The Class of 2016 sails toward hope with the Jefferson Challenge

On Oct. 14, the Class of 2016 embarked on a journey of history and hope, as they accepted the Jefferson Challenge and gained a greater understanding of what hope truly looks like.

The morning began with Eric Newman, founder of Roc Solid Foundation, who changed the students’ perception of the word hope. Newman, who combined his love for construction with his childhood story of being a cancer survivor, encouraged students to live their dreams. He shared a powerful video that moved the entire room and ignited one of our students to share his story of overcoming childhood cancer.

“It’s been a longtime since I’ve talked to someone about being a childhood cancer survivor,” said senior Jack Matthew ’16. “Eric gave a new perspective of hope because he understands the grief that families experience. He and I know what it’s like, and he has decided to create hope for others; I knew I had to shake his hand.”

The day took a lighter turn as the class gathered its belongings and boarded buses that would take them on a journey across the Chesapeake Bay. They boarded a boat and furthered learned the importance of giving and enjoyed a historical lesson of Fort Wool along the way, where they toured and enjoyed lunched. 

"The senior boat trip is not only a great opportunity for the Class of 2016 to come together but also a symbol of taking responsibility in the larger school community,” said Victor Layne ’16, senior class president. “The Jefferson Challenge allows students to give back to an institution that has provided them with an incredible education, applicable skills and life-long connections. I have high expectations for this year's senior class and have no doubt that we will incorporate unprecedented creativity into our fundraising efforts."

The Jefferson Challenge boat trip is an annual senior class tradition, which 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.

Scribner wanted the school to make this money grow, so he challenged the senior class to reach 100 percent participation in the Annual Fund by matching his donation.  

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

“The Jefferson Challenge is an amazing opportunity for our seniors to understand the value of philanthropy and giving back to our school community and their local communities,” said Cayte Brown, alumni coordinator.

The challenge is led by Brown whose role is to teach the senior class what it means to give to its community.

“Kicking off the challenge with the annual boat trip is always a great way for the students to have fun, bond as a class and begin the process of becoming alumni of Norfolk Collegiate. I know that with the 2016 senior class officers, this class is going to excel,” said Brown.