a student processionPhoto: The 9th-grade graduation procession. 

This Saturday marked the end of our 2023-2024 academic year here at North Country School, closing out a week filled with joy, celebration, and appreciation. Our students performed in the whimsical Spring Term theater production of “Puffs, (Two Act For Young Wizards),” participated in impressive final music performances, and took part in our Endersession days of signature programming. Most importantly, they spent time together expressing their gratitude for one another and their time at NCS. It all culminated in a moving graduation ceremony that brought our extended community together to recognize and celebrate each of our 20 graduating 9th graders—a group of impressive young people who we were proud to see off toward the next step in their journeys. This year’s graduating class has learned and grown in countless ways during their time on our mountain campus, and we know that they will take their experiences as artists, adventurers, and leaders with them wherever they go. 

We wish our entire extended community a great summer spent with loved ones, and we look forward to seeing you all again when we return in September!

**Note from Becca Miller, staff writer and photographer of This Week at NCS:

I started This Week at NCS in 2018, and with the support and help of countless individuals on the NCS faculty and staff, this effort has offered a window into the remarkable work that takes place each week on our mountain campus. Next year I will be moving into an exciting new role at NCS, but writing about, photographing, and being invited into the activities and lessons that took place at NCS these past years has been a true joy. Our weekly Communications coverage will continue in the sure hands of my colleagues, and I look forward to reading weekly updates from the other side of the process along with all of you.

ENDERSESSION

a student makes glass artglass artcampfire cookinga student makes a robotcapturing soundpirate canoe racingTop: Cynthia makes glass art. Middle 1: Glass art on a tray. Middle 2: Making a campfire to cook food. Middle 3: Wyatt works on a robot. Middle 4: Edison, Ryan, and Octa record sounds. Bottom: A “pirate ship” races on Round Lake. 

Twice per year our students have the opportunity to step outside the regular academic and arts schedules to participate in a week of special signature programming. Intersession takes place the week before we head home for spring break, while Endersession occurs during the final week of the year leading into graduation. This year’s Endersession was filled to the brim with creativity and excitement, and included activities that had our students designing vibrant glass art, learning how to cook in the outdoors, producing original music using captured sound, building robots, and living the pirate life by making original sails and holding canoe races. 

a student climbsstudents climbbikinga hiking groupriding horsesTop: Hudson climbs at the Crag. Middle 1: Anika and Mina at the Crag. Middle 2: Myles bikes. Middle 3: The “Small Hikes, Big Views” group enjoys a summit. Bottom: Students go trail riding. 

Meanwhile, our outdoor enthusiasts had a great time working on their climbing skills, biking on nearby wooded trails, planting in the garden, hiking to some impressive local vistas, and riding our barnyard horses. Taking these deep dives into the most beloved parts of our year-round program is always a wonderful way to close out the year, and the perfect way to begin the summer vacation.

RECITAL AND SPRING PERFORMANCE

students performa student plays guitara student performsa band performancea chorus performanceTop: Lilly, Evalyn, and Elizabeth perform in the 4th-grade band. Middle 1: Marley performs a Hozier song at the recital. Middle 2: River plays “Dream On,” with the rock band. Middle 3: The rock band performs “Godzilla.” Bottom: The chorus performs a Motown medley. 

Our performing arts students have spent the past several months honing their skills, and this week we saw the fruits of their effort come together during our end-of-year recital and Spring Term theater performance. The recital, which is open to our extended community, was a wonderful celebration of music. Our talented musicians performed instrumental and vocal pieces, which included a 4th grade rotating rendition of “Riptide,” a solo piece by Hozier, and a rock band performance of “Godzilla,” by the Blue Oyster Cult (which came complete with roaming Godzilla monster.) Meanwhile, our chorus put their voices together in a celebration of a few familiar favorites. It was great to see our talented musicians take to the stage and garner well-earned applause from the enthusiastic audience. 

a scene in a play with a sorting hata scene in a play with a battlea scene in a play with a snakea scene in a play with two studentsa scene in a play with glowing wantsstudents take their bowsTop: Wyatt, as the character Wayne, gets sorted into Puffs House. Middle 1: Laurie, as Harry Potter, talks to a snake. Middle 2: Joel and Claire are petrified by a basilisk. Middle 3: The character of Wayne talks to Professor Dumbledore, played by Cynthia. Middle 4: Roan as the narrator and the students of Puffs House mourn Professor Dumbledore. Bottom: Ian, Jack, Hazel, Mina, Ziggy, and Oliver take bows for their work running the lights, stage managing, running the sound board, and doing the actor makeup.

