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Photo: The 9th-grade class on the summit of Cascade Mountain.

 This week marked the end of Spring Term at North Country School, bringing with it end-of-year traditions, completed projects, and preparations for our spring theater production of Mary Poppins. As we head into next week’s Endersession programming and approach our graduation ceremony next Saturday, May 29, we are reminded to slow down and appreciate the time we have left together in our beautiful mountain home. 

This year has provided all of us—around the nation and the world—with unexpected challenges and a fair share of difficult times, but we can’t overlook the joyous moments we’ve shared together as a community. This week our 9th-graders participated in their annual Cascade Mountain hike, just as NCS graduating seniors have during other complicated moments in history. Like those who came before them, the group gathered together on the summit of the mountain that rises above our Adirondack campus to celebrate one another and their time at NCS. We are excited to see this year’s graduating class embark on their next adventures, and to watch them find their footing as the thoughtful and compassionate leaders, artists, learners, and trailblazers they have already proven themselves to be.

Note: In order to include Endersession, our graduation ceremony, and other end-of-year special events, the next #ThisWeekAtNCS blog will be posted on Monday, May 31.

ACADEMICS

Top: The 4th-grade science class with their ADK workbooks on Trouble. Middle 1: Alea on Trouble. Middle 2: A nature mapping activity on the trail down Trouble. Bottom: Colton designs the final 8th-grade Anthology cover. 

This week, our 4th-grade science class finished the Spring Term by completing an ongoing observation project they began in the Fall Term. Throughout the year the class has been participating in the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK)’s Marie L. Haberl School Outreach Program, which strives to promote responsible outdoor recreation, scientific inquiry, and eco-literacy with 4th-grade classes across the region. On Wednesday, the class was joined by ADK educator Mayfly Maggie for their second hike up Trouble viewpoint to observe the changes in the natural landscape that have occurred since autumn. The group spent their second-to-last class of the year observing the spring sights all around them, including painted trillium flowers, trout lilies, and newly-opened leaf buds, before recapping their knowledge of Leave No Trace outdoor principles. Before heading down to out-time, the group mapped out the different plant life growing in a specific square space along the trail. 

Our 8th-grade English students are also wrapping up a great year of learning with their final class anthology and shared reading. This past week, Colton put the finishing touches on the anthology cover design, and on Friday the class came together one final time to hold a literary cafe where they read one another’s work. A few of our students have also chosen to select pieces of their 8th-grade writing to submit to various literary journals and magazines. We are so proud of our young writers, and the impressive and moving poems, essays, memoirs, and flash fiction they have written over the course of this academic year. 

 Top: Langlang and Samantha fill their rocket with water. Middle 1: A rocket ready for launch. Middle 2: Mia pressurizes her rocket. Bottom: A rocket takes off.

This week, our 7th-grade science students spent time in the beautiful spring weather while finishing up an exciting project they’ve been working on for the past week. The group has been designing soda bottle rockets, experimenting with different amounts of water and levels of air pressure for their launches, and headed over to the Upper Field to test out their calculations for the final launch. The bluebird day provided the perfect backdrop for the event, which was a great success as different rockets flew over 150 feet across the green grass of the soccer field, past views of Clark House and the surrounding mountain range. 

ARTS

Top: Larry installs the 4th-grade monkey bars. Middle 1: Larry and the 4th graders finish filling in the dirt around the monkey bars. Middle 2: Testing out the new monkey bars. Bottom: Larry, Caroline, and Elyssa pose with the 4th-grade class in front of their completed monkey bar project.

Our youngest students have spent the past several weeks working hard on the design and construction of their monkey bar project, and this past week we all celebrated as this exciting new addition to our campus was officially installed. Design and Build teacher Larry carefully set the monkey bars in place in pre-dug holes, and the students helped shovel the final piles of dirt around the play structure. The monkey bars were an immediate hit, and we’ve loved seeing our students enjoy climbing and swinging on the structure every day since. 

Top: Sierra works with Eden on her photography portfolio. Middle: Nate works on his final ceramics project. Bottom: The cast of Mary Poppins rehearses a scene.

Our creative students worked hard this week to finish up final projects in courses across our arts program, including photography, filmmaking, fibers, woodshop, set design, and ceramics. We have loved watching the finishing touches go on the work coming out of our studio and shop spaces, and look forward to seeing the completed designs on display during next week’s graduation ceremony. Meanwhile, our cast and crew have been hard at work making sure the spring theater production of Mary Poppins is ready to go, working out details of scene blocking, memorizing last lines, sewing final costume alterations, and completing lighting schemes. We can’t wait to see the different elements at play come together next week during the in-person and live-streamed performances. Check below for details on how to watch the productions virtually!

