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Valued Voices
Exciting Choices

Layla Mersel '21

North Carolina State University

“When I leave Norfolk Academy, smiling at people walking by and holding the door for others will have become second nature to me. I feel comfortable meeting new people and forging connections based on respect.” 

Chesapeake Bay Fellow, Varsity Softball, Sci-Fi Club, AfterCare Counselor, Fall Play 

Favorite Refectory Meal: Vegan chicken nuggets 

What I Will Miss Most About Norfolk Academy: Having classes with my friends 

Beyond the Classroom 
One of my favorite memories is Fine Arts Day. I had never been able to cram an art class into my busy schedule, but having an entire day dedicated to the arts made me realize I love to create. I remember a feeling of pure enjoyment during the face painting workshop; I was totally in the zone. 

Inspirational Teacher-Coach 
Dr. Kidd is a teacher who supported me both in and out of the classroom. He is one of my biggest cheerleaders and would encourage me to pursue my interests, which helped grow my confidence. Through times both good and bad, he is always somebody I can turn to. 

Making My Mark 
I feel I have impacted Norfolk Academy most with the “Water Bottle Fish” sculpture I made in Chesapeake Bay Fellows. Giving my classmates a visual representation of where their plastic waste goes will encourage them to be more mindful of the waste they produce in the future. 

A Word of Advice to my Fellow Bulldogs 
Norfolk Academy is a school that aims to set you up for incredible success in life. However, the only standards you need to meet are those set by yourself, so enjoy the ride, stay open-minded, and push yourself to grow in the things that make you happiest. 

A Quick Word About Layla 
“Layla is such good company in a class that every classmate and teacher near her learns more and gains from the experience. I have been struck particularly by how Layla challenges herself and how she is able to push her perspectives beyond what her peers normally have found familiar…. I have had special admiration for how Layla has handled perspectives counter to her own and helped those around her to do better and to think more broadly and to see how opening up to new ideas will only strengthen everyone involved. She is a true academic Wonder Woman.” ~ Dr. David Kidd, Layla’s English Teacher 

The thing that most makes me a Bulldog is…spirit.