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Exciting Choices


Admiral Timothy J. Keating, who gave the Vespers message to the Class of 2024 on May 19, has a resume of the utmost distinction.

The Admiral served for three years as the Commander of the United States Pacific Command, with an area of responsibility that included more than 3 billion people. Before that, he was Commander of the U.S. Northern Command, responsible for protecting this nation and providing support to government officials during crisis. He has also been Director of the Joint Staff in the Pentagon; command of all naval forces in the U.S. Central Command in Bahrain; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon; and command of the USS Kitty Hawk Battle Group in Japan; just to name a few of his assignments. A 1971 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, he accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flight time in tactical jets before his retirement.

But as he walked onto the Johnson Theater stage, he was humbled. His grandchildren, Matthew Camardella '24 and Lauren Camardella '20, both excelled on that stage, in Senior Speeches and for Lauren, in the fine arts. 

“I'm on the same stage, so the bar has been set pretty high," ADM Keating said.

The Admiral was raised in Ohio, one of five children. One of his siblings became a surgeon, one a professor, one an engineer, and the other helps children with special needs. 

So, he knows a bit about service. 

“For each of you graduates, I recommend you consider carefully how you, each of you, might best serve," ADM Keating said. “It's not a one trick pony for you. There could be various ways of serving, to contribute to our free and democratic society."

When you serve, ADM Keating continued, you'll face choices. Rely on your families, the education you've received at Norfolk Academy, and the values instilled in you through the school's Honor System.

“Your exposure to and adherence to your Honor System, that sets you apart from the vast majority of your colleagues at schools all across our nation and around the world," ADM Keating said. “It provides you with a rock solid foundation for everything that you're going to face in the years ahead."

You will confront difficult moments, ADM Keating continued. At those times, do what is right and don't worry about gaining recognition for your actions.

“It's amazing what you can get done when it's results and not credit that matter," he said.

Senior Class President Srivarun Hathwar '24 gave the traditional class gift, a painting in honor of Travis Larrabee, who is in his first year as the Academy's Head of School. The painting will be placed in the Massey Leadership Center. 

“Thank you for your service to our school this year, and to many more great years ahead," Hathwar said.         


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