other Knox County Schools and a new, state of the art science lab, Farragut High School is on the cutting edge of technology.

Although the majority of the 1988 faculty has retired or moved on, there are still a few faculty members who remain.

Besides McGrath and Lacy, there are John Ayala, Carol Bray, Marilyn Carico, Lynn Cole, Sue Howard, Leslie Howe, Benny Lyle, David Moore, Susan Owen, Alice Thornton, Sandy Willis and Eddie Courtney. Doris Gordon has moved from the Business Department to curriculum principal and Ruth Lane has left the Math Department to become a guidance counselor. Bill Parker and Sharon Fishbauch have gone on to positions downtown with the Knox County Board of Education.

McGrath said she believes teachers now are held to a higher standard of accountability than they were 20 years ago.

“We are in the age of accountability, and that is not a bad thing, but there is much more paperwork that we must do now than we did then,” McGrath said.

“We also have more kids going into [Advanced Placement] classes than before. We offer more now and you do not have to mainstream them into certain classes. If they are interested in math, they can take that, or if they are interested in English, they can take that. I think there are many more A-P classes than there were in 1988,” she added.

“And there is more preparation for higher level college classes now. We learned, as we went along, that it was important for our kids to have higher A-C-T scores and we learned how to prepare them for that.

One very visible change over the last 20 years is parking. In 1988 there were approximately 350 student parking spaces. The problem was temporarily solved by opening a commercial gravel lot in the area where the paved junior parking lot now exists. Students wishing to park in the lot had to pay $1.50 per day to park and seniors had to buy a $20 parking pass to park in the senior lot in order to offset the cost of the security guard to man the gravel lot.

Now juniors and seniors buy a yearly $35 parking pass and underclassmen with a driver’s license park in the Kroger parking lot.

1988 saw some landmarks for the sports teams as well.

The 1987-88 Admirals football team trounced the Rival Bearden Bulldogs 75-7. It was said that at one point during the game Farragut fans, out of sympathy for Bulldog fans, began cheering for Bearden. The Lady Ads Varsity Basketball team claimed the title of Co-Champions of District 4-AAA and the boys varsity baseball team defeated Maryville in both district and regional championship games and made it to state.

Brenda McGrath coached the Admirals swim team to its only state championship in the team’s history, while her daughter, Jenny McGrath, and teammate Donny Dicer, qualified for the National Junior Olympic Swim Meet.

Since 1988 FHS has added academies to its curriculum in math, science, foreign language and art and plans to add a Renaissance Academy this year for those with multifaceted interest.

The Law Team has recently been replaced by a criminal justice course taught by former New York Policeman Guy DeMarco.

It has been an interesting ride for the last 20 years but there is no doubt Farragut High School will continue to grow and stay one step ahead of the game in our ever-changing world.


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