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Sail Nauticus Academy Graduation 2023

By Sarah Linden – Brooks

Each June, we get to indulge in our favorite event here at Sail Nauticus—Sail Nauticus Graduation. Our spring celebration includes a family week during the final week of programming. Family members of our Academy students are invited out for a sail. This special program allows parents to meaningfully connect with their kids and experience the magic of sailing firsthand. Our week culminates with a bridging ceremony for sixth and seventh graders and graduation of our eighth graders.

This year we welcomed state Delegate Jackie Glass as our keynote speaker. Her son graduated from our program in 2020. As a parent of one of our alumni she reflected on the power of the program to build confidence and character in our students. By entrusting adolescents with vessels on the busy Elizabeth River–long before these students are eligible for driver’s licenses—Delegate Glass described Sail Nauticus Academy as a gift of freedom, an opportunity not often afforded to middle-schoolers.

Our students also know that our program is special. One of our 2023 graduates wrote this in their journal this spring: “I drove the motorboat which was kind of awesome. The sailboat was also real fun to ride in… [It was a] pretty good day on the water.” Another shared, “Today was awesome! I love being on the water! I learned so much & can’t wait for next time.”

Even as someone who gets to see the magic of the program on a weekly basis, Delegate Glass’s perspective provided a new lens and appreciation for me. Her impassioned speech focused on how special Sail Nauticus is—and how the program we facilitate “is not normal” it is extraordinary. As we celebrate the accomplishments of the 2022-2023 school year, I hope you’ll consider a donation to Sail Nauticus to enable us to continue this extraordinary program into the future.