‘NSA has prepared us well’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Family, friends, faculty, and the Class of 2005 celebrated a common end and many new beginnings on Saturday morning during Nan-semond-Suffolk Academy’s graduation exercises outside.

Along with signaling a new chapter for the 77 graduating seniors, this year’s ceremony also marked the conclusion of Dr. Douglas C. Naismith’s 16 years of service as the President of Nansemond-Suffolk.

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&uot;I feel particularly close to this class because we entered our educational careers at about the same time,&uot; Naismith said in his main address, &uot;and now we finish together.

&uot;I took my position as interim president in 1989, which was the same year my son John nearly burned down the cafeteria during a talent show. I was afraid my career at NSA was going to end before it had a chance to begin.&uot;

Giving one final lecture to the Class of ’05, Dr. Naismith said that in an ever-changing, ever-shrinking worldwide community, the lessons of teamwork, communication, imagination, and creativity will become the truly valuable parts of what NSA passes on to each class.

&uot;Each of you has something that no one else in the world has,&uot; he said, &uot;sole control of your own lives. Live it with passion. Live it with joy. You only get one chance. Along the way, try to give back some of the good you’ve received from others who have helped you along the way.&uot;

Headmaster Shane Foster, who will be taking Naismith’s place as president in July, acknowledged numerous scholarship and award winners among the graduating seniors. Among the most notable awards given were The D. A. R. Good Citizenship Award to Ashlee Robb, The Oberdorffer Drama Award to Justin Naramore, the Nachiket Patel Cup, for the graduate who best symbolizes the enthusiastic desire to seek knowledge, to Zachary Phillips, and the Douglas C. Naismith Leadership Award to Griffin Powell.

Salutatorian Ellis Pretlow and Valedictorian Callie Peak then addressed their fellow classmates. Pretlow, among numerous other positions and accomplishments, is a Princeton Book Award recipient, served as a page at the state capitol in Richmond, was the captain of the girls’ lacrosse team, and had received the History Cup earlier in the morning. Peak was a winner of The UVA Jefferson Book Award, the editor of NSA’s yearbook The Spectrum, and captain of the field hockey team.

&uot;Today is the first day of the rest of your life,&uot; Pretlow said. &uot;NSA has prepared us well to go out into the rest of our lives. Be prepared to seize the day.&uot;

Peak followed, using the game of Monopoly as a synonym to the game of life.

&uot;Some play by the rules, and some will bend the rules. We are all now here sitting on Go.&uot;

&uot;I thank the Class of 2005 for being the talented, diverse, and exciting group you are. I am proud to graduate among you.&uot;

All 77 members of the graduating class are heading to four-year colleges, with destinations ranging from as local as Old Dominion and Hampton Universities to as distant as Brigham Young University. 78 percent of the class will be attending Virginia schools with 16 of the 77, including the Valedictorian and Salutatorian, going to UVA.