This week we also saw the end result of months of work with our Spring Term performances of Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.” The student-led production—which explores seven years of the Harry Potter book series through the lens of Hufflepuff House—featured intricate set pieces constructed by our Stagecraft classes and manipulated and moved by our stage crew, costumes envisioned and assembled by our Costume Design classes, and was lit and directed by a team of behind-the-scenes student visionaries. The play band and actors brought all of their energy and enthusiasm to the performances, which were a hilarious mix of drama and action. Congratulations to so many in our school community for all of their efforts in bringing this impressive production together!

COMMUNITY RECOGNITION

an awards ceremonystudents with cakea student gets an awardstudents with matching t-shirtstwo students with a plaqueTop: Meredith introduces the Mountain Cakes ceremony. Middle 1: Bramwell House with the #1 Mountain Cakes house cake. Middle 2: Adrián is recognized as one of the Dirty Dozen. Middle 3: The Dirty Dozen with their T-shirts. Bottom: Orrin and Marley hold the Jamieson Roseliep Work Award plaque. 

Throughout the year, our students take part in all sorts of recreation in nature, and at the end of each Spring Term we recognize those outdoor enthusiasts during our Mountain Cakes ceremony. At North Country School, a student’s “Mountain Cake miles” are calculated based on the amount they have hiked, biked, cross-country skied, and canoed since their arrival on campus. This past Friday we met in the dining room to recognize the students with the year’s highest mileage, awarding the top 12 adventurers—known as the Dirty Dozen—with custom-designed T-shirts and special, mountain-themed cakes. For the second year in a row, the selected shirt design was created by graduating senior Melissa, who was also a member of the Dirty Dozen for the second year in a row. 8th-grader Owen was recognized as the #1 mileage earner in the Dirty Dozen, and Bramwell House (where Owen lives) was recognized as the house with the highest mileage per student!

This week we also celebrated the members of our student body who have spent the most time volunteering to help the community, either at the barn, in the kitchen, in our classrooms and art spaces, or on our campus trails. The Jamieson Roseliep Work Award, which is given to a small number of students each year, celebrates these hard working students, and the names of these dedicated helpers are engraved on a plaque that is displayed in the Main Building. We were thrilled to honor siblings Orrin and Marley with the esteemed work award this year! Thanks to both of you for the countless ways you positively impacted the community during your time at NCS. Your work is seen and appreciated.

GRADUATION

the 9th-grade class a student with a corsageapplause at a graduationa graduation speakera student singsa woman gives a speecha student gives a speechtwo students with handmade booksTop: The 9th-grade class poses before graduation. Middle 1: Anika adjusts her corsage. Middle 2: The audience celebrates the graduating class. Middle 3: Aubrey Snowden gives her keynote speech. Middle 4: Students perform a Green Day song at graduation. Middle 5: Courtney speaks about Roan at graduation. Middle 6: Nadya speaks at graduation. Bottom: Melissa and Tina with their Senior Books after graduation. 

On Saturday we held our 86th graduation ceremony here on the North Country School campus, gathering together with our extended community to celebrate the departing 9th-grade class. It was a beautiful, sunny day that was highlighted by the sounds of songbirds and the beautiful lilac blossoms that we look forward to each spring. The ceremony began with a powerful keynote speech given by Aubrey Snowden (NCS 94-97, CTT 92-94, CTT staff 17-18), which reminded our senior class that what might seem like a failure is often an opportunity to learn, and to always try to navigate the world with gratitude and kindness. We then enjoyed a musical performance by a group of our 9th graders, before each graduate was recognized in a short speech given by a member of the NCS faculty. 

As always, we loved hearing stories about all of our wonderful graduates. Each has made their mark on NCS in innumerable and long-lasting ways, and every one of them will be dearly missed as they move on to their next steps. After the faculty spoke, the students themselves were invited to address the audience, and we were so impressed by the poignance and maturity with which they expressed themselves, not just to their teachers and families, but to their classmates, reminding their younger peers to appreciate their own time as North Country School students. We closed out our graduation by giving each of our 9th-graders their own unique Senior Book, which is designed by a different faculty member each year. This year’s books feature colorful nature-themed collages made by art teacher Conway Boyce, and are filled with handmade drawings and notes made by NCS teachers and students.

We wish our graduating class the very best of luck, laughter, joy, and wonder in all of their life’s adventures. No matter where their paths take them, they will always have a place here on our mountain campus.