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Mike Connors

A message from Headmaster Dennis Manning, sent June 4, 2020.

Dear Norfolk Academy Family,

I closed our end of year faculty meetings this week by surveying a challenging national backdrop — a pandemic and self-isolation for 2 1/2 months, an economic contraction of historic severity, and 40 million souls relegated to the ranks of the unemployed. I have been thinking for some time how long our daunting challenges will persist.

Suddenly those concerns, I told the faculty, have retreated. A white police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man, George Floyd, and pressing the life out of him, has leapt into our national consciousness. This reprehensible act has also loosed a torrent of emotion, anger, and pain borne of generational racism, injustice, and deprivation. We have seen images of peaceful protest that are a stirring demonstration of our First Amendment right of peaceable assembly, and, harrowingly, images of violence, destruction, and looting that unite all of us in revulsion. George Floyd’s killing is the most recent example of inhumanity against black people in a nation still haunted by slavery and its consequences.

Norfolk Academy, like most American institutions of such longevity, has a complex history. An 1863 lithograph on display in the Massey Center shows our school building in downtown Norfolk having been seized and occupied by Union troops, re-purposed as a hospital. We do not have much in the way of 18th or even 19th century archival material. In a better-documented 20th century chapter, Norfolk Academy did not integrate until several years after Massive Resistance and the desegregation of the Norfolk public school system. There is no revising this history. We need to continue to summon a determination to do better by and for all, but particularly for our black students, alumni, and community members.

In the past few days I have heard from several of our students and alumni. While realizing that I am an imperfect messenger, I want you to know we are united with you. While we acknowledge that not all of us can really share your pain, we do share your resolve to help lead our community, our region, our state, and our nation to a better place. One of our graduates reminded me: our school’s mission calls us “to prepare students to become ultimately useful and responsible citizens of a democracy... [and that we must] strive to make them aware of their role in creating a just society.”

Our mandate could not be clearer. We must help our students understand the history that underpins these events, the ways they can make a difference as citizens, and their powerful ability to create a just society. These aspirations stem directly from our school’s mission – it has ever been our purpose to prepare children with an active social consciousness and conscience, and a deep, abiding love of their fellow man. But there is more in front of us, more to accomplish. Our school’s mission has never seemed more important or critical.

As adults we will not wait for the next generation to address these challenges. We are listening, we are learning, and we are acting with renewed conviction. We will intensify and sharpen one of the central focuses of our recently launched Strategic Plan that calls on us to advance an appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the life, programs, and curriculum of our school. In the days and weeks ahead, we will turn to our student diversity groups, our student and faculty leaders, and our school counselors and librarians to secure their help and input — ways we might serve our students and faculty during this challenging time, advance their understanding, provide them support. We will work with our long-standing partner, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and we will reach out to other community groups to continue to educate ourselves. These actions, and others to come, reflect our determination to stand with and support every person of color in our community.

I invoke the same words I used to close our final faculty meeting, words we might think of as a benediction Martin Luther King Jr. left us: “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

You have our pledge that we will never accept a “starless midnight of racism.” We will hold fast to “unarmed truth” and to “unconditional love” — let those be our final words and exemplars for every child, every student in our care.

With love, respect, and reverence,

Dennis G. Manning


Esther Diskin

Lower School students on the Forensics Team could not participate in the regional competition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but their fervor and enthusiasm did not flag. They practiced at home, and on two days toward the end of the school year, they dressed in formal clothes and delivered their performances via Zoom for parents and judges. 

Mrs. Susan Duquette, who coordinates the Forensics Team, organized the event. In a note to parents and students, Mrs. Duquette commended the students for their ongoing commitment, and she encouraged them to continue to develop their talents and join the team next year.

“Although this spring has been unique, we have learned so many important lessons," she said. “The challenges we faced made us stronger, gave us confidence, and highlighted the things we value the most - our family, our education, and our personal growth."

The Forensics Team is an extracurricular activity with weekly practices after school, one that complements the school's public speaking curriculum, from Boy and Girl of the Day to the Senior Speech Program. The team is a tremendously popular activity each year, reflecting schoolwide enthusiasm for public speaking. Mrs. Duquette noted that many of the participants continued to practice at home after the move to distance learning, and their performances at the speak-off showed significant progress from the practices in early March that unexpectedly became the final in-person gatherings of this year's team.

