Graduation Ceremony

At 4 p.m. sharp, June 12, 484 members of the Class of 2019 stepped onto the field to capstone their four years at NFA as the chords of "Pomp and Circumstance" were performed by the NFA Concert Band. The graduates followed Corporators and honored guests, including 93 members of the 50th Reunion Class of 1969, who were escorted to the dais by student marshals Juliana Drainville and Samantha Tracey.



Ivy Orator

Speakers at graduation are determined by participation in the Cadden-Williams Prize Speaking Contest

Class of 2019 Ivy Orator Sarah Elizabeth Carter
Ivy Orator Sarah Elizabeth Carter - Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Good evening family, friends, faculty, staff, classmates and, most importantly, members of the class of 2019. Today we take our seats as the next chapter of Norwich Free Academy graduates. Thank you to all who have stood behind us these past four years.  You have helped us navigate the contours of this beautiful campus; offered advice and wisdom to help us make strong and sound decisions; and provided us license to make mistakes and learn from them to do better next time. We cannot thank you enough.
If life is a puzzle, let your time here at NFA stand as a central piece. Here, our lives have taken further shape and definition. As fourteen-year-old wide-eyed freshmen overwhelmed by the haunting geometry of Cranston, we looked for answers to many questions: Who were we back then? Where were we headed?  And who and what would we become?
Well, the moment has arrived for the answers to those questions.
Just beyond NFA’s gates, is a multicultural, multilingual world that as an NFA graduate you enter.   There is no question other schools can provide the same textbook education you have received here. You could have read the plays of Shakespeare or learned the political fallout of the Vietnam Conflict or studied the muscles of the human anatomy or deconstructed an atom.  But would you have come across the quality of teachers who have quoted Romeo and Juliet or described the buggy, leafy jungles of Southeast Asia? Would you have taken anatomy and physiology with classmates from nine different towns, or have apprenticed with NFA sports teams and professional athletic trainers? Or, would you have been exposed to the chorus of approximately thirty dialects spoken on campus, from Cambodia to the Caribbean? Would you have had the opportunity to gain membership to one of sixty or more clubs? Or have been a teammate on one of thirty varsity sports? Or, use a class channel to visit Slater Museum to admire period-art or study the statues of Greek mythology?  The answer is no.
Only here at Norwich Free Academy can students like you and me experience a world similar to the one we now enter.  The world is fast becoming more technological, more multilingual, more multicultural. Here, and only here, the puzzle piece of an NFA diploma is global currency.     
But NFA is both piece AND puzzle. It has given us knowledge, skills, opportunities, and audience to connect to a broader global picture. Possessing an NFA education is not a matter of whether we will fit into the world, but of how will we choose to fit. It is up to us, each a puzzle piece, to put our signature on an internationally complexioned world. There is no challenge or problem we cannot face.  NFA has provided us the tools. NFA has prepared us for a sophisticated world that requires sophisticated minds and people, and we, the Class of 2019, are up to the task of meeting the world where it is and bringing it to where it needs to be.
Our next journey, whether it be college, the military, or the workforce, will be filled with challenges. The work may be hard. The way forward may be unclear. The fear may seem paralyzing.  But, we will not quit or retreat. The Wildcat Way has given us all the pieces to the puzzle we need in order to advance ourselves and our circumstances. We have learned the formula for success here in the classrooms of these ancient buildings, on the field of play of our championship teams, but most importantly, in the personal stories shared by each of you, my friends, my classmates, my fellow graduates, the centerpiece of NFA.  
To the class of 2019, congratulations on finishing your NFA puzzle piece.

Class Speaker

Speakers at graduation are determined by participation in the Cadden-Williams Prize Speaking Contest

Class of 2019 Class Speaker Ashley Lawton
Class Speaker, Ashley Elizabeth Lawton - Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Hello everyone, thank you all for celebrating this very special day with us, the Class of 2019.
A few weeks ago, I was driving in the car and as I turned onto the highway,  a thought popped into my head: All the roads in the United States are connected.
The roads in California connect with those in Texas, and the roads in Texas connect with those in New York. Now, I might have just been stating the obvious, but this is a pretty amazing fact.
Over four million miles of roads connect in the United States. Some are long; some are short. Some roads have been well kept; they are neat and paved. They are easy to drive. Some roads are bumpy and riddled with potholes. Others are unpaved; they’re rocky and treacherous.
All together these roads form an elaborate system on our a road map or GPS.  Every road serves a purpose - it takes us to and from somewhere.
Now, for one moment imagine that these roads represent paths in life.
Like a road, sometimes a path will be smooth. Things will go your way; you’ll be happy and content. You will be successful. You will triumph. You will find it easy to get to where you need or must go.
At other times, life might become challenging; you’ll face obstacles. Personal, professional, or educational problems can be roadblocks. Annoying as these obstacles might be, you can overcome them, take a detour, or find another route.
Some roads though, are meant to test our skill, resilience, and courage. These are the turnpikes of difficulty that may seem impassable. You will grind; you will want to turn back; you will want to give up. But you won’t. Because eventually, the road will become smoother, your driving skill will improve. Life will become easier.
Remember, through it all, there is no point to a road if you have no destination. Your destination is your goal, your dream, your hope. Your destination drives you to endure the difficult times; it drives you to strive for better, even when times are good. Always keep your destination in mind. Never settle for anything less than your goal.
We all now sit on this field, moments away from graduating, but how each of us traveled here, to this moment, is so different. Some have faced bumpy roads; others have had a smooth ride. But no matter how you traveled, you have arrived.  Remember - More than one way leads to the same destination.
After today we will all travel our own separate ways.
Before we depart, I want to leave you with this: The road to success may be long, but enjoy the good times and persevere through the difficult ones. It is okay to reroute. Remember, never settle and do not to stop until you reach your destination.
I wish you all safe travels.
Congratulations Class of 2019