NSA soars in Relay assembly

Published 10:09 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2019

It wasn’t your typical assembly at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy last week, and that’s what made it so much fun.

I got to cover the school’s 2019 Relay for Life kick-off assembly on Feb. 28 in the Upper School auditorium. College Counseling Coordinator Candy Nash and NSA’s Relay for Life team captains took advantage of this year’s theme to stage a frantic morning for students and faculty alike.

The theme for the Suffolk Relay this year is “Passport for a Cure — Relay around the World,” and the teams embodied that with their own plane costumes. Each team made a soap-box styled airplane and ran to teammates in a relay race that was between seven different countries’ flags inside the gym.

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There were hundreds of high schoolers cheering on the “pilots” from the bleachers. Students handed off their goggles, scarves and planes to their teammates at each flag, who then had to say “thank you” in that country’s official language.

They hustled to an energetic soundtrack that included “Don’t Stop Me Now,” one of my Freddie Mercury favorites. They also grabbed stickers that each represented one of the healthy superfoods for boosting the immune system that are found in each respective country.

They finally crossed the finish line when they made it back to the American flag and took a bite of a carrot, a national superfood. Nash said to me that she looked for the most cartoonish carrots that she could find.

“The kids came up with that,” Nash said about the carrot chomps after the event. “They thought it would be funny.”

Congratulations to the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy teams for putting on such a fun show, and for raising more than $2,500 for the Relay as of last week’s assembly.

NSA has formed teams and raised money for Relay annually since 1998. Nancy Freeman Russell, the former lower school headmaster who died in 1999, worked hard to bring Relay to the school after she was diagnosed with cancer several years earlier. It had been held at the school for a number of years.

These students understand how important this cause is because they know classmates that dealt with or are currently dealing with their own cancer diagnoses.

“It’s a big deal at our school, so it wasn’t hard to get people to participate,” sophomore team captain Rylee Bono, 16, said after her team won the relay on Feb. 28. “They know that it’s for a really good cause.”

The Relay for Life of Suffolk will be held from noon to 10 p.m. May 18 at Nansemond River High School, 3301 Nansemond Parkway. The fundraising goal for this year is $150,000, and $20,996.56 has been raised as of Thursday evening, with 73 days left to go, according to the event’s website.

Visit relayforlife.org/suffolkva for more information.