a student reads in a treePhoto: Jenny reads in a tree on the Upper Field. 

The in-between years are a time when young people often begin to find their creative voices. At North Country School, we see the start of this journey as our students dive into new worlds offered to them in our library books, and as they learn about and experiment with different writing styles in our Language Arts classes. It is particularly rewarding to see our enthusiastic learners choose to read and write outside of the academic day. This week there were plenty of literary activities to be found during afternoon and evening outdoor time, as well as during a weekend trip that was offered to a group of our avid poets. We hope that their time on our mountain campus will continue to inspire our creative young learners long after their journey as middle school students has concluded.

ACADEMICS

a class lesson about poetrya poetry lessona student poem posted in town a student reads a poetry bookTop: Meredith teaches a poetry lesson. Middle 1: 9th-grade students talk about villanelle structure. Middle 2: Charlie and Robin read an NCS-student-written poem posted in town. Bottom: Yolanda reads Wild Words: Adirondack Teen Writing Anthology on a Saturday trip. 

It was a poetry-heavy week on the NCS campus, with students in 9th-grade English class participating in an inductive exercise to learn the format and structure of villanelle poems. After listening to and reading several different styles of villanelles, they began writing their own. In the coming weeks, the class will also learn about and write their own occasional poems, ekphrastic poems, and sestinas, while reading and reflecting on poems by published writers. 

Meanwhile, this past Saturday our neighboring town of Saranac Lake hosted a reading of About Wild Words: Adirondack Teen Writing Anthology, a collection that features the work of six of our dedicated student-poets! Several of the students included in the anthology spent the day taking part in writing-themed activities, which began at our campus library, where they explored the catalog and did a bit of community work organizing the space. They then visited the Harrietstown Town Hall in nearby Saranac Lake for the reading event itself, where 7th-grader Charlie and 8th-grader Robin read their individual poems out loud. The day ended with a town walk to view the Poem Village, a program that displays writing submitted by Adirondack residents of all ages. It was exciting to see several of our students’ poems displayed at different locations around town. 

ARTS

a student sands a projecta student researches a projecta project gets turned on the lathea completed cabinTop: Roan sands his woodshop project. Middle 1: Isaac talks to Mariana about her woodshop project. Middle 2: A woodshop project is sanded on the lathe. Bottom: Students pose on and around Culpepper Cabin.    

Students in our Design and Build classes had a busy week starting new projects and seeing the end results of many months of work. In Woodshop class, students are designing and constructing individual projects including coaster sets, bowls, cutting boards, and toys—all taking advantage of wood grown on our campus and sourced from local lumber mills. As a Certified American Tree Farm System, North Country School is proud to carefully manage our forests for tree health and use felled trees in various parts of our School program. While the woodshop was bustling with project work, the many students who helped design, construct, and raise Culpepper Cabin gathered at the building site to celebrate the official completion of the building. It was an exciting day for all present, and a memorable occasion for the many young builders who leant their hands to this impressive timber frame structure. 

OUTDOORS

a student canoesstudents canoeingstudents campinga student and teacher hikestudents hikestudents on the lakeTop: Anika paddles on the Outdoor Leadership (ODL) overnight. Middle 1: Students canoe. Middle 2: Camping on the ODL overnight. Middle 3: John and Bobby hike on the Northville Placid Trail. Middle 4: Students hike the Northville-Placid Trail. Bottom: Cynthia and Alina pose in front of Round Lake at sunset. 

This past weekend the students in Outdoor Leadership II class took part in a canoe camping overnight that brought them to nearby Follensby Clear Pond and the surrounding Saint Regis Canoe Area. It was an amazing trip, with the group successfully (and cheerfully) completing four canoe carries, and working together to cook meals and set up camp. In the upcoming week the Outdoor Leadership I group will embark upon their own canoe camping adventure to the Raquette River and Stoney Creek Ponds. 

Other students also enjoyed a beautiful spring week in the outdoors, with one group hiking on a favorite local resource, the Northville-Placid Trail. The trail—which stretches the 138 miles between the towns of Northville and Lake Placid—is a favorite through-hike in the Adirondack Park. Students trekked out and back along the first four miles of the trail, and along the way they passed several beaver dams and spring ephemeral flowers including spring beauty, trillium, and trout lily. Back on campus, our students had a great time enjoying the Upper Field and our campus lake during out-times, homenight activities, and evenings. Sunset is a particularly beautiful time by Round Lake, as the golden-hour light sparkles off the water and sets the surrounding mountains aglow.  

FARM AND GARDEN

grooming contest judginga student grooming conteststudents walk through a chicken enclosurestudents walk through tulipsa milking roomstudents with cowsTop: Noni talks to Evalyn about the Grooming Contest. Middle 1: Noni talks to Cynthia and Alina about the Grooming Contest. Middle 2: Bennett and Kingston walk through a chicken enclosure. Middle 3: Students explore a flower farm. Middle 4: Students learn about milking cows. Bottom: Mata and Riiley visit cows. 

Our students participated in two beloved farm traditions this week, with our annual Grooming Context Competition over the weekend and the revival of our Edible Schoolyard all-day farm tour on Tuesday. Our horse aficionados spent Sunday afternoon working in pairs to groom our horses, with each pair grooming one specific horse. At the end of the hours-long grooming session, former NCS teacher and horseback riding program instructor Noni Eldridge carefully inspected each horse and, after conferring with Barn Manager Erica, determined the winners in several categories. Congratulations to Ava, for winning the competition overall; May, for receiving the EquiPro award; Trianna and Evalyn, for receiving the Elbow Grease award; Robin, for receiving the Grooms award; and Alina and Cynthia, for receiving the Beginners’ Luck award!

Meanwhile, our 4th, 5th, and 6th graders spent Tuesday exploring six farms in our surrounding region and learning about different types of farming as they interviewed the farmers running those operations. The group visited Champlain Valley Milling, Little Farmhouse Flowers, North Country Creamery, Mace Chasm Farm, Blue Pepper Farm, and the Meadow Farmstead. There they talked to the hardworking and passionate people who grow and raise the grain, fresh flowers, dairy, meat, eggs, and vegetables that can be found all around the Adirondack Park. Over the course of the dynamic day students were able to see lambs being born, pick daffodils, visit newborn piglets and calves, and ask lots of thoughtful questions about each farm. Thank you to our wonderful local farmers for hosting our students this week, and for the work you do each day for our local community.