Every Grandparents’ Day is good reason to cheer, and the Bulldog 2018 edition put a cheer right in the title: “A Big Hooray for the U.S.A.”
The annual concert and celebration of grandparents, which features Lower School students (grades 1-6) arrayed as a gigantic choral group on risers, included classics like “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” as well as the Armed Services Anthems and a salute to military veterans.
Headmaster Dennis Manning welcomed all of the grandparents to the performance with a Psalm of Thanksgiving and introductory remarks. “We are delighted to have you here,” he said. “Some of you traveled extraordinary distances to get here today...and I’m not just talking about those of you who traveled from the North End.”
Although this was his 18th Grandparents’ Day at Norfolk Academy, Mr. Manning said that this year’s performance was different for him. “We (with his wife, Beth) are grandparents now, so we have joined this wonderful fraternity with you,” he said, receiving a round of applause. “It is amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one.”
He expressed the importance of obtaining an education from a school such as Norfolk Academy, where an emphasis on the child’s moral and spiritual foundation is placed ahead of academic achievement. Mr. Manning then signaled for the faculty members charged with providing such a foundation to the students to step forward to be acknowledged.
Once the faculty members were recognized, he introduced the head of the event, “We call her—euphemistically—the volcanic one...will you all join me in welcoming to the floor, (Lower School music teacher) Becky Peterson!”
Mrs. Peterson directed the performance of nearly 500 young singers accompanied by the Grandparents’ Day Band—three adult musicians on keyboard, drums, and rounding out the band on guitar, fifth grade teacher Mr. Phillip Call.
Sixth graders were featured as narrators between the musical numbers, and the Fifth and Sixth Grade Band, composed of 23 student musicians, performed two musical numbers, "Crusader’s March" and "Sousa’s Cadets." One piece on the program, “The All-American Hometown Band,” was written by Walter Noona, who teaches piano at Norfolk Academy, and his wife, Carol.
After the concert, grandparents visited Lower School classrooms with their grandchildren, and many of them got a first look at the newly expanded Lower School with Engineering, Design, and Innovation classrooms, expansive classrooms and rehearsal spaces for the fine arts, and new multipurpose space. Of course, the grandparents also met the teachers and took a look at some recent projects.
Hooray for our Bulldog grandparents and happy Thanksgiving to all!