OUTDOORS

Top: Students complete trail work on a Saturday trip. Middle 1: Inyene completes trail work. Middle 2: The community takes part in the staff-student ultimate Frisbee game. Bottom: Wyatt waves the Plaid flag to support the student ultimate Frisbee team. 

This past Saturday, the students in our Outdoor Leadership Program participated in their culminating trip of the year, volunteering for a local trail building organization, the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA). The group, joined by a handful of other NCS students, spent the day at the nearby Hardy Road trail system cutting dead roots and raking loose rocks out of the trail. The group completed nearly two miles of work to the top of the trail. We were so proud to see our students playing a part in helping maintain our beautiful Adirondack outdoor recreation spaces. 

Back on campus, the students on our ultimate Frisbee team finished off their season with a fun student vs. staff game. The whole school community came out to either play or support our students and teachers in the fun and low-stakes game, which ultimately ended with a win for our campus adults. 

Top: The Range-in-a-Day hikers on their Saturday trip. Middle: The 9th-grade class reaches the Cascade Mountain summit. Bottom: 9th-graders Teagan, Eden, Ella, and Grace fly the rainbow pride flag on the Cascade Mountain summit. 

This past week we celebrated two long-held NCS outdoor program traditions. A group of avid hikers participated in the “Range-In-a-Day” Saturday trip, and our 9th-grade class hiked up Cascade Mountain—the 4,098-foot peak that rises above our Adirondack campus. The Range-in-a-Day hikers were up and out on the trail early, conquering nearby Rooster Comb, Hedgehog, and Lower Wolf Jaw mountains over the course of a long day. Everyone was in high spirits and full of support for their classmates as they successfully covered an impressive 13.5 miles with 3,200 feet of elevation gain. 

Our 9th-grade class also covered a lot of ground as they participated in our annual graduating class tradition of hiking up Cascade Mountain. The class left campus early on Wednesday, splitting into two smaller groups to hike the mountain, then convened on the expansive, rocky summit to recognize their achievement, one another, and their time at NCS. We are so proud of our graduation class for all that they have done in their time with us, and for the thoughtful, enthusiastic, and compassionate way they navigate the world. We look forward to celebrating each of them next Saturday at our NCS graduation ceremony. 

 FARM AND GARDEN

Top: The 7th-grade Edible Schoolyard class meets our hive of honeybees. Middle 1: A honeybee visits a dandelion in the Children’s Garden. Middle 2: Will wears beekeeping gear. Bottom: The sheep enjoy grass in the barnyard.

We have been moving through Spring Term at North Country School since late March, but we all know that true spring often arrives late to our wintry mountain home. This week it became clear that spring is truly here to stay, with an explosion of dandelions popping up around our campus green spaces and with a flurry of activity in our new bee hive. Edible Schoolyard (ESY) classes celebrated the season by learning all about these crucial pollinators, viewing a presentation full of bee-facts and watching a video on the amazing “waggle dance,” which worker honeybees use to show their hive the location of flowers. Each class ended with a visit to the hive for some calm-and-quiet bee observation. Students were excited to try out the beekeeping gear used by our farmers when they open up the hive, and to watch as worker bees traveled a consistent route from their hive entrance to the garden and pasture to collect nectar and pollen. 

Our herd of sheep was also thrilled with the arrival of true springtime conditions, getting out on grass for the first time since the long Adirondack cold season arrived in late November. Our ewes and lambs were full of bounding excitement as they ran around the barnyard snacking on bright green grass, enjoying the fresh air and warm temperatures just as much as we all have been throughout this beautiful spring week. 

Check back next week to see what we’re up to on our mountain campus.

END-OF-YEAR EVENTS

North Country School is providing a live stream of our end-of-year events for those who are not able to be on campus this year. We have chosen to use the Zoom Webinar format because most of our families are familiar with Zoom, and the platform can be reached by all of our families and friends, even from overseas.

NCS Music Recital
May 28, 2021 4:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Please click the link below to join the livestream:
https://zoom.us/j/99711011274

NCS Performance: Mary Poppins
May 28, 2021 7:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Please click the link below to join the livestream:
https://zoom.us/j/93357119522

North Country School 2021 Graduation
May 29, 2021 09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Please click the link below to join the livestream:
https://zoom.us/j/91712215141