In the school's Year of Togetherness, each new first grader-- all part of an excited (and a bit nervous) Class of 2033!--took part in a hallowed tradition that signifies their entrance into life as an NA Bulldog.
Step 1: Pat the head of the stuffed Bulldog, bedecked with a bright orange ribbon.
Step 2: Shake hands with the headmaster.
Step 3: Wave goodbye to mom and dad and walk with your teacher to the first day of class.
This year, the long-cherished tradition got a pandemic update: Gathering outdoors is safer, so the tradition moved under an enormous white tent, offering shade and a little relief from the heat.
In brief remarks to the parents and eager, soon-to-be Bulldogs, Headmaster Dennis Manning offered a reminder of the central mission of the journey that "we will share together."
"The larger aim and purpose is--what kind of adult are you going to become? We are going to make you into the best person you can be," he said. "Morals and manners. Trying to do the right thing. That is the way we live here, the Bulldog life."
Mr. Manning, who studied in England and served as headmaster of The American School in England for several years before coming to Norfolk Academy, loves English and Irish poetry. He closed his remarks by sharing a favorite poem, one that is part of his curriculum for his Upper School English course, "The Lamb," from Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake.
He introduced the first grade teachers and the administrative team of the Lower School, led by Lower School Director Michelle Alexander, who called out each student's name. Then, one by one, each student strapped on a backpack, and with the boldness of a Bulldog, stepped right up.