students watch the eclipsePhoto: Rosalie, Kate, Ivy, and Laurie watch the solar eclipse.  

It was a momentous week for our community, as we were fortunate to be in the path of totality during Monday’s total solar eclipse. As the eclipse began in the afternoon, we headed to various locations across campus like the hike up to Trouble and the Upper Field, and looked up in awe as the sun became entirely obscured by the moon for more than three minutes. The 360-degree sunset and mid-afternoon night sky were incredible to behold, and included views of several planets! As it was for so many people here in our North Country home and other North American regions, witnessing this incredible natural phenomenon was a day none of us will ever forget—one made all the more special because we shared the experience together.

ACADEMICS

a Japanese lesson about the eclipsea Japanese lesson about the eclipsea student makes an adapted eclipse maska student makes an adapted eclipse masktesting out a modified eclipse mask Top: Meredith talks to her class about the solar eclipse. Middle 1: A slide showing Japanese vocabulary related to the eclipse. Middle 2: Leo decorates an adapted eclipse mask during project time. Middle 3: Nina decorates her eclipse mask. Bottom: Elizabeth tests out her adapted eclipse mask. 

Our Japanese 2 students brought together information about the eclipse with the sentence structures they’ve practiced this year during a lesson exploring eclipse vocabulary. Students looked at how characters they’ve learned previously are used in the word 日食 nisshoku “eclipse,” which combines 日 (sun) and 食 (eat). The class continued their eclipse-related learning after the event itself by writing journal entries in Japanese about their experience, describing what they saw and the emotions they experienced.

Our 4th and 5th graders prepared for the eclipse using information they learned from Dr. O’Donoghue’s talk last week to adapt and test their eclipse glasses before the big event. During their weekly project time, the students talked about how eclipse glasses make it safe to look directly at the sun, and they took Dr. O’Donoghue’s advice and used paper plates to help the glasses fit their smaller-than-adult faces. On Monday they used the adapted glasses during their afternoon science class, during which they headed to the Upper Field to watch the eclipse take place from first contact at 2:13 p.m. through totality more than an hour later. 

ARTS

students take photos changing camera settingsstudents attend a workshop in New York Citya student thespian competitionstudents in front of a finished sculptureinstalling a sculptureTop: Brynn and Octa test out different camera settings. Middle 1: Adjusting camera settings. Middle 2: The Thespians group visits Brooklyn. Middle 2: Joel, Matías, and Jerry perform together at the Annual New York Thespian Festival. Middle 3: Metalshop students with their finished scorpion sculpture. Bottom: Installing the scorpion sculpture on Woods House roof. 

In Beginner Darkroom class, students have been thinking about how we interact with light, though not as it relates to the cosmos. After learning the fundamentals of using film cameras over the past few weeks, the group moved outside to look at how different aperture, exposure, and focal settings impact an image. They used their first roll of film to experiment with these variables, as well as with different types of composition, and will soon see the results when they develop the film in the darkroom. 

Meanwhile, our student-actors and young designers both experienced milestones in their learning when our Thespian class headed downstate to compete in the Annual New York Thespian Festival, and our Metalshop class installed their finished sculpture on campus. Over the course of the weekend, students in Thespians class competed in various categories including acting and costume design, attended workshops with professionals in the theater arts, and went to the Broadway show Hadestown! Metalshop students have spent the past several months working on our newest campus installation piece. To make the sculpture, the young artists transformed recycled circular saw blades and house jack parts into a large scorpion, and this week the impressive beast found its new home on a Woods House door overhang. We look forward to many years of seeing this cool creature enjoying its spot in the sunshine. 

OUTDOORS

students watch the eclipse from a viewpointa student watches the eclipsecrescent shadowswatching the eclipseeclipsed sun with starsfull darknessTop: The 6th-grade class watches the eclipse from Trouble viewpoint. Middle 1: Danny watches the eclipse (on his birthday!). Middle 2: Crescent-shaped shadows formed during the eclipse. Middle 3: The community watches the eclipse in the final seconds before totality. Middle 4: Bright planets visible around the eclipsed sun during totality. Bottom: Students enjoy the darkest moments of totality. 

On Monday afternoon our entire community, along with many members of our extended North Country School and Camp Treetops family, gathered at spots all around our 220-acre campus to watch an event hundreds of years in the making—a total solar eclipse over the NCS campus. Groups met at Balanced Rocks, the barnyard, the Upper Field, the Lake Hill, on Bramwell Run, and even in canoes on Round Lake to watch this spectacular cosmic event. It was a breathtaking experience, during which a gradual dimming of light over the course of an hour became a sudden night sky the moment the sun was completely covered by the moon, casting our Adirondack home in total shadow. Perfect conditions mean that everyone was able to remove their eclipse glasses to look directly at the obscured sun, haloed by its beautiful corona, and to see Jupiter and Venus glowing brightly in the darkened afternoon sky. It truly was a amazing moment, and a reminder of just how small we all are here on our tiny planet spinning in space.  

FARM AND GARDEN

a horse in the pasturehaltering a horsecross-tying a horsegrooming a horseTop: Fila stands in the barnyard. Middle 1: Savannah puts a halter on Brownie the horse. Middle 2: Savannah talks to May and Mata about horse grooming. Bottom: Mata uses a shedding blade on Brownie. 

The annual NCS horse grooming competition will take place at the end of April, and this week we started readying our herd of horses for the competition, as well as for the riding season, by helping them shed their thick winter coats. Students met at the barnyard during afternoon out-times and used tools including shedding blades and curry combs to help rid our horses of the thick under layers of insulating hair that they no longer need as the temperature warms. By regularly grooming our horses’ coats during the early spring they will stay cooler and cleaner, and their saddles will fit more comfortably when they are tacked up for riding lessons. 

students write farm poetrywriting farm poetrya student reads farm poetryTop: A dining room table writes barnyard poetry. Middle: Words associated with the sheep. Bottom: Laurie reads her table’s barnyard poetry. 

This past week our community took part in a fun  writing activity that tasked us to think creatively about the barnyard animals, buildings, and objects we interact with every day. Working in groups, students and adults looked at photos of various elements of our farm program and brainstormed words they associate with those images. After compiling their words into short poems, each group read their compositions to the larger group, who used the descriptive language to guess the subject of the inspiring images.