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About all things NFA, and published in the Sunday edition of the Norwich Bulletin, NFA World is a regular column written by Geoff Serra,  Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Check back regularly for a new posting.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Community and Philanthropy at NFA

The evening was hot and sticky, and the air in Alumni Gymnasium was still, but excitement and movement dominated Class Night 2014, June 19, as students, families, and faculty and administration gathered to honor those receiving academic prizes, awards, and scholarships. Art Awards were distributed May 9, and Athletic Awards were given out on June 11 in separate ceremonies.

The program began promptly “Land of Make Believe” by NFA’s Jazz Ensemble, and after greetings by Head of School David Klein, the NFA Ambassadors sang the National Anthem. Gail Ennis, NFA Class of 78, and president of the Alumni Association welcomed the audience and reminded them of their place in the Academy’s 160 year history.

Jessica St. George, Class of Teacher of the year, spoke about “giving back” and “paying it forward,” both concepts that drill to the core of the evening as students sat in the seats of those who came before them, proud of themselves, while finding the support of those who came before them, tangible proof that Norwich Free Academy is a community committed to providing opportunities unparalleled in the area.
Director of Diversity, Leo Butler, and Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Geoffrey Serra alternated reading the names of students recognized for academic accomplishment. David Klein distributed awards posing with each recipient for a photo. Parents who did not make it in time to snap a quick photo were graciously given an opportunity for an instant replay in a high spirited communal event.
About 235 students received about $280,000 in scholarships and awards. This support is in the form of endowed and cash scholarships. The funds represent the support of the proud, loyal NFA community, and the figure is in addition to any financial aid students receive from other sources or from colleges and universities.

Many of the endowed scholarships are as old as the Academy itself, but many others have been established over the years to honor loved ones or in recognition of the role NFA has played in the life of an individual or family.

More recent endowed scholarships include the Eva Virginia Smith Scholarship established in 2005, through a memorial bequest for Eva Virginia Smith, a friend of the Norwich Free Academy. It provides aid to worthy students to assist them in pursuing higher education.

Another is the Kristina Quarto Memorial Scholarship established just last year in 2013 by her family to honor her excellence in art and music, her kind and giving spirit, and her deep concern for the environment. It is given annually to a senior demonstrating outstanding achievement in art or music and who has a passion for volunteering.

A third recent substantial scholarship is the Quinlan Family Award first awarded this year.
Senior Class President, Steven Craney, summed up the spirit of the evening in his speech, linking past and present, while looking toward the future.

He said, “It’s important always to keep NFA close, as a thanks for all it has provided. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves during our time here and made many fond memories….The teachers here are always working to help; it’s a motivating and high-energy atmosphere; and there really is something for everyone. You learn the work ethic and responsibility necessary for success outside of the academic world, and are provided with the resources and tools to find your way into this world. Not to mention that the school gives us the opportunity to choose our own pathways and find individual interests. We are encouraged and guided along the way, surrounded by a positive environment, incredible teachers, and great friends.”

2014 Wildcat Scramble

Remember to participate or support NFA’s annual Wildcat Scramble, 1 p.m., July 14, at the Norwich Golf Course by participating or sponsoring. It will be a great day of friendly competition and fun. The event raises thousands of dollars for NFA’s student athletes and the Athletic Department. Funds help to support scholarships and programming.
This year’s event continues into the evening with an event at Dodd Stadium with tickets to the night’s Connecticut Tigers baseball game and a barbecue. For information about becoming a sponsor or participant go to or contact social studies teacher Bill Howard and event chairman at 425-5512 or at
Look for NFA World again on Sunday, July 26.

FINAL THOUGHT: Albert Camus tells us, “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” 

Posted by serrag on Sunday July 6 at 07:07AM
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