Photo: The Flash Band group performs while Retina Burn students light the show.
In the days leading up to Spring Break at North Country School, we put a hold on our regular academic schedule and instead participate in our annual, and highly anticipated, Intersession week of special programming. Intersession gives students the opportunity to engage in new interests and delve deeper into some of their favorite activities during morning and afternoon sessions that connect to the arts, the outdoors, and our farm and garden.
This year’s Intersession brought our students into the wilderness to learn mountaineering skills like ice climbing and backcountry skiing; offered opportunities to make jewelry by wrapping, winding, and fusing metal; provided the time to create a stage-ready rock band from scratch; engaged our avid engineers in construction projects both large and small; and used campus-sourced resources to make homemade soap and hand-carved spoons. On Friday, our students, staff, and extended community gathered in the Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC) for the annual Intersession Showcases. During the event students shared what they learned, displayed completed projects, and recalled some of the week’s most memorable moments.
We’ll return to the North Country School campus at the end of March for our Spring Term and the many traditions that mark this time of year, including the maple sugaring season, canoe trips around the Adirondack Park’s many lakes and rivers, and the always exciting spring theater production. We hope you will join our students as they take part in the many aspects of the NCS experience that we look forward to each spring!
*Note: The next This Week At NCS update will be posted after we return from Spring Break in late March.
Top: Sophie carves a spoon in the Homesteading Intersession group. Middle 1: Carved spoons and a farm-themed blanket from the Homesteading session. Middle 2: A fort made from snow blocks. Middle 3: Ryan tests out a catapult. Middle 4: William designs and builds a robot. Middle 5: Vivián and Ariana make pasta dough using natural dyes. Middle 6: Making bowtie noodles. Middle 7: The Small Animal Care group visits an animal shelter. Middle 8: The Dancesploration group learns different dance styles. Bottom: The RC Plane group tests out their finished plane.
Intersession week allows our students the chance to learn about subjects they have not previously explored, or to gain a deeper knowledge in areas they have enjoyed in the past. This week we saw groups of students learn homesteading and crafting skills using ingredients from our farm and campus woods, expand their knowledge of castle construction and catapult engineering before destroying one with the other, and put their original Lego robot designs to the test in one-on-one battles. Others tested out a variety of homemade pasta dough recipes and noodle shaping methods, learned how to care for different types of small animals, tried out different styles of dance including tap and ballroom, and built and flew a large RC (radio controlled) plane.
Top: Emma weaves a basket. Middle 1: Riiley makes a ring from wire and beads. Middle 2: Jewelry made from wires. Middle 3: Meredith looks at Cody’s in-progress Metalsmithing project. Middle 4: Coco cuts metal. Middle 5: The Fused Glass group cuts and glues glass. Bottom: Eleanor’s fox, panda, and bear glass projects.
Other Intersession groups spent the week honing their creative and artistic skills while working on projects that will become beautiful keepsakes. Down in our art studios, some students learned a new craft that has deep roots in the Adirondack region: basket weaving. Others created decorative items and jewelry out of wound wire and beads, or by hammering and soldering pieces of metal into intricate shapes. Meanwhile, students working on glass projects spent the week cutting and fusing bits of colorful glass together into decorative pieces depicting floral scenes, cute animals, and vibrant abstract designs. The finished work will be used as coasters, bowls, spoon rests, jewelry, and hair clips.
Top: Scott and Aniella judge Anna Olivia, Claire, and Nina’s cookies during The Great NCS Bakeoff. Middle 1: Nadya works on her short film. Middle 2: Emily holds the poster for the NCS Newspaper Intersession Showcase. Middle 3: Joel makes edits on the NCS Bulletin. Middle 4: River, Sienna, and Stanley work on a lighting scheme. Middle 5: The Flash Band group performs during Intersession Showcases. Middle 6: Joseph and Yehor work on a paper-mâché spider. Bottom: Brynn organizes costumes for the spring production of The Hobbit.
Intersession also offers our students the chance to work together toward shared goals. This year a group of our avid cooks and bakers participated in The Great NCS Bake Off, working in pairs on a different filmed kitchen challenge each day that ended in guest judges deciding on a winner. The students and teachers then assembled the footage into a short—and very funny—film about their experience. Other students created much shorter films for the One Minute Film Festival session, which allowed groups to practice their writing, filming, and editing skills throughout the week. Students in the NCS Newspaper session also worked on their writing and editing as they researched original articles, organized layouts, and distributed a print newspaper in only five days time.
Another impressive five-day feat was accomplished together by two separate sessions: Flash Band, a rock-band built from scratch, and Retina Burn, a lighting-design group. The session groups worked together to perform a few songs, complete with stage lighting, for our extended community at Friday’s Intersession Showcases. Meanwhile, two other groups worked toward the shared goal of setting the scene for our spring theater production of The Hobbit. One group spent the week constructing the giant spiders needed for the show over in the WallyPAC shop, building the frames for the creatures before covering them in paper-mâché. The other group designed costumes for characters in the play, and assembled their costume-closet and thrift-store finds into looks for different scenes. We can’t wait to see the show come together when we return to campus after Spring Break.
Top: The Mountaineering Intersession group takes in the views. Middle 1: The Mountaineering group goes ice climbing. Middle 3: Roan ice skates on mirror lake. Middle 4: Gondola Goals skiers at Whiteface. Bottom: Kingston looks at ice skates from the 1930s at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
While many of our Intersession groups spent the week enjoying our indoor art studios and project spaces, others took advantage of the spectacular outdoor options available to us both on and off the NCS campus. Students in the Mountaineering group enjoyed the week of perfect winter conditions while ice climbing some of our local rock faces, skinning up and skiing down wooded backcountry runs, and learning how to safely recreate in snowy conditions. The NCS on Ice session covered plenty of (icy) ground as they skated and practiced their hockey skills on our campus rink, as well as on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid. Students in Gondola Goals had a week filled with one of North Country School’s favorite pastimes, downhill skiing, getting plenty of time to hone their skills at both our campus ski hill and at Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort. Meanwhile, the Winter Olympics group took part in a wide array of Olympic activities both on-campus and off, including alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, and ice skating, all while learning about Lake Placid’s role hosting these global games in 1932 and 1980.
Top: Students with their “50 mile” stickers. Middle 1: Jack and Tina with their “100 mile” stickers. Middle 2: Larry gives Liam a cookie award. Bottom: River and Wyatt with their cookie awards and Skimeister Winner backpacks.
Before we headed off for Spring Break at the end of the week, we took a moment to celebrate some of our students’ impressive achievements in the NCS outdoor program. During Monday’s lunch council we presented the custom “50 mile” and “100 mile” stickers to the students who have hiked, skied, and canoed that many miles over the course of the academic year. We are so proud of all of our avid outdoor enthusiasts, and to Jack and Tina for being the first students of the year to reach 100 miles of ground covered.
On Friday, we gathered together once more for our annual Skiemeister cookie award ceremony, during which we recognized many students who placed in the alpine, Nordic skiing, and freestyle races that took place during last week’s Skimeister and Signature Programs day. Everyone cheered for the winners as they received their giant cookie medals, and the fun and tasty ceremony came to a close by announcing 8th-graders Wyatt and River as the overall Skimeister winners. Congratulations to our many talented snow-sport competitors, and to Wyatt and River for receiving this annual North Country School honor!