A challenge of philanthropy and pursuing dreams

On Wednesday, Oct. 19 the Class of 2017 accepted the Jefferson Challenge and set sail across the Chesapeake Bay to kick-off its philanthropic efforts.

The Jefferson Challenge is an annual senior class tradition that began in 2002 after Ken Scribner, a philanthropist from Portsmouth, donated 1,001 $2 bills to Norfolk Collegiate in honor of the Class of 2002.

With Scribiner’s desire to make the money grow, he challenged the senior class to reach 100 percent participation in giving to the Annual Fund. It was named the Jefferson Challenge as Thomas Jefferson’s photo appears on the bill and was known for his dedication to education.

“Learning about philanthropy is very important for our students,” said Cayte Brown ’08, alumni relations coordinator. “Having the experience they do with the Jefferson Challenge allows them to understand the basic concept of giving back to something that has given so much to them.”

The boat trip expanded our students’ perception of giving as they traveled across the bay to the historic Fort Wool where they explored and enjoyed lunch.

“The Jefferson Challenge allows us as students to give back to the community that has already provided so much,” said Grant Campion ’17, senior class president. “I cannot wait to see what this year’s senior class will accomplish together in our fundraising efforts. I have no doubt that the challenge will demonstrate the values of philanthropy and giving back to a community which we hold in such high regard.”

Before our students journeyed to Fort Wool, Eric Newman, founder of Roc Solid Foundation, encouraged them to push toward their dreams.

“Don’t let anyone tell you your dreams aren’t possible,” said Newman. “Don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done. We’re all governed by an idea and every human being in this world has a why. Share your why with the world, and it will change someone’s life.”

Newman, who founded his organization around the premise of ‘hope,’ has changed the lives of hundreds of children diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For the past seven years, Roc Solid has built more than 300 projects throughout the United States, including Hampton Roads, Connecticut and Texas.  

“I think the thing that really resonated with me was don’t give up on your dream no matter what,” said Tori Cherry ’17.

To view the photo album of the Jefferson Challenge, click here.