Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s new graduates celebrate receiving their diplomas at the end of graduation ceremonies Saturday morning on the lawn in front of the school. All 69 classmates will be attending college in the fall, according to school officials.
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s new graduates celebrate receiving their diplomas at the end of graduation ceremonies Saturday morning on the lawn in front of the school. All 69 classmates will be attending college in the fall, according to school officials.

Archived Story

‘Everything is possible’

Published 9:29pm Saturday, June 1, 2013

NSA graduates 2013 class

Under fair skies and a light breeze that seemed to promise nothing but the brightest of futures, 69 seniors at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy walked across a stage on the school’s lawn on Saturday and stepped into the next segment of their lives.

“Take advantage of every opportunity,” Student Council President Katherine Holcomb Miller advised her classmates as she welcomed them and guests to the school’s 2013 graduation ceremonies.

Describing a class consisting of students hailing from as far away as Cambodia and China, Rebecca Steigenga, interim head of NSA’s upper school, noted that 36 percent of the graduates had been Saints for all 13 years of their education, and she echoed the theme that Miller had set with her remarks.

Band members wait to perform the traditional Pomp and Circumstance.
Band members wait to perform the traditional Pomp and Circumstance.

“If dreams are held close to the heart and imagination is applied to what’s close at hand, everything is possible,” she said.

And with a class in which every student is college-bound, the possibilities are even better. Members of the 2013 class were offered more than $3.5 million in merit-based scholarships and accepted about $1 million worth, Steigenga said.

Graduates, faculty and guests heard a discourse on the formula for success from E. Dana Dickens III, a former mayor of Suffolk, who is now president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Partnership.

“This is not a dress rehearsal,” he said. It’s real. Go make the best of it. You can be anything you want to be, go anywhere you want to go and do anything you want to do.”

Dickens, who has served on the city’s planning commission and city council, completed two terms as mayor and was named Suffolk’s First Citizen in 2003 by the Suffolk Rotary Club.

He reminded the graduates that successful people set goals, are always prepared, are enthusiastic and are not afraid of failure.

“Looking out on this class today, I know we are ready,” salutatorian Grace Katherine Guarnieri said, noting “a hunger in our eyes for our futures.”

Making a metaphor that evoked her love of music, valedictorian Christine Victoria Comer compared her classmates to musicians.

“While we’re all very different, we have come together for our final performance as a class, as a family,” she said. “Now is the time for our next performance. I wish you a life with no regrets.

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