students and faculty at SkimeisterPhoto: Lilly, Elizabeth, and Megan at Skimeister.

Each year we mark the final week of the Winter Term with our day-long Skimeister event, which takes place at Mt. Pisgah Recreation Center in nearby Saranac Lake. Skimeister is always a day filled with fun—students and faculty donned colorful snow gear and silly costumes and spent hours skiing and snowboarding down Pisgah’s snow-covered terrain, stopping here and there to engage in some friendly competition. It was a fantastic day, with near-perfect snow conditions and mild temperatures, not to mention delicious food and live music. 

Next week our students will take part in two special NCS traditions—our Intersession week of signature programming and our 9th-grade trip to Utah. Intersession allows our 4th-8th graders the chance to select from a condensed series of morning and afternoon activities that focus on their specific interests in the arts, outdoors, and farm and garden. While our younger students participate in Intersession, our 9th-graders will be having their own adventures exploring the desert in Utah’s National Parks as part of their culminating class trip. We look forward to hearing about our students’ experiences throughout the week at next Friday’s Showcases, before we all head off for our Spring Break!

*Note: In order to include all of Intersession week, Showcases, and the 9th-grade trip, the final Winter Term edition of This Week at NCS will be posted on Monday, March 4, 2024.

ACADEMICS

students watch a presentation a visiting author presentation Top: The school welcomes guest student-author Ndhego Zikusoka to Town Meeting. Middle: Ndhego talks about his writing. Bottom: Students meet Ndhego at Town Meeting. 

As part of our Black History Month programming, on Wednesday morning we were honored to have Ndhego Zikusoka, a student from Northwood School in Lake Placid, with us. Ndhego is a published author of several articles, as well as a children’s book about his time volunteering in a Ugandan zoo, and during his engaging talk he shared insights into his Ugandan culture and explained his journey as a writer. It was wonderful welcoming Ndhego to our campus, and we thank him for talking to our students and answering their questions about his experiences!

students participate in Model U.N. a student shows a teacher a presentation Top: The 9th-grade Global Issues class participates in Model U.N. Middle: Jean looks at Tahj’s presentation for Writing class. Bottom: Trianna’s Writing class presentation. 

This week, students in our Upper and Lower schools wrapped up  the projects they’ve been working on throughout the Winter Term with group exercises and community presentations. Our 9th-grade Global Issues class participated in one of their Model U.N. committee sessions, which they’ve been preparing for over the past several months. Each student represented a different nation, and the group addressed real-world issues impacting society today including refugee crises, human rights, and environmental issues. Meanwhile, our 5th-grade Writing students participated in open-community presentations about the influential scientists they’ve been researching, including Mae Jemison, Jane Goodall, and Isaac Newton. Students wrote three-paragraph essays and made informative posters about their chosen subjects, and described the scientists’ careers, early lives, and significant achievements to their peers and NCS faculty.

ARTS

a scene in a student productiona scene in a student productiona student runs the board during a playa scene in a student productiona scene in a student production Top: Bennett and Mata in the Lower School play. Middle 1: 4th- and 5th-graders in the Lower School play. Middle 2: Anna Olivia works behind the scenes during the Lower School play. Middle 3: Ava acts in the Lower School play. Middle 4: Eleanor performs in the Lower School play. Bottom: The 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes take to the stage at the end of the Lower School play. 

Our Lower School students took part in an exciting milestone in their performing arts learning this past weekend—the official performance of the Winter Term production, Aesop’s Fables Redux, a play by Susan Pennington. The 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students have been busy rehearsing the play, as well as building the sets, learning how to run the lights and sound, and assembling the costumes for the production. On Saturday night everyone gathered in the Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC) theater to watch the show. The funny and informative production was a hit with everyone in attendance. Congratulations to our Lower School students, who got to see all of their hard work come to fruition!

OUTDOORS

students wait in line at the t-barstudents skistudents ride the t-barstudents participate in the 3SkiTop: Students wait in line for the T-bar at Mt. Pisgah. Middle 1: Students ski at Mt. Pisgah. Middle 2: Louis and Hudson ride the T-bar. Middle 3: Ziggy snowboards during Skimeister. Bottom: River, Wyatt, and Luke participate in the 3-Ski competition. 

Each February we take a day off from our regular academic programming for the all-school Skimeister day of skiing, snowboarding, and fun competition at Mt. Pisgah Recreation Center. This Tuesday was a Skimeister to remember, with clear skies and perfect snow cover, not to mention plenty of smiles and laughter. The morning was spent participating in and watching different optional races, including freestyle, alpine, and Nordic competitions for both beginner and advanced participants. Students of all ages and abilities were also invited to compete in NCS’s famous 3-Ski race, which is a timed race with three participants skiing around a course on three-person cross-country skis. The afternoon offered students the opportunity to free-ski and snowboard, or to take breaks in the cozy lodge to play board games or perform live music alongside music teacher Gwen. As always it was a fantastic day, and a great way to close out the Winter Term before beginning Intersession and the 9th-grade trip next week. 

FARM AND GARDEN

students wait for horseshorses in the pasturea student leads a horsea student leads a horseremoving a blanket from a horsesheepTop: Students wait in the barnyard to lead horses to their stalls. Middle 1: Fern waits by the barnyard gate. Middle 2: Bennet clips a lead rope onto Brownie the horse’s halter. Middle 3: Ivy leads Tucker the horse. Middle 4: Emily and Charlie remove a horse blanket. Middle 5: Students muck out the sheep stall. Bottom: May with the flock of sheep.   

As February winds to a close and we can see March on the horizon, we have started to witness the return of daylight to our afternoon barn chores. Taking part in PM barn chores during the golden hour, or the last hour before sunset, always feels like a gift after the months of darker afternoons, and this week the students in Algonquin House enjoyed taking care of our barnyard creatures beneath the glowing mountainscape that surrounds our campus. Students led horses in from the pasture, groomed their coats, and picked out their hooves before settling them in for the night with fresh water, hay, and grain. Meanwhile, out-time groups have also been working to care for our farm animals, especially the ewes in the sheep pen. Many of our sheep will begin giving birth to lambs when we return from Spring Break, and this week a group helped muck out some of the older hay in the pen and replace it with fresh hay to prepare the space for the very pregnant ewes as they near the lambing season.