This week our students departed the NCS campus for their winter break, but in the week leading up to their departure the community came together to celebrate a warm and festive holiday season, and to reflect upon the first half of our academic year. Everyone took part in annual traditions including Open House meals in our residential houses, a delicious Holiday Banquet which featured dishes from around the world, and energetic group singalongs. Our academic classes also invited others to view the creative projects they’ve been working on for the past several weeks.

Students will return to campus shortly after New Year’s Day, refreshed and excited for skiing at Whiteface Mountain, special Intersession programming, play rehearsal, and lambing and sugaring on the farm.

OPEN HOUSES – Breakfast and Dinner

North Country School has a long tradition of welcoming the greater school community into our residential houses for Open Houses. During Open Houses, each of our student houses split up the preparation of breakfast and dinner meals. The morning and evening are then spent with students hosting a rotation of visitors as everyone enjoys the different sections of each meal.The day is an opportunity to welcome others into the various campus houses, and the time is often spent playing games, making crafts, viewing festive decorations, and enjoying a relaxing time together. This year students practiced music on house pianos and guitars, tried out a mysterious MindFlex game with Director of School Dave Steckler, and played chess as they enjoyed tasty offerings including sticky buns for breakfast and vegetable curry for dinner.


During Open Houses, the groups not responsible for either breakfast or dinner take on the responsibility of community morning and afternoon barn chores. This year Clark House and Cascade House met down at the barn for chores as Woods House, Bramwell House, and Algonquin House (who had completed morning chores earlier that day) prepared the various components of the dinner meal. After circling up and choosing jobs, the group split up to care for our barnyard animals. Sweety helped take care of the chickens as Nate and Koga refilled water troughs in the sheep and duck barns. Ella took a quick break from caring for the sheep and goats to wind a creative holiday wreath out of barn twine, and everyone worked together to pull hay out to the horse pasture.


Our 4th, 5th, and 6th graders have spent the past several weeks studying global holiday traditions, and this week the classes welcomed the rest of the school community into the dining room to view their presentations and creative installations on their chosen holiday. The students were tasked to expand their research outside of the winter season, and created displays on holidays including Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, Baba Marta Day, and Dragon Boat Festival.

In our 8th grade English class, students have been working on writing personal memoirs. Each student chose a moment significant to them and carefully crafted, edited, revised, and polished a piece that joined their peers’ writing in a group anthology. The anthologies, made with student-designed front and back covers, were bound and shared at a Community Cafe anthology reading, complete with tea and muffins.


In the week leading up to winter break our community joined together several times to celebrate the season through song. With music teacher Joey leading the way and providing piano accompaniment, students and teachers sang seasonal melodies in the Main Building foyer before a delicious Holiday Banquet meal. The extended community and younger staff children also gathered together on the last night of the term to sing (and dance) in the dining room before welcoming a special guest to join in on the festivities.


North Country School’s annual Holiday Banquet—the culmination of long work by our kitchen staff—celebrates the many nationalities represented in our student population. This year Head of Kitchen Paulette Peduzzi and her staff prepared a feast featuring dishes from Asia, North Africa, North America, Central America, and Eastern Europe, highlighting ingredients from our farm. The meal ends with the youngest students bringing out the traditional yule log cake and hand-piped meringues made with eggs from our chickens.

Holiday Banquet is a time for everyone to join together for a meal that recognizes our many different backgrounds and traditions, and that connects us to our community, land, and animals here at North Country School before we head off to our respective homes and holiday destinations around the world.

We wish you and your loved ones a joyful and safe holiday season and a happy New Year. We’ll return with more updates from our mountain campus on Friday, January 11, 2020.

For more information about the #This Week At NCS blog, contact Becca Miller at .