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Portrait of a Graduate

Norfolk Academy graduates step toward the next stage of their learning journey with the moral principles, spiritual awareness, knowledge, and skills that prepare them to lead in creating a world that is better tomorrow than it is today.

They have been shaped by the school’s ideal of citizenship, one that interweaves integrity, service, and disciplined curiosity. Their commitment to principled action arises from learning in a community shaped by an Honor System, the taproot of the school’s culture. Their belief in the primacy of service has been nurtured through an organized community service program, beginning in first grade, that seeks to inculcate compassion and “unselfishness of thought and action” not merely as fine aspirations, but as ingrained habits of daily life. As their journey unfolds, our graduates forge strong bonds with their teacher-coaches and with their peers; these relationships of mutual respect and appreciation teach them the skills for building and sustaining vibrant friendships throughout their lives.
Their view of learning as a lifelong enterprise, central to leadership in our globally-connected world, comes from maturing at a school where their teachers encourage questioning and depth of investigation. Our graduates approach learning as an integrated endeavor—one that encompasses reading, problem-solving, research, and real-world experiences. As self-motivated individuals, they embrace the dynamic power of technology to fuel collaboration, exploration, and innovative ideas. Through the school’s structured approach to public speaking, our graduates acquire confidence, matched with a sense of responsibility, to use their voices to advance ideas and shape a more just society. Finally, our graduates find satisfaction in hard work, recognizing that meaningful achievements and discoveries come about only through persistent effort.
Our graduates are committed to living healthy lives, a value cultivated through the school’s athletic program, beginning with daily physical education in Lower School, and they appreciate the power of the arts to elevate the mind, body, and spirit, an understanding that reflects the school’s emphasis on participation in music, visual arts, dance, and drama. They perceive beauty, both in humanity’s creations and in Nature, which is our source of greatest inspiration, and they are committed to living in a way that preserves the earth. They embrace the diversity of the world—peoples, cultures, and geography—and they are committed to exploring, not only through travel, but also through listening to others’ stories with profound interest.
Norfolk Academy’s chartering in 1728 gives the school’s graduates a distinctive perspective; they are part of an historic institution that has been educating Americans who have helped lead the nation in all fields of endeavor and through many times of crisis and renewal. Our graduates are inspired by the school’s resilience and its ability to respond to the nation’s needs, and in the school’s story, they find strength and stamina to fuel their own individual life journeys.
Norfolk Academy graduates leave the school with a sense that there is much to be done in the world, and they are uniquely equipped for the challenge.