NFA World - Sun., Oct. 7
Sianna Snodgross stands with donated Homecoming dresses in the Wildcat LOFT.

11th Grader Collects Dresses for Students in Need

Eleventh-grader Sianna Snodgrass knows how it feels to worry about affording a Homecoming dress. 

“My freshman year I didn’t go (to Homecoming) because I couldn’t afford it and I felt awful,” she said. “I know there are more girls in that same situation and even more in need, and I wanted to do something to help.”

This year, Snodgrass has collected donations of formal dresses to give away to students in need. Any student who donates a gently used dress to the Wildcat LOFT will receive half off their Homecoming dance ticket.

Between attending the football game, dance tickets, outfit, and accessories, the costs start to add up and many students struggle to find the funds for Homecoming weekend.  Snodgrass knows that more students will be able to enjoy the festivities with a little help. 

“If you want that perfect dress it can be really expensive,” she said. 

The collection was a huge success. After promoting the collection drive on the campus morning announcements, Snodgrass reached her goal and collected 40 dresses ranging from elegant little black dresses to fun and sparkly numbers. 


Students Perform “Scenes of Ellis Ruley” 

Students Perform “Scenes of Ellis Ruley”

English teacher Lauren Girasoli worked with a group of students to write and produce original vignettes inspired by the story of Ellis Walter Ruley, in conjunction with the Slater Museum exhibit of Ellis Ruley: Brought to Light, which celebrates the life and work of the Norwich artist. 

The scenes featured modern-day versions of the struggles that Ruley, an African-American artist, faced in his life including discrimination, racism, and more. These pieces, presented to a packed audience of students in Slater Auditorium, Thursday, Oct. 4, during the day explored the sensitive, yet relevant and timely, topics of online bullying and racial and gender discrimination.

Participating in the project were seniors Cami Hawkins, Kyle (Edouine) Gumboc Angel Ladford, Eudora Poe, and Holly Rust; eleventh-graders Chelsea Avery, Malachi Brown, Jasmin Clark, Erica Crawford, Julianna Durkee, Brady Rider, Destiny Rosario, and Litzianna Ruiz; tenth-graders Paige Buchan. Skylar Buchan, Valeria Jaquez, Corinne McEntee, Isabella Morabito, Zharia Pollard, and Raven Wawrzynowicz, and ninth-grader Nicole Ahrens.


Ellis Walter Ruley Exhibit Now Open in Slater Museum

Over 100 people attended the opening of Brought to Light: Ellis Walter Ruley (1882-1959) in Norwich, Sunday, Sept. 30. The exhibition, guest curated by by W. Frank Mitchell, PhD, Director of the Amistad Center at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and Vivian F. Zoë, Director of the Slater Memorial Museum, is sponsored by the  City of Norwich Ellis Walter Ruley Commemoration Committee.  

The Ellis Walter Ruley Quilt for the City of Norwich, a work inspired by the artist’s life and work hangs, prominently on display. On exhibition also was the 2015 bust of Ruley by Glenn Palmedo-Smith, and a host of artifacts retrieved from the excavation of the Ruley homestead on Hammond Ave., a site recently dedicated as a commemorative park in Ruley’s honor. Slater’s one work by Ruley “Landscape with Lions” an oil painting created with enamel house paint, joined 17 paintings on loan for the exhibition from the private collections of a variety of owners.  

A big hit was “The Green Hornet” a model of Ruley’s 1932 Chevrolet coupe. NFA teacher Todd Zagurski’s students in Community Design and Project Management built the model as a photo opportunity for visitors, especially children. Involved in that project were Christopher Hebert, David Kendall, and Cameron Rossi, members of the Class of 2018, and current seniors, Wyatt James and Angel Rosad.

Ellis Walter Ruley’s life story, the circumstances of his mysterious death, his unique, untrained, almost primitive style, his outsider status, and the limited number of works in his oeuvre are all factors contributing to a resurgence of interest in this Norwich artist and a surge in the value of his work.

The exhibition is on display through Dec. 7. Limited edition commemorative Giclee prints of Ellis Walter Ruley’s Daydreaming are now available in the Slater Museum Gift Shop.


Homecoming Weekend - Oct. 12-14

Alumni, families, and community members are invited to come together to celebrate the past, present and the future of NFA with a weekend of family, friends, fun, food and more as we cheer the Wildcats to victory.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit


PSAT Testing this Week

During the school day, Wed., Oct. 10, NFA will be giving the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) to all students in grades 10 and 11. Ninth-graders will take the PSAT 8/9. There is no fee for these tests, and there are no make-ups.

Students have received an email with their testing location and directions. More information is available online at