Photo: The cast of the Fall Term theater production takes their bows.
This week we closed out the Fall Term with some of our favorite North Country School traditions: Appreciation Town Meeting, Family Weekend’s Signature Program activities and academic showcases, our annual fall theater production—this year, a hilarious take on The One Act Play That Goes Wrong—and our beautiful Thanksgiving meal featuring many ingredients from our farm (roughly 70%!). It was a great week filled with words of gratitude and thanks, and events that put our students’ creativity on full display. We were thrilled to welcome families and guests to campus to participate in these beloved parts of our program, and wish everyone a wonderful holiday spent with friends and loved ones.
*Note: We will return from our weeklong Thanksgiving break on Monday, November 27. The next This Week at NCS update will be posted on Friday, December 8 after our first full week of Winter Term classes.
Top: Jenny gives a Spanish presentation. Middle 1: Tina’s Biology cell project. Middle 2: Families participating in a science experiment. Middle 2: Reading an original book at academic showcases. Middle 3: Looking through Social Studies research at academic showcases. Bottom: 8th-grade students at the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit.
Each fall we welcome families and guests to North Country School for Family Weekend, during which we provide them with the in-person opportunity to see our students participate in lessons during the academic showcases. Our extended community is welcomed into classes to take part in sample lessons, to hear what students have been learning, and to see impressive presentations that bring North Country School’s hands-on learning to the forefront. This year our Spanish and Biology students showed families all they’ve been working on during dynamic presentations, while guests in other classes took part in science lab activities, read original (and hand illustrated!) stories written by their students, and learned about the ancient civilizations their students have been researching throughout the term.
Meanwhile, this past week some of our 8th-grade Environmental Science students had the opportunity to learn alongside others while attending the annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit at The Wild Center—an event that brings together young people from around New York state to expand their knowledge and skills on climate issues in order to make positive change. Even though the topic was serious there was still plenty of joy to be had as everyone was encouraged to dress up like climate heroes while they brainstormed together. The powerful two-day conference inspired our students to generate their own NCS Climate Action Plan, and they are excited to bring this important work back to our campus throughout the Winter and Spring Terms.
Top: The cast of the Fall Term theater production act out a scene. Middle: A scene from The One Act Play That Goes Wrong. Bottom: A final scene in the Fall Term theater production.
A group of our older students, meanwhile, have been busy rehearsing, costuming, designing lighting schemes, and building sets for the Fall Term production of The One Act Play That Goes Wrong, and this week we saw all of that hard work come to fruition during their Thursday afternoon and Friday evening performances. It was an impressive—not to mention uproarious—production that reminded the audience of the old adage that “the show must go on” even when, as the title suggests, things don’t necessarily go as planned. Congratulations to our many students who worked hard to make this wonderful performance come together.
Top: The staff-student soccer game. Middle 1: Watching the staff-student soccer game. Middle 2: A Saturday trip goes indoor rock climbing. Bottom: Students with their Mountain Cake mileage stickers.
It was a busy week in our Outdoor Program, with students participating in some activities that allowed them to sharpen their newer skills and others that let them focus on their favorite longstanding pursuits. Our avid soccer players rallied together to play in our annual staff-student soccer game—ending the incredibly close match with high spirits and even higher sportsmanship on both sides. Students also had the chance to practice the rock climbing skills they’ve been learning at the NCS crag while visiting the indoor climbing wall at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex, just across the street from campus. Meanwhile, our student-hikers have been covering a lot of ground this fall, and on Tuesday a group of these outdoor enthusiasts were recognized with 50- and 100-mile stickers. The stickers tie into our Mountain Cakes tradition of celebrating the students who hike, cross-country ski, and canoe the greatest number of miles over the course of the year, and who will be honored in a ceremony during the final week of the Spring Term.
Top: Emma, Laurie, and Adela on the summit of Mt. Marcy. Middle: Melissa on the summit of Mt. Marcy. Bottom: Students hike on Mt. Marcy.
Several of the hikers who received mileage stickers this week also participated in this past weekend’s overnight camping trip and hike up New York state’s tallest mountain, Mt. Marcy. After a campout at the base of the towering peak, the group enjoyed perfect bluebird skies and still conditions on the snowy summit—the perfect reward for the hard work of the day and prior evening, and a great place for everyone to take in the views of the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains we call home.
FARM AND GARDEN
Top: Evalyn shows Erica the 4th- and 5th-grade Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Thanksgiving menu. Middle: The ESY Thanksgiving celebration. Bottom: Lilly with her pumpkin sign.
This past Tuesday our 4th- and 5th-grade Edible Schoolyard (ESY) students sat down together to enjoy their own special Thanksgiving feast in Clark House kitchen, dining on the many dishes that they’ve been learning about and working on throughout the Fall Term. The tasty spread included recipes that used farm-grown corn, beans, and squash—or the Three Sisters Crops—as well as a bounty of greens and potatoes they helped harvest from the farm during their classes. Each student welcomed their special guests to the feast and showed off their handmade menus and illustrated ingredient posters. It was a delicious meal, made from scratch by the youngest cooks and learners on our campus!
Top: The farm and kitchen staff with the Thanksgiving spread. Middle 1: Julian sets a Thanksgiving table. Middle 2: Todd talks to the guests. Middle 2: Students recite an adapted version of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. Bottom: Wyatt brings the Thanksgiving Turkey out for carving.
Meanwhile, our kitchen staff and the NCS community have been hard at work preparing the harvest meal we take part in each fall. The meal features NCS grown and raised turkeys, potatoes, carrots, garlic, Brussels sprouts, and pumpkins, as well as a bounty of other ingredients from local farms. Our faculty, staff, students, families, and guests all joined together on Saturday to hear a welcome address from Executive Director Todd Ormiston that honored the season of growing, which provides us with so much of our food, as well as the time we are able to spend together. The student who has attended North Country School for the longest amount of time (this year one of our 9th-grade students Wyatt) then brought out the ceremonial turkey for carving before we all settled in to enjoy the feast. It was, as always, a wonderful way to close out the Fall Term, and the perfect way to celebrate the season, one another, and our collective efforts before heading off for Thanksgiving break.
APPRECIATION TOWN MEETING
Top: Larry explains the Appreciation Town Meeting. Middle: The community offers words of appreciation. Bottom: The Appreciation Board with 9th grade scribes.
At the end of Fall Term, and again at the end of the Spring Term, we gather together at a special Town Meeting focused on giving thanks and offering words of appreciation for one another. These Appreciation Town Meetings are special times to reflect back, and to take a moment to publicly express how people have positively shaped our experience here at North Country School. As it is each year, the event was powerful for everyone in attendance, and a great reminder that acknowledging how others have helped us, supported us, or simply made us smile can both brighten someone’s day and leave a long-lasting impact that can be carried with us throughout our lives.