Photo: Bennett and Evalyn carry the holiday yule log.
This week we said goodbye to our students and headed off for Winter Break with a seasonal tradition we look forward to each December—our annual Holiday Banquet. During Wednesday Homenight our community gathered in the dining room for this festive and fancy meal that recognizes the holiday season, the many places that we call home, and the various winter traditions we celebrate across our community. The event featured dishes from around the world, all made with ingredients sourced from our own backyard, as well as a community sing-and-dance-along that always gets us on our feet! The beginning of the week saw a snowstorm that brought significant snowfall and offered the first real glimpse of the deep powder we often return to after the New Year. We look forward to returning in January for the continuation of our Winter Term, Whiteface Days, where we visit our local ski mountain once a week for special half-day programming, and the official opening of our own campus Ski Hill!
We wish all of you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season spent with loved ones. This Week at NCS will return with more updates from our mountain campus in January 2024.
Top: Dave runs a math Town Meeting. Middle 1: Students work out a math problem. Middle 2: Students play a history board game. Bottom: Hazel and Julia play a history board game.
This past week our students had the opportunity to work creatively and think about the world in outside-of-the-box ways both during our weekly Town Meeting and in their 8th-grade History class. At Town Meeting, math teacher Dave used classic geometry—along with bubbles!—to determine the best way to construct a network between three, four, and five locations. This problem was tackled in the earlier years of air travel as airlines had to determine the most efficient ways to run phone lines between airport hubs. Meanwhile, our 8th-grade History students finished up their unit on expansion and imperialism that occurred throughout the ages by creating original games to test the knowledge of their peers. Students came up with objective questions and made their own variations of Jeopardy, Memory, and Chutes and Ladders, before competing against one another as they tested out these fun new study guides.
Top: Kelly and Kim lead a soil science lesson. Middle: Rafa looks at soil. Bottom: A soil sample from the NCS farm.
In Environmental Science, students connected what they’ve been learning in class to our own NCS farm. The class has been studying the physical and chemical properties of soil, and this week the group was joined by Garden Manager Kim to test a sample from our garden beds to determine its texture and pH. After running a few tests, the students discussed why understanding the properties of soils is an important part of managing soil health and fertility, and why we carefully manage our farm’s soil health in order to both grow food successfully and to continue to thoughtfully steward the land.
FARM AND GARDEN
Top: Ian, Hudson, and Rosalie fry jelly donuts in Edible Schoolyard class. Middle: Alina fills a donut with homemade jam. Bottom: Finished jelly donuts.
Our Edible Schoolyard (ESY) classes often dive into food history by learning about and preparing a variety of seasonal dishes eaten by people around the world. This week our ESY II class focused on winter holiday celebrations by making homemade jelly donuts, or sufganiyot, to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. After learning about the connection between the holiday and eating foods fried in oil, the class used the homemade jams they whipped up earlier in the term to fill their freshly fried donuts.
Top: Cat reads to a chicken in the barn office. Middle: Evalyn reads to the pigs in the barn. Bottom: Hazel reads to the horses in the barn.
Over in the barnyard, we saw a delightful new out-time tradition start up called “Barnyard Book Club,” which gives students a chance to read some of their favorite stories aloud to our barnyard creatures. It was a wonderful—not to mention adorable—way for our students to interact with our farm animals while participating in a beloved NCS pastime that never fails to make us smile: reading books in the outdoors.
CELEBRATING THE SEASON
Top: The Clark House table at the Holiday Banquet. Middle 1: The Bramwell House table sign. Middle 2: Meredith and Isaac serve food from around the world. Middle 3: Dancing at the Holiday Banquet. Middle 4: Jenny, Val, Dexter, and Myles dance as “a partridge in a pear tree.” Bottom: Kevin dances as “five golden rings.”
Before we head off for the December break each year, the North Country School community gathers to celebrate the season with our Holiday Banquet. The banquet is a true feast, one that highlights both the many different places around the world that we all call home as well as our shared home here in the Adirondack Mountains. This year our wonderful kitchen staff prepared a meal that included dishes from South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala, Tanzania, China, Ghana, and Spain, and highlighted NCS-grown and locally sourced ingredients including carrots, potatoes, eggs, and beef.
We ended the festive celebration with a rousing all-school sing-and-dance-along performance of The Twelve Days of Christmas, during which students and teachers acted out the different days by table group. It was an event filled with smiles and laughter, joy and appreciation, and was—as always—the perfect way to celebrate the season before heading our separate ways. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and look forward to coming back together at the start of the New Year in 2024!