Photo: Wyatt with his hiking pack on the Outdoor Leadership overnight trip.
This past weekend the students in our Outdoor Leadership (ODL) II class participated in an exciting milestone—their Fall Term double-overnight camping trip. After spending the past two months learning important hiking, camping, stewardship, and leadership skills, they took to the trail to put their new knowledge to work. We couldn’t be more proud of how they practiced the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics, supported one another through challenging moments, and prioritized the needs of the entire group above their own throughout their weekend of outdoor adventures. Congratulations to our ODL students for completing this important part of their North Country School experience.
*Note: In order to highlight Family Weekend events including the Fall Term theater production and the Thanksgiving meal, our next edition of This Week at NCS will be posted on Monday, November 20, 2023.
Top: Elizabeth and Lilly gather materials for the longhouse. Middle: Evalyn helps build a longhouse. Bottom: Cynthia, Laurie, and Emma show the community their sustainability poster.
Each Fall Term our 4th-grade Social Studies students build their own longhouse in our campus woods. The project is part of the unit on the Indigenous people of the Adirondacks, the Haudenosaunee, which means “people of the longhouse.” Using natural and reclaimed materials including branches and barn twine, the students created a small version of these impressive structures while having a discussion about how the longhouse didn’t just serve as a place for the Haudenosaunee to live, but also how longhouses served as the center of community life. This year’s longhouse also incorporated living trees, with the goal that this will allow the building to last longer and continue to grow over time.
Meanwhile, a group of older students have been thinking critically about the world around them as part of their involvement in the NCS Environmental Club. The group helped lead a Town Meeting activity this past week during which they talked about the definition of sustainability, and looked at ways our campus could continue our century-long dedication of acting as stewards for the land around us and positively impacting our greater global community.
Top: The 9th-grade class at the High School Writers’ Retreat. Middle: Matt reads his writing at the Writers’ Retreat. Bottom: The 9th-grade class attends a secondary school presentation.
Our oldest students also thought about their places in the world while connecting to organizations outside North Country School during their attendance at the Adirondack Center for Writing’s annual 2023 High School Writing Retreat and their weekly Secondary School Placement class. The Writing Retreat invites students from around the region to work alongside one another and with professional writers to explore their creative voices. We were excited to see our own 9th graders Matt and Marley volunteer to read their work aloud! Meanwhile, the entire 9th grade heard a presentation and asked questions during a visit with an admission representative from Taft School as part of their weekly Secondary School Placement class. The class is just one of the ways we support students who will be graduating from North Country School in May. Taft is just one of twenty schools that have visited campus to meet with students this fall: students also met with representatives from other schools including Putney School, Wayland Academy, Masters, Holderness, and Vermont Academy. The presentations give students the opportunity to hear from a variety of schools across the country as they consider how they would like to continue their educational journey once they depart our mountain campus. In the upcoming term they will continue to work on developing their personal statements and applications, which will help them with applying to the schools of their choice.
Top: Trianna applies glaze to her ceramics project. Middle 1: Higgs works on his pottery project. Middle 2: Applying glaze to pottery. Middle 3: The cast of the Fall Term theater production rehearses their show. Bottom: Adrian and Ian rehearse.
In ceramics class, our 5th-grade students saw the results of their projects, which were kiln-fired into bisqueware last week, before moving onto the second half of the pottery process—glazing. Students pour, paint, or dip their pieces into glaze, which begins as liquid but quickly dries to form a powdery coating. They then carefully clean off the bottoms of their projects so they don’t fuse to the kiln shelves during the second firing, which will reach 2200 degrees Fahrenheit! We look forward to seeing the result of the glazing and firing next week during Family Weekend!
Meanwhile, the cast of our Fall Term theater production of The One-Act Play that Goes Wrong have been busy rehearsing their performances. The funny and exciting show will be performed twice next week: once on Thursday for our students, faculty, and staff, and once as part of Family Weekend on Friday evening for our many visiting family members and guests.
Top: The Outdoor Leadership II class on their double-overnight camping trip. Middle 1: Dexter helps Jack hike on ice. Middle 2: Students on the “silly hike.” Middle 3: Oliver poses with his toothbrush on the “silly hike.” Bottom: A group of students visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
This weekend our Outdoor Leadership (ODL) II students completed their Fall Term practicum with a double-overnight backpacking trip to Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge, two Adirondack 46ers. The class has spent the past several weeks planning and preparing their food, itinerary, and gear, and on Friday they camped out at the Giant Washbowl campsite before summiting both Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge the next day. We were so proud of our outdoor leaders, who consistently checked in with one another, helped one another with challenging terrain, and cheered on the collective and individual successes throughout the trip. A second group of outdoor enthusiasts participated in a much sillier hiking experience during their excursion to Indian Head and Rainbow Falls. The group brought up various items from their homes (including bathroom toiletries and office supplies) and took staged photos of themselves acting out whimsical scenes using those items.
A separate group of students had the special opportunity this past Thursday to do a bit of acting as well, this time as the “talent” for an upcoming Giving Tuesday video for the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. Students had the chance to learn about Olympic history and meet two-time Olympic medalist, former downhill ski racer, and Lake Placid native Andrew Weibrecht, who answered questions about his storied skiing career. They also had the chance to hold Olympic artifacts, including medals and torches used in the 1980 Winter Olympics, and learn about the iconic “Miracle on Ice” hockey game in which the U.S. defeated the Soviet Union—what many call one of the greatest defeats in sports history. The afternoon was a wonderful way to partner with a local organization in our community and for our students to learn about our deep winter sports tradition here in Lake Placid.
FARM AND GARDEN
Top: An out-time horseback riding lesson. Middle 1: Lilly in a riding lesson. Middle 2: Cat in a riding lesson. Middle 3: Marley feeds the pigs during barn chores. Bottom: Mina, Kevin, and Ian clean the barn during chores.
At North Country School our full, working farm offers students the opportunity to interact with the many animals we raise in our barnyard, and while most of these animals contribute to our local food system in some way—either directly by providing us with meat and eggs, or indirectly by contributing manure to our compost piles—some of our animals also connect to other aspects of the NCS program. The wool sheared from our sheep becomes vibrant felt and yarn that is used in our Fiber Arts classes, and our horseback riding lessons are an important part of our afternoon outdoor activities. This week students enjoyed snow-dusted views of campus while riding our horses down at the ring, where they practiced their walking, trotting, and turning skills.
Over in the barnyard, students have been hard at work caring for our farm animals during PM chores. Our pigs recently moved back to the barns after a summer out on the pasture. These social animals greet our students with excitement each evening as they get their fresh water, grain, and dining room food scraps. When not feeding and watering our animals, students on the barn chores rotation have turned cleaning the barn foyer into a fun and friendly “Olympic-style” competition (a fitting theme for our Lake Placid location!), during which they make sure our animal spaces are clean, organized, and in good shape to house the many chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, and horses we raise here on campus.