Norwich Free Academy holds 165th graduation ceremony
School name: Norwich Free Academy
Ceremony location: Norwich Free Academy, Alumni Gymnasium, 305 Broadway, Norwich.
Number of graduates: 522.
Guest speaker: Vincent Laudone, NFA Class of 1973: “Uncertainty is okay. It is part of living. It is present in every aspect of our lives for each one of us, at age 18 or 68. Embrace it. Be open to what comes, be flexible in your thinking, and be true to the values that are important to you. Appreciate what you have and not what you don’t, be kind to all, and do not just aim for good, aim for exceptional.”
Ivy Orator: Leopoldine Bertrand: “So today I only want to spread the love, So, I am your village. I want to tell you how proud I am of every single one of you, and no matter what you’ve done, and what you’ve been through, YOU have been it here. So, 2023 graduates, I hope you remember that because of your hard work, dedication, and sleepless nights, you did this. You will flip that tassel with hands that will pave a path that has just begun, a path that is destined for greatness and the highest achievement.”
Class Speaker: Rachel Orcutt: “Yes, I am that girl in your class who actually did the assigned reading, and yes, I am going to ask our teacher when the next chapters are due, and yes, I am aware that I am a major buzzkill. I am also the girl who is incredibly grateful for the talented teachers she studied under while here at NFA, and for the classics she had the good fortune of reading. Never stop picking up books and turning pages. Buff up your mind. Build your vocabulary. Broaden your scope. And please, do yourself a favor: finish that novel you’ve let bake in the desk lamp-sun on your nightstand.”
Head of School: Brian Kelly: “Graduation is a special time, and this is a moment you will most certainly remember for the rest of your life. All of you should celebrate your success today and revel in the fact that today represents the next step in your journey — a journey I hope will be filled with love, joy, laughter and prosperity.”
Highlights: This was NFA’s 165th commencement ceremony. It was Head of School Brian Kelly’s final graduation ceremony at NFA.
Kelly asked for a moment of silence to remember alumni, faculty staff who have passed away since last year’s graduation ceremony, especially honoring Class of 2023 student Tyshon Ozzie Harper, who was killed along with his mother, Jamie Krajewski, when they were struck by a car while standing at the side of the highway on Interstate 395 in Montville Sept. 16, 2022.
NFA continued its tradition of inviting the graduating class of 50 years ago to participate in the graduation ceremony. More than 50 members of the Class of 1973 attended Friday’s ceremony.
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