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Norfolk Academy on April 11 celebrated a devoted group of alumni.

About a decade ago, with the aid of longtime teacher-coach Toy Savage '71, NA created the Cornerstone Society, which recognizes alumni whose graduation date was a half-century or more earlier. This club held a few off-campus events in its early stages, before Covid hit and events stopped. The Development Office and Alumni Relations are now working to increase awareness for the society.

More than a dozen alumni returned to campus on April 11 for a luncheon in the Lower School Multipurpose Room. Some, including Ranny Randolph '53, graduated more than 70 years ago. Most graduated in the 1960s, with a handful from the early 1970s. 

Head of School Travis Larrabee opened the luncheon with remarks. In his first year leading the Academy, Larrabee said he has focused on listening and learning. Alumni of all ages have told him they felt prepared to take their next step after graduating from NA; they highly valued and still value the school's Honor System; they recognize that great institutions cannot rest on their laurels; and that the relationships formed at NA are the bedrock of the school.

“This Academy is nothing without the people who are here," Larrabee said.

After enjoying lunch, alumni received another treat as four students in the Class of 2024 participated in a panel discussion, reflecting on their time at NA. All four - Van Deans, Richard Hope, Madison Kay, and Ava Salemi - are leaders in various walks of school life. 

They spoke about mentors - some teachers, some coaches, and often adults who serve in both roles. They spoke about traditions, with Field Day and Grandparents Day being two highlights. 

They also spoke about the Honor System. Van, who chairs the Tunstall Honor Council, said the current council is working to bring greater focus to the education of teaching right from wrong, rather than emphasizing punishments. He speaks to the Upper School after each violation, laying out what happened and what the repercussions were. 

After the panel, which Larrabee led, alumni were invited to ask questions, and took full advantage. They asked for book recommendations, and what the current students thought about being in classes that are larger than those in 1974 or earlier. They asked more about traditions and aspects of daily life like lunch and the teacher-coach model.

The students spoke first about what it's like to be a high school senior in 2024. Madison gave an answer everyone in the room agreed with.

“NA does a good job of making sure we get sent off with a strong community," she said.


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