Sue Elliott(’58) Colonel Carl Ward(’58) Max Elliott (’58)
The Association grew from work begun by Max (’58) and Sue Elliott in 1999 after Max heard from a classmate, Jay Seitz (’58), and Carl Schaefer, Jr. (’59), that Carl’s father was interested in gathering information about former FMS cadets. Mr. Schaefer, Sr., was an early investor in the school with Colonel Ward. Max and Sue were joined by Thornton Ridinger (’59) and discovered a parallel effort by Robert Mouro (’66), Tim Tyndall (’68) and Andy Staley (’68). Tim and Andy had posted some information on early websites and Andy found, scanned and posted every page of every yearbook for every year – a considerable effort and costly, too, as programs to do that sort of thing were expensive! Remember, this was in the early day of the medium we all take for granted today as the Internet – the World Wide Web. Suddenly, anyone could share and gather information on a vastly more efficient scale. As the former cadets (and, don’t forget, Sue) found classmates through the internet, the two groups pooled their resources and began to produce real results at finding former cadets and faculty members. A first reunion was organized for December, 2001, which brought nearly 100 former cadets and faculty members together for the first time and planning began in earnest for “The Lollapalooza”, the first true all-class reunion in October, 2002.
The story is best told first-hand by Max, Jerry Alleyne (’57) and others through the Newsletters and on Andy’s early website. In the early issues you will find stories of real devotion to the shared experience of all the former cadets, faculty and staff of a truly remarkable institution. The early days of our association were full of enthusiasm – former cadets, friends, spouses and a patron or two pitched in to form, first, an executive steering committee, then work began to form a legal entity, the Florida Military School Association. Pete Kramer and Ingo Kozak (both from the class of ’60) and others helped materially in those early days.
Our school experience was merely a slice in time in our own histories but the lessons learned and the principles taught carried forward, even to today, in the lives of those who lived that brief period in temporary barracks built by the Navy to last a lifetime.