Norfolk Collegiate School offers its students an education with a strong set of values, a caring community and the tools to succeed, and our fourth annual U.N.I.T.Y. Day proved it.
“U.N.I.T.Y. (Understanding New Ideas Throughout the Year) Day is a day of total experience, from our upperclassmen working all day with most of the lower school (K-4,) to having the fifth grade class travel to the Middle and Upper school campus, to all of the varied projects that the different groups work on, the entire day shows what our students can accomplish together,” said dean of students and co-coordinator of U.N.I.T.Y. Day Shannon Parker.
The 2013 theme was the American quilt. Incorporating unique qualities of America, and emphasizing that a quilt represents the combination of many different things to make a unified product, set the stage for a successful U.N.I.T.Y. Day this year.
While the students worked across both campuses, they unified as a student body to create a sense of community, explore different means of philanthropy and use the knowledge of all ages to better their education.
When the youngest kindergarten students and the oldest upperclassmen come together on U.N.I.T.Y. Day, we illustrate the true Norfolk Collegiate community. Students were divided into three teams; eleventh and twelfth grades with kindergarten through fourth grade students; fifth, seventh and ninth grade students; and sixth, eighth and tenth grade students, bringing all ages together across the campuses. Each division then separated into groups with students from varying age levels in each, and together performed tasks, created projects, explored American history, and much more. U.N.I.T.Y. Day concludes with a relay race among all students. With the help of Skype, both campuses are connected as one.
“Through joining our oldest students with our youngest, and every age in between, U.N.I.T.Y. Day shows how together our Norfolk Collegiate School community really is,” said Head of the Lower School and co-coordinator of U.N.I.T.Y. Day Cleteus Smith.
Tenth grade student Trey Ritter said, “I think the younger guys, sixth and eighth grade, will be more comfortable when they get into high school because of U.N.I.T.Y. Day, but I also think that high school students will start to see familiar faces in the lower and middle schools, which can help bring us all together.”
“My favorite part of the day is the Skype relay race. Is there any better way to show that our campuses, our students and our schools are connected from beginning to end?” said Parker.
U.N.I.T.Y. Day not only provided a learning experience and an exciting day, but allowed Norfolk Collegiate to give back to the community in many ways. The students wrote letters to service members, organized a canned food drive for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, sang for senior citizens at the Granby House and donated gently used clothing to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD).
“The combined effort of all the students is truly amazing when they work together, and to have some of that effort go back into the Norfolk community is one of many reasons that this is a great day,” Parker said.
“Seeing all of the us organized, together and giving back is always a treat for everyone at NCS, but also the community as a whole,” said senior Mark Jamias.
“Going to the Granby House was a great way to show our support in the community,” said Head of Middle School Chuck McCormick.
U.N.I.T.Y. Day allowed for the Norfolk Collegiate student body to connect through teaching each other. Arriving early to the Lower School campus, the upperclassmen had the opportunity to teach quilt making, the origins of the American flag and the importance of the quilt to the younger students. The fifth, seventh and ninth grade students explored everything from the most uniquely American games, like lacrosse, to orienteering and debate reenactment. The sixth, eighth and tenth grade groups selected eras of American history and created fashionable clothes, historical artifacts and a 90-second commercial to illustrate their time period. As a whole the groups covered many important topics in American history, while teaching each other along the way.
“When we had to make the artifacts for the Revolutionary period, it was the sixth and eighth graders who helped us out the most. We could not have completed our projects without them,” said tenth grade student Lex Selig.
“Working with the high school students was fun. They know so much and we all got along like friends. They helped us out a lot with the project and made high school seem really exciting,” said seventh grade student Jackson Burke.
Headmaster Scott Kennedy sums the day up best when he says that, “U.N.I.T.Y. Day is one of the most special days at Norfolk Collegiate because it highlights what we do well. Not only do we talk about bring our school together from Kindergarten through twelfth grade, but we actually take instructional time to foster relationships across the entire school… The two-campus relay to end the day is a great example of what NCS is all about. From the first student to the last, we are all connected, all together and all representing our community, which is unique and so special.”