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Norfolk Academy celebrated its annual Military Appreciation Night on September 21, as the school paid tribute to the many service members and veterans in its community as well as those who serve around the world.

Leading up to this celebration, students in NA's Military Appreciation Club thanked service members and veterans, giving them gifts of appreciation. Club members gave thank you cards and a complimentary NAMAC shirt to about 60 people, including more than a dozen faculty and staff members who served in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. The shirts had the word “Gratitude" on the back with an image of a service member and the United States flag emblazoned on a map of the country.

Originally scheduled for September 22, centered around that week's varsity football game, the celebration's events needed to be moved up one day because of bad weather. Joining the officials for the coin flip was Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Hensley Griffith, the father of Zahir Griffith '24, who has committed to playing football at the United States Naval Academy. Chief Griffith served for more than 20 years as Machinist’s Mate in the Navy as a Surface Warfare and Air Warfare specialist.  

Just before the game, club and service members carried a large United States flag onto the field for the national anthem, which was sung by first grade teacher Jackie Evelyn - daughter of Retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General Jon Gallinetti. The flag was about 20 yards long and more than 5 yards wide, requiring the support of a few dozen people to carry.

Also just before the anthem, the Bulldogs' football players raced on the field carrying their own American flag.

To cap the evening, service members were invited onto the field track at halftime for one more round of applause. The Armed Forces Medley played over the loudspeakers during this final salute.

The game itself brought excitement, as Norfolk Academy rallied late in the fourth quarter to defeat St. Christopher's 36-29. The Bulldogs improved to 5-0 on the season with the big win.

“We are blessed to use our football game as a platform to recognize those who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe and free," football coach Steve Monninger said.

As the crowd exited, one final salute rang out from the Public Address system. “Thank you for joining us tonight and we extend one final thank you to our military service members and their families."

This year the NAMAC officers are Dylan Defoor '24, Tucker Gaddy '24, Nelson Ott '24, Cooper Tyszko '24, and Haylee Wilson '25.

These are faculty and staff members from NA who served:

From the U.S. Army: 

  • Charles Boone 
  • Joe Robinson  
  • Earl Ware 

From the U.S. Coast Guard: 

  • Virginia Scofield '03

From the U.S. Marine Corps: 

  • Richard Smalls
  • Nick Rahall  
  • Retired Lieutenant Colonel Chris Watson '93

From the U.S. Navy: 

  • Witt Borum 
  • George Bunn 
  • Neil Duffy 
  • Retired Master Chief Sandria Hughes 
  • Retired Lieutenant Commander Jeff Martin '87
  • Glenn Miller 
  • Retired Lieutenant Commander Bob Needham 
  • Roy Newton 
  • Shannon Walden 
  • Kim Yager 
Military Appreciation Club students, service members, and veterans carried the American flag on the field.

Military Appreciation Club students, service members, and veterans carried the American flag on the field on Military Appreciation Night, September 21, 2023.

First grade teacher Jackie Evelyn sang the National Anthem.

First grade teacher Jackie Evelyn sang the National Anthem.

Norfolk Academy Military Appreciation Club members gave shirts to the more than a dozen faculty and staff who served.

Norfolk Academy Military Appreciation Club members gave shirts to the more than a dozen faculty and staff who served.

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Tom Duquette