NFA World

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

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Student Work is National Example

“Please tell your students that I'm inspired by their thoughtful work and intelligent choices - and thank them for allowing me to share.” In April, Debbie Abilock, NoodleTools/NoodleTeach Coordinator, used the work of NFA uppers Marissa Fitzgerald and Michael Harris in a workshop for college librarians at California’s Sonoma State University. In history teacher Lorraine Dooley’s Advanced Placement US History class, both had compiled annotated bibliographies which Abilock says are “examples of the amazing work a school librarian can do with high school students.”
For almost 5 years, the Land Library has had a subscription to Noodle Tools, an on-line suite of research tools. It is a comprehensive set of instructional materials promoting the processes of ethical research in all subject areas by integrating note-taking, outlining, citation, documentation, and annotation. The website also offers students collaborative opportunities for projects in research and writing.
First introduced by NFA Librarian Kristie Leonard and spearheaded by now English Department Head Tracey Dedonato, Noodle Tools has replaced NFA’s old Research Guide with more engaging and accessible interactive instruction. Modules in the on-line site help students compile and sort digital notecards and create format perfect bibliographies using MLA, APA, and/or Chicago-Turabian format.
Beyond format, Noodle Tools guides students in appropriate source citation, takes them through the process of acceptable paraphrasing, and makes suggestions for independent thought about their research. The web-based program also gives teachers tools to manage and view student work in progress and comment or ask questions by inserting electronic notes.
The tools are accessible from any computer both for students and teachers, thereby extending the reach of both library and instruction.
Abilock says that Fitzgerald’s and Harris’ annotated research “shows an understanding of how real historians evaluate and use primary sources to build a case.”

Vietnam War Remembrance Continues

June 2, the Social Studies Department welcomed eight local Vietnam Veterans to share their experiences with students in US history classes. Veterans included Henry Barry, Jr., Dominick Cortese '67, Jerry Donal' 65, Stephen Holmberg '65, James McKibben ’63, Sandy Noyes '65, John Waggoner  '63, and Michael Waggoner '66.
The local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America presented to the NFA Vietnam Commemoration Committee including Social Studies Department Head Karen Cook; social studies teachers Jemal Davis, Marisa Haralson, Bill Howard, Michelle Maher, and Michael Murphy; and Director of Student Affairs John Iovino and his secretary Laura Howe. The group thanked the NFA Commemorative Committee for the March 8 “Boots on the Ground” event as part of the fall NFA Shines celebration of the new field lights.
In two panel discussions, veterans shared their experiences in various branches of the military and dispelled myths commonly found in textbooks about the Vietnam War. The day concluded with students and veterans sharing a luncheon in the Atrium.
In addition to students from the committee’s classes, students in James Rourke’s and Molly Palmer’s classes participated.

Ripley Award

The Alumni Association is now accepting nominations from faculty and staff for the 2016 George Ripley Student Humanitarian Award in a revised selection process and timeline. This year, the Alumni Association Selection Committee seeks a rising senior, rather than a graduating senior as in the past. Moving forward, the award will be given on the opening day of school in the fall and the recipient will be announced as is done for the NFA Teacher of the Year. This student will serve as an ambassador for the Academy and Alumni Association, and serve as a positive role model, both on and off campus. He or she will be recognized throughout the year and invited to special events as a representative of the student body.


Tomorrow is the final underclass exam and the final day of school. It is a half day. All students, including incoming ninth graders, have received their summer reading assignments. That information is also posted on their portal dashboard and is available at or by following the link on the home page.

Graduation takes place 4 p.m., tomorrow, June 14, on the field. NFA has collaborated with the Norwich Police Department, the Norwich Public Schools, and the Rose City Senior Center to provide graduation parking. NFA campus safety officers will be at the top of Reynolds Road to provide direction. Complimentary shuttle service will run to and from campus throughout the ceremony.
Graduation exercises will be broadcast live beginning at 4 p.m., on Educational Access, Channel 12, NFA-TV on Norwich Comcast Cable.
Many opportunities still exist for summer programs at NFA. For information and registration contacts, visit
NFA World begins a summer publication schedule with this column.  Look for us next on July 5; then bi-weekly through mid-August.
FINAL THOUGHT:  Eleanor Roosevelt says, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Posted by serrag on Sunday June 14 at 08:57AM
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Since 1856, Norwich Free Academy has adhered to the philosophy of its founder to "return to our hamlets and our homes its priceless freight of youthful minds, enriched by learning, developed by a liberal culture, refined by study of all that is beautiful in nature and art, and prepared for the highest usefulness and the purest happiness"

Founder, John P. Gulliver,
NFA Dedication Ceremony (1856)

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