The top speakers in each category are listed immediately below. The entire team appears at the bottom of the article with an asterisk next to the names of those who participated in the speak-off on Zoom.

Congratulations to all of our energetic, expressive speakers on the 2019-20 Forensics Team!


1. Brogan Brown '28

2. Max Bradshaw '28

3. Wyatt Salter '27


1. Ella Stufflebeem '26

2. Mary James Steadman '28

3. Allie Wight '27


1. River Dorroh '27

2. Rohith Konduri '28

3. Aditya Jain '26


1. Lexi Budlong '28

2. Siya Patel '26

3. Emily Salib '26


1. Aarush Desai '26

2. Grant Fernandez '27

3. CJ Kemp '27


1. Ananya Iyer '27

2. KB Chambliss '26

3. Rhylee Thomas '28


1. Julia Dodd '26

2. Sydney Gantous '28

3. Lily Mason-Breit '27

Poetry Team

Girls: Caroline Burroughs '28, Paige Randolph Crocker '28, Mila Levy '27*, Mary James Steadman '28*, Ella Stufflebeem '26*, Allie Wight '27*

Boys: Max Bradshaw '28*, Brogan Brown '28*, Wyatt Salter '27*

Oratory Team

Girls: KB Chambliss '26*, Ananya Iyer '27*, Anna Pang '26, Rhylee Thomas '28*

Boys: Gabriel Bond '28*, Aarush Desai '26*, Grant Fernandez '27*, CJ Kemp '27*, David Martin '26, Soham Patel '28*

Storytelling Team

Girls: Julia Dodd '26*, Anna Fix '28, Sydney Gantous '28*, Lily Mason-Breit '27*

Boys: Finn Guzik '27, Oliver Scott '26

Prose Team

Girls: Mollie Armentrout '28, Lane Britt '26*, Korinne Brooks '27, Lexi Budlong '28*, Leah Gregoire '28, Siya Patel '26*, Emily Salib '26*, Ava Stith '28

Boys: River Dorroh '27*, Aditya Jain '26*, Rohith Konduri '28*


  • Forensics
Esther Diskin

Many of our students earned recognition for their success this year in the National German Exams.

Norfolk Academy offers German, French, and Spanish, starting in the 8th grade. Students take Latin in 6th and 7th grades.

Here are the German honorees:

Level 1

  • Noah Howell '23 - Gold
  • Davis Ottinger '23 - Gold
  • Sydney Vest '23 - Gold
  • Alex Barton '23 - Gold
  • Taran Jeevan '23 - Gold
  • Kristin Houston '23 - Silver
  • Mackenzie Savage '23 - Silver
  • Kadyn Johnson-Smith '23 - Silver
  • Tara Tavakoli '23 - Silver
  • Annalee Marling '23 - Silver
  • James Savage '23 - Silver
  • John Ferguson '23 - Bronze
  • Ella Ferguson '23 - Bronze
  • Harrison Brown '23 - Bronze
  • Cameron Jordan '23 - Bronze
  • Owen Garstenauer '23 - Bronze
  • Daniel Cheng '23 - Bronze
  • Michael Carofino '23 - Bronze
  • Logan Pausch '23 - Bronze
  • Madalyn Ruth '23 - Bronze
  • Meghan Savage '23 - Bronze

Level 2 

  • Victoria Kauffman '22 - Gold 
  • Annabelle Flisk '22 - Gold 
  • Camille Van Slyke '22 - Silver 
  • Gavin Wang '22 - Silver 
  • Jasmine LeClair '22 - Silver 
  • Kendall Pagach '22 - Silver 
  • Emma Fix '22 - Bronze 
  • Carey Stredler '22 - Bronze 
  • Claire Vu '22 - Bronze 

Level 3

  • Sabrina Sterns '21 - Gold 
  • Kelsey Briggins '21 - Silver 

Level 5

  • Aiden Feigenbaum '20 - Gold
  • Ainsleigh Montgomery '20 - Gold
  • Sean Miller '20 - Silver
  • Colin Dowd '20 - Silver
  • Leah Smith '20 - Bronze
  • Andi Yuan '20 - Bronze
  • German
Mike Connors

Lower School Director Michelle Alexander and Headmaster Dennis Manning led closing exercises for our Lower School on Friday, May 29. That ceremony highlighted sixth graders, who will move up to Middle School next year.

