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Norfolk Academy's girls varsity basketball team members have a longstanding tradition of honoring those who have positively impacted their lives, through a “Someone Special" tribute.

The 2020-21 team held that touching ceremony on January 21, as it gave thanks to family members and teacher-coaches.

The student-athletes gave their team honor to assistant coach Mary Werkheiser, who has taught Lower School Physical Education at Academy since 1989. In addition to assisting in basketball, Mrs. Werkheiser is the Bulldogs' head varsity field hockey coach. About a year ago, she was inducted into the prestigious Regional Training Center Ring of Honor, which recognizes the contributions of exemplary individuals who have promoted, expanded, and enhanced field hockey in the Hampton Roads area.

Usually, those who are honored join the team on campus for a ceremony. Because the worldwide pandemic is preventing large gatherings on campus this school year, the ceremony took place virtually. 

Afterward, the girls took to the Burroughs Gymnasium court for their final intramural game. Because the pandemic has also prevented a full schedule, basketball teams have played intramural contests in which evenly-divided squads compete with one another. 

Head coach Neil Duffy brought a fun quirk into the final game. With a few minutes left, the teams re-arranged themselves and the eight seniors came together to finish their careers as one squad. Fittingly, they defeated the younger players. Though instead of the totals, the scoreboard read simply “2021."

Here are the 17 honorees from the "Someone Special" tribute:   

  • Bridget Tan '21: Mrs. Beth Tan
  • Madeleine Brooks '21: Dr. Jared Brooks
  • Devin Murchake '21: Mrs. Sarah Goodson '99 (Upper School Assistant Director, Science Teacher, JV Girls Basketball Coach)
  • Michela Jones '21: Mr. Maurice Jones (Past NA trustee)
  • Molly Ruffin '21: Mrs. Gina Ruffin
  • Ella Deans '21: Mrs. Tracy Deans
  • Haley Holland '21: Mrs. Jennifer Holland
  • Madeline Lester '21: Mr. Whitney Lester '88
  • Eliza Blythe '22: Mrs. Nancy Blythe
  • Jessica Ezieme '22: Dr. Jonah Ezieme
  • Sarah Jacobs '22: Miss Sammi Jacobs '20
  • Lauren Weinstein '22: Mr. George Bunn (Upper School Spanish Teacher)
  • Natalie Fowler '23: Mrs. Bess Oswald '00 (Lower School Teacher, Basketball Coach)
  • Gabrielle Harvey '23: Mr. Chris Harvey
  • Alden Roberts '23: Mrs. Avery Roberts (Assistant Bookstore Manager)
  • Abigail Smith '24: Mr. Leif Smith
  • Team: Mrs. Mary Werkheiser (Lower School PE Teacher, Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach, Head Varsity Field Hockey Coach)




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