Valued Voices
Exciting Choices

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Henry
Mike Connors

Mrs. Henry is teaching third grade at Norfolk Academy. She grew up in northern Virginia and graduated from the University of Richmond in 2000 with a Spanish major and an elementary teaching degree, while enjoying a decorated intercollegiate swimming career. She began her teaching career around Richmond, teaching in Henrico and Chesterfield counties in grades 1 and 2. She then began working on her master's degree in Reading Instruction while teaching full-time, completing her graduate degree at the University of Virginia in 2005. While she was taking a five-year break from teaching to raise two children, her family moved to Suffolk, where she returned to independent school work at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in 2010, teaching in the Lower School early grades and Spanish to the Pre-K and Lower School.

Tell us why you wanted to become an educator:
I was born to be an educator! My grandparents were teachers and administrators and my parents both taught during their careers. I have always loved watching a child learn to do something new, so teaching felt like a natural career choice for me!

What most excites you about working at Norfolk Academy?
I am excited about the opportunity to work with so many inspiring students and hard-working faculty and staff. I believe the people are what makes a school a family and I am honored to be part of the Bulldog community!

Norfolk Academy is unique because…
​The professionalism, dedication, and kindness of every member of Norfolk Academy is truly special. 

Last book read:
​Together by Vivek H. Murthy. I am ready for our Year of Togetherness!

What do you like to do in your own time/when you’re not working?
I love to spend time at the beach, go for walks and bike rides, watch my children play sports, and spend time with my family.

Favorite food?
​Ice Cream

A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you?
​A student once told me I reminded her of Miss Honey from the book Matilda.  

Fun fact your students might find surprising:
​I was born in Germany, spent a semester in Spain, and enjoyed traveling to other countries in Europe.

“When I grow up, I want to be…”
I am doing exactly what I always wanted to do. I am a teacher and a mother!

Stamm
Mike Connors

Mr. Stamm joins the Norfolk Academy family as a Middle School Science teacher. He also will coach in our basketball and baseball programs.

A native New Englander, Mr. Stamm journeyed south to Wake Forest University, where he completed undergraduate work with honors in biology. He then earned a master's of science degree from the University of Connecticut. He is a highly accomplished independent school teacher-coach and administrator, having served with distinction at leading independent schools and honored with several teaching awards during an eight-year tenure at the Casady School in Oklahoma, a 17-year tenure at Pine Crest School in Florida, and service at other independent schools. Having taught biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science, he is a similarly accomplished coach and a member of the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Tell us why you wanted to become an educator:  
After several summers of working as a counselor at a summer camp in Upstate New York, I realized I wanted to teach and coach at the middle school level.  

What most excites you about working at Norfolk Academy? 
After just a short time on campus, I have come to appreciate the history and tradition here at Norfolk Academy.  

Norfolk Academy is unique because… 
The passion everyone possesses for the school. There is a tremendous sense of community here at NA.

Last book read:
Truth be told, except for reading about my subject material to stay current, I don't read many books. Rather, I spend my time solving logic puzzles and various sorts of brain teasers in a magazine I purchase monthly.

What do you like to do in your own time/when you’re not working?
My wife and I enjoy walking, biking, and traveling. We love visiting the national parks and have been on 39 cruises.

Favorite food?
My favorites are grilled cheese, pepperoni pizza, and Alaskan King Crab.

A movie is being made about your life. Who would they cast to play you?
Funny you should ask. Actor Jon Cryer played the role of a teacher in The Metro Chase, a movie for young children that a former student of mine and his family wrote the screenplay for in 2003. Jon Cryer's name was Mr. Stamm in the movie.

Fun fact your students might find surprising:
I only need to visit six more states and I will have accomplished my goal of traveling to all 50.

“When I grow up, I want to…”
Play second base for the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

NMSC
Mike Connors

Two Norfolk Academy seniors, Toria Kauffman '22 and Gavin Goss '22, have been recognized as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Only a tiny fraction of high school seniors earn this annual honor. Toria and Gavin are two of roughly 16,000 semifinalists this year; those students represent less than 1% of high school seniors across the nation. Students gained consideration by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen.

In addition to their academic successes, both Toria and Gavin perform in a number of extracurricular activities.

