Nacona was recently given the distinct honor of being a Lifetime Executive Knight, an honor that few Woodward Academy students receive. But what does this mean? On the surface, it means that he is one of only 8 students to have received this honor since 2012 when the title was first introduced. The process to become a Lifetime Exec is not concrete and does not include a checklist of skills that can be marked off. Each recipient was chosen because they stood above the rest of the student population. The vagueness and ambiguity of this honor is what makes it special and distinct, and that much more meaningful to each Knight who receives it.
Each Lifetime Exec started the same way on campus: as a new peer who didn’t have a full understanding of the Woodward Academy way. Over the course of their stay on campus, they picked up on the student culture, learned from their student leaders, and formed their own leadership style. All of these Execs took on a mentoring role on their dorms, and spoke their mind and offered feedback to other student leaders (some who they may have befriended). They had to be the bearer of bad news at times, but were also the beneficiary of Knights privileges. Their role shifted with the pulse of campus, but they knew that and always accepted the challenge because it was in them to lead… and they embraced it.
The honor is a reflection of what they did on campus. I would be remiss to say that receiving the Lifetime Executive Knight honor is a guarantee for success. It is not. As a school, we equipped these students to distinguish themselves as leaders amongst their peers, and then they leave and put into practice what they have learned. Some check in periodically to offer updates on how they are doing. One is entering his junior year at college on the east coast, doing exceptionally well. Another I had the benefit of running into at Target of all places. As we were both getting household essentials, we locked eyes at the same time, but he was the first to draw his hand for a gentleman’s handshake. We exchanged pleasantries, he introduced me to his girlfriend, and assured me he was doing well. He was getting stuff for his apartment. After two minutes, we parted ways and I left knowing he was still a Knight inside. It should not have surprised me, he is a Lifetime Executive Knight after all.