Many of our students in first through sixth grades were honored as our 2019-20 school year closed. Here is a list of those Lower School Awards:

Sixth Grade Awards

Distinguished Mathematicians

  • 6A: Miles Weldon McKenzie
  • 6B: Tyler James Butler
  • 6C: Jordan Parker Inman
  • 6D: Cameron Robert Read
  • 6E: Rashi Hiren Patel

Distinguished Readers

  • 6A: Isaac Hudgins Zito
  • 6B: Gabrielle Annette Crass
  • 6C: Aditya Thapa
  • 6D: Adaline Violet Scott
  • 6E: Zachary Owen Griffin


One student in each class is awarded a citizenship certificate for displaying the qualities of compassion, cooperation, respect, and responsibility.

  • 6A: Caroline Paige Wainger
  • 6B: Sydney Lee Petersen
  • 6C: Marion Addison Lesley
  • 6D: Sofia Christine Eliecer Griffey
  • 6E: Tessa Mae Chavez

The Simcoe and Celia Glasser Poetry Award

For the Lower School student who possesses a gift in writing poetry as exhibited by creativity, perception, freshness of expression, and control and clarity of the language.

  • Anna Pang

President of Student Council Award

  • Tessa Mae Chavez

Athletic Awards

For one sixth grade boy and one sixth grade girl who demonstrate outstanding achievement in Physical Education.

  • Davis Craft Steadman
  • Maria Anna Delyannis

Bessie Craig Ramsey Lower School Music Award

For the sixth grade student who has made an outstanding contribution to the music life of the school.

  • Eliana Mopper Jin

Helen Thomas Massey Art Award

For the sixth grade girl who demonstrates outstanding achievement in art.

  • Carson Willcox Gaddy

Virginia Morris Pollak Art Award

For the sixth grade boy who demonstrates outstanding achievement in art.

  • Leo Glenn McNeer Jones

Robert Baylor Tunstall Award

For the sixth grade boy who shows excellence in English or original writing.

  • Thomas Booth Newman

Girl’s English Award

For the sixth grade girl who shows excellence in English.

  • Camilla Burke Avery

Latin Award

For the sixth grade girl and boy who demonstrate excellence in the study of Latin.

  • Taylor Charles McDonald
  • Emily Angie Salib

Robert S. Sergeant Creative Writing Award

For a sixth grade boy and a sixth grade girl who demonstrate excellence in creative writing.

  • Brody Cole Stuart
  • Grace Carol Robertson

Robert L. Thomas Memorial Award

For the sixth grade boy who shows excellence in social studies.

  • Davis Matthew McNulty

William Selden Memorial Award

For the sixth grade student who shows excellence in the study of history.

  • Amanda Wentworth Johnson

Lucy Singleton Penzold Award

For the sixth grade boy who shows excellence in science.

  • Cameron Nicholas Rybar

Betty F. Moore Science Award

For the sixth grade girl who shows excellence in science.

  • Stella Madeline Johnson

William H. Smith Award

For the sixth grade boy who shows excellence in math.

  • Aarush Himanshu Desai

Charles J. Cumiskey Award

For the sixth grade girl who shows excellence in math.

  • Maryne Joy Alexander

Rachel C. Hopkins Creative and Lateral Thinking Award

For the sixth grade girl and boy who demonstrate the principles of Creative and Lateral Thinking in academic and nonacademic endeavors by applying Lateral Thinking to search for alternative solutions, to resolve issues, and to generate creative thought and action.

  • David Paul Martin
  • Siya Amit Patel

Lower School Scholastic Award

For the sixth grade girl who has made the highest scholastic average.

  • Emily Angie Salib

Lower School Scholastic Award

For the sixth grade boy who has made the highest scholastic average.