Toria has been an active club participant. She has served as Co-President of the German Club and volunteer for a German Cultural Exchange; Vice President of Lifesavers Club; and been a Peer Counselor. She's also an Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellow in the Batten Leadership Program, playing a role in Leadership Lab each of the past three years. She has also done work for Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and is an avid horseback rider since first grade, serving as a Interscholastic Equestrian Association state representative at the Virginia State Legislature in 10th grade.

“Victoria is an extraordinary contributor to school life, balancing co-curricular involvement in the EDI Fellows, Peer Counseling, and leadership of an array of clubs with her commitment to academic excellence," Headmaster Dennis Manning said. “She has tremendous enthusiasm for learning across a wide array of disciplines, from English class to computer science, and teachers know that Toria brings her full curiosity and energy to every class."

Gavin is serving as senior class Vice President and has been part of the Tunstall Student Council each year in Upper School. He is a Global Health Fellow in the Batten Leadership Program and traveled to Belize in 10th grade. A three-season athlete, he has been on the varsity lacrosse team since ninth grade. He has also played varsity soccer since 11th grade and winter track since 11th grade - he played basketball in ninth and 10th grades. He has also participated in the Winter Musical; served as Middle School Happy Club President and Special Olympics Club Treasurer; and competed in the annual TEAMS academic competition.  

“While Gavin's passion is lacrosse, his involvement in an array of varsity teams exemplifies the best of Bulldog sports-competitiveness, sportsmanship, and love of the game," Mr. Manning said. “He's also serious about giving back to the community, and that complements his intellectual excellence. His leadership roles in Happy Club and Special Olympics attest to a generous spirit."

Semifinalists can apply to become finalists, a group that will be announced in early 2022. To earn that honor, semifinalists and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application with academic information, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. They must have outstanding academic records throughout high school, receive a recommendation from a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Norfolk Academy has been fortunate to have many National Merit Finalists over the years. Sean Miller '20, who is at the University of Virginia on the premier Jefferson Scholarship, received the honor in 2020, and Brammy Rajakumar ’19, who is studying at Harvard University, received the honor in 2019.

All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the group of Finalists. They are chosen on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, or religion.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered next spring. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored awards will be provided by about 220 businesses for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. And about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 awards for Finalists who will attend their institution.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization, conducts the scholarship program. 

Marissa Chai Hibbert
  • Alumni News
Esther Diskin

During her years at Norfolk Academy, Marissa Chai Hibbert '18 was an avid member of the school's Robotics Team--a group where boys heavily outnumbered girls.

As a result of her work on that team, in her junior year, she was one of just 20 students in a field of thousands of competitors around the globe to win a Dean's List Award in the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Now, as a senior at William & Mary, Hibbert is again making her mark in an arena where women are vastly outnumbered by men--esports, a form of competition using video games. She is the head of social media for the college's new esports interdisciplinary program and the only woman out of seven individuals who the college considers "esports pioneers."

Her accomplishments in esports, which took flight during the Covid pandemic, recently earned her a $10,000 scholarship from The Gen.G Foundation, a worldwide esports organization that helps young people interested in gaming develop into leaders of the gaming and esports industry. She also won a second award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund, intended to highlight and support young women with funding and mentorships. 

Hibbert spoke to William and Mary's student newspaper, The Flat Hat, about her interest in the burgeoning field: “My hopes are definitely set pretty high. I would love to work in esports after I graduate."

Read more of the interview and explore the website that Hibbert created for the esports program. Congratulations!

 

  • Alumni
Beck
  • Alumni News
  • Athletic News
Mike Connors

Evan Beck ‘09 capped an impressive summer on the golf course by winning the VSGA Mid-Amateur.

Beck won a four-hole playoff at Fawn Lake Country Club in Spotsylvania to capture the title in the tournament that concluded September 19. He finished 54 regulation holes at 16-under-par 200, tying the tournament scoring record. 

Beck became only the second player to win the State Open of Virginia and the VSGA Mid-Amateur in the same year. He won the State Open in July.

Plus, Beck won the 2021 Eastern Amateur in in July and reached the VSGA Amateur semifinals in June.

After graduating from Norfolk Academy, Beck earned All-ACC honors at Wake Forest University.

Beck wasn't the only Bulldog to shine on the links this summer. Miller Carr ‘23 won the VSGA Junior Circuit Championship (-8 overall) in August at Williamsburg National. Earlier that month, Miller won the Princess Anne Country Club Men's Club Championship. In July, he made the cut at the Eastern Amateur. 

Read more about Beck's historic run in The Virginian-Pilot

 

  • Alumni
  • Athletics