A new twist to the Jefferson Challenge

Philanthropy is a major component of the Norfolk Collegiate community and our students learn daily the impact of its generosity.

The Class of 2016 has met the request of 100 percent giving with the Jefferson Challenge; however, the senior class has raised the bar and is now challenging the entire Upper School to join the challenge and donate to the Annual Fund.

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

The challenge soon became a Collegiate tradition for each senior class. It receives its name because Thomas Jefferson’s photo appears on the bill, and he is known for his dedication to education.

“In previous years, the Jefferson Challenge has been a huge success among the senior class,” said Victor Layne ’16, senior class president. “When we saw how quickly we were able to reach 100 percent participation, we knew that we could take the challenge a step further.”

The Class of 2016 has definitely taken the challenge to a new height. Not only has it encouraged the Upper School body to reach $1,000 in giving, but it has also introduced incentives that include our faculty and staff as well.

“I think everyone is excited to see faculty members carry out their challenges,” said Victor. “Surprisingly, they are ready to complete the challenge. After all, who wouldn’t want to see Ms. Weyer in a banana suit, Mr. Benedict taped to the bell tower and Dr. McCormick shave his head? As for Mr. Kennedy’s challenge to pierce an ear, it may or may not have been his suggestion.”

With each donation goal the Upper School reaches, our faculty and staff have agreed to their challenge as an incentive to encourage our students to donate.

Once students reach a dollar amount of $250, Nicole Weyer, Upper School dean of students, has agreed to wear a banana suit. At $500, Evan Benedict, Upper School English teacher, has agreed to be taped to the school’s bell tower. A goal of $750 means Scott Kennedy, Collegiate’s headmaster, will pierce his ear. Once the school reaches $1,000, Dr. Chuck McCormick, head of the Upper School, has agreed to shave his head.

All of the prompts will take place in front of the Upper School body during an assembly.

“I am thrilled that the senior class officers are inviting the Upper School community to participate in the Jefferson Challenge efforts,” said Weyer. “By having creative fundraising goals that are sure to inspire many people to contribute, it puts a playful and inspiring face to supporting Norfolk Collegiate. I was happy to be a part of this initiative and even offered a few silly ideas beyond the banana suit.”

The Upper School has a great challenge ahead of them and it has everyone talking.

“We picked faculty members that would be up for the challenge,” said Victor. “Additionally, we thought it would be most entertaining if faculty members were given challenges outside of their comfort zone. But more importantly, it will show the outside community that we are capable of making a difference despite our youth.”

Kennedy is extremely impressed by our students’ philanthropic goals.

“Developing habits of philanthropy are valuable life lessons,” said Kennedy. “Teaching students the importance of giving back, regardless of the cause, is part of our purpose as a school and makes us a better community.”

He’s also really comfortable with the challenge that lies ahead.

“The seniors came to me with some ideas for the challenge, and I thought it was a fun idea. We talked about lots of options but settled with this one,” he said. “I declined the opportunity to shave my head, but I agreed to get a hole punched into my ear instead.”

If you would like to join the seniors in their challenge, click here to donate to the Annual Fund.