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NFA News: Of scholars, feasts and recruitment

Norwich Free Academy students continue to shine.

Alexia Ramos-Labonte ‘21 was recognized as a Hispanic Scholar by the College Board. Jareth Tossas ‘21 was also recognized by the College Board as a Hispanic Scholar and an African American Scholar. This recognition is for students who score in the top 2.5 percent of those who took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test nationwide.

In addition, Emma Browning ‘21 was named a ‘Commended’ student in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. To earn this designation, Browning placed in the top 50,000 scores of the more than 1.5 million students who took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Have feast, will travel

The ninth annual Sachem Campus Harvest Feast was held Wednesday, Nov. 18. And, like many things this year, it was done in a unique way. Community feasts (including the Harvest Feast, Winter Feast and Spring Feast) have been a much-loved and highly anticipated tradition at Sachem Campus since the program began in 2012.

While folks couldn’t gather in person for the Harvest Feast, our team took the show on the road! Sachem Campus faculty and staff delivered a harvest meal to every Sachem family, including a turkey dinner for each member of the household, festive tableware, a special floral centerpiece made by Sachem students during the last Connections period before the switch to remote learning and, of course, a special dessert. In total, we delivered 271 meals!

Many pulled together to make this day a success, and we are grateful for all of the support. We are especially grateful to all of our families who make Sachem Campus such a special place.

A new way to get the word out

While the Sachem Harvest Feast was brought directly to our families, our recruitment message is following the same formula.

Normally at this time of year, John Iovino, our director of student affairs, and Jessica Vocatura, our director of guidance and school counseling, are out and about visiting all area eighth graders to share important information with them about NFA.

Again, this year means a new way to do many things. So, Iovino and Vocatura have been meeting remotely with eighth graders in our partner districts: Bozrah, Canterbury, Franklin, Lisbon, Norwich, Preston, Sprague and Voluntown.

As they speak directly to the kids in their classrooms (or at home), they also have been showing a video of what life is like at NFA and answering questions from kids to help them understand all they need to know before choosing NFA as their next school destination.

We are also hosting a virtual open house Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m. Anyone can tune in and watch and learn more. To see the program, go to

Get your NFA gear

Looking for some official NFA gear? We are proud to unveil our new online merchandise shop. From hats and t-shirts to backpacks, polo shirts and more, there’s something for everyone. Even a special section for special alumni gear! Go online and check out at

Bravo, bravo!

Here’s to the cast of NFA Playshop. Under the direction of Philip Trostler, our Playshop found a unique way to produce its fall production of “The Monologue Show.” Twenty-nine of our students recorded their parts in a safe and socially distant way in our on-campus television studio. The parts were then edited into a movie format and available for people to watch online from the comfort of their own home. Viewers tuned in from around the country to watch the show! Next up, work begins on a winter production. Stay tuned for more details.

Michael O’Farrell is the director of communications at NFA and a parent of a two students, Class of 2022 and 2025. He can be reached at


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