  • Aarush Himanshu Desai

Jeanne Atkinson Award

For the sixth grade student who strives to promote peace and harmony in our world.

  • Meredith Blake Avery

William C. Chewning, Jr. Award

For the sixth grade boy who makes the best use of his natural talents and abilities, exemplifying the qualities of determination, tenacity, and perseverance.

  • Alejandro Nathaniel Lawson

Lucille G. Sebren Award

For the sixth grade girl who makes the best use of her natural talents and abilities, exemplifying the qualities of determination, tenacity, and perseverance.

  • Vivian Wynne Deans

Bess Moore Citizenship Award

For the outstanding girl in the sixth grade, based on character, leadership, and citizenship.

  • Ella Nancy Stufflebeem

Vickery Alfriend Award

For the outstanding boy in the sixth grade, based on scholarship, character, leadership, and citizenship.

  • Sam Brandon Light

Homeroom Awards


Teacher, Grade    





Citizenship Award


Jacqueline Evelyn, 1A           Michael Monninger   Bear Williams            Laine Burroughs
Chris Stobbs, 1B   Trey Sheppard Charles Poston


Jack Evelyn


Jackie Diamonstein, 1GA   Abigail Nordeen Eleanor Lopez


Tilly Vincent


Shim Richardson, 1GB   Kara Craig Grace Hays


Ellie Rathbone


Kristen Turrietta, 2A   Aransh Desai Jackson Budlong


Teddy Delyannis


Anne Schafer, 2B   Dean Hicks Ishan Patel


Justus Coleman


Valerie Thornton, 2GA   Kayla Patel Jaelynn Harrell


Katelyn Brooks


Carlynn Monteaux, 2GB   Saanvi Patel Grace Edelen


Harper Davenport


Tom Etheridge, 3A   Peter Call Parker Jobe


Jacob Ramsey


Bess Oswald, 3B   Maximus Griffey Matthew Bousman


Charlie Payne


Taylor Olsen, 3GA   Abigail Grant Teagan Oswald


Claire Sheppard


Elizabeth Elder, 3GB   Carter Inman Lauren Finley


Annan Wynne


Allyson Keating, 4A   Penn Peterson  Jude Vincent 


JJ Monninger 


Diane Wallace, 4B   Andrew Salib Soham Patel


Nikolas Dukas


Kathy Lonergan, 4GA   Anna Fix Mollie Armentrout


Sydney Gantous


Janice Simone, 4GB   Emily Wong Emma Clark


Audrey Gunn


Reggie Cole, 5A   John Benton Erin Little


Elizabeth Grant


Courtney Morrall, 5B   Evan O'Boyle Sienna Watson


Camden Sokol


Alice Pleming, 5C   Grant Fernandez Kailyn McNaughton   
Allie Tyszko
Jen Walker, 5D                      Catherine Adams      Joy Roh                      
Sloane Becker     


  • Lower School
Mike Connors

Many of our students studying French earned honors this year.

Here is the list:

Level 1 Platinum Medal (perfect score)

  • Chloé Renou '23 

Level 1 Silver Medal

  • Riley McElligott '23
  • Anna Russell '23

Level 1 Bronze Medal

  • Micah Baum '23
  • Megan Smith '23

Level 2 Bronze Medal 

  • Avery Britt '22
  • Benjamin Farpour '22
  • Kristen Tan '22

Level 2 Silver Medal

  • Michael Durand '22
  • Gavin Goss '22
  • Nicholas Rose '22
  • Sofia Tjia '22

Level 3 Bronze Medal

  • Zoey Alperin '22
  • Erin Clayton '21
  • Robert Lucas '21
  • Franklin Wetmore '21

Level 3 Silver Medal

  • Emily Vazquez Paramo '21

Level 4 Bronze Medal

  • Aidan Dowd '20

Level 4 Silver Medal

  • Lauren Camardella '20
  • Christy Luecke '21
  • William Smythe '20

Level 4 Gold Medal

  • J.R. Herman '20

Level 5 Bronze Medal

  • Audrey Peck '20
  • Ethan Sorrell '20

Congratulations to all!

  • French