NOVA Community Stories

NOVA makes learning and living better for people throughout our community—and beyond.

NOVA Middle School has been in the Olympia area for decades and every year, as our circle gets bigger, we hear more and more stories from students and former students about the amazing impact our school has had on their lives. But the stories don’t stop there. We also hear from parents and grandparents of students and alums and from community members who believe in the power of a NOVA education. 

Sarah Joy (Cundiff) White 2008

NOVA was really a key place for me at a pivotal time in life.

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Matthew Rosen 2012

NOVA taught me to think critically, to be curious, and to love learning.

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Laurel (Olfson-Manning) Schimelfenig 2007

NOVA was a safe place where I knew the staff, teachers, and fellow peers were there to support and guide me.

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Madalyn Homan 2023

I have gained so many new friends at my time at NOVA and it was truly a great experience, I leaned more about myself and got more confident and comfortable with who I am.

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Being Accepted—No Matter Who You Are

"During elementary school years, my second child took only deli meat and cheese sandwich for lunch. Every single day...Little did I know why he limited his lunch options until he started attending NOVA."

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Learning is a Journey and a Gift

"When I was in 5th grade, school was already pretty disappointing. Pointless work, and school was losing its meaning for me. Sixth grade at NOVA turned that upside down, and suddenly school was fun again and I couldn’t wait to go to NOVA every day."

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Even on a Snow Day

"That’s what NOVA meant to our daughter. It was her school, it was her time, it was her place. It was offering something so special, something so worthwhile, that she was willing to go even on a snow day."

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My Daughter Found Her Voice

"I believe in and have witnessed NOVA’s ability to create an inclusive and safe environment for children of color...It was at NOVA that my daughter found her voice within a community."

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We want as many families as possible to experience NOVA

"We want as many families as possible to experience the feeling of family, care, challenge and understanding that are the foundation of a NOVA education. We know our financial support makes that possible."

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Why Our Family Gives to NOVA

"My kids still applaud and honor NOVA for the impact those middle school years made on their lives, even now that three of them are in college and beyond. That's why we give."

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Maisie Maclay '15

"NOVA really emphasized that individuals can make a difference, and I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied unless I feel like I’m doing important work that uses my abilities to benefit others."

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Katie (Disharoon) Brussard '98

"When you have smart classmates and teachers who really care about your development as a human, you can't help but start to take on their good traits as well!"

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Mackenzie Brown '02

Senior Educational Designer at Committee for Children, a global nonprofit that fosters the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development. Learn more about Committee for Children at

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Bjorn Cole '95

One of the first graduates in NOVA’s history, Bjorn's early interest in science led to a career in rocket science, including a seven-year stint with NASA. He is currently a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin.

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Owen Timms '15

A freshman at George Washington University, Owen is on the varsity sailing team and qualified for the 2019 Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association Singlehanded Championship. Learn more about Owen's sailing success at

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