Photo: Octa and Brynn as ghosts during a misty Halloween out-time.

This past week our students and teachers came together for our much-anticipated, annual NCS Halloween celebration. The event, which took place during Wednesday Homenight, came complete with our favorite holiday traditions, including homemade costumes and decorations, a student-run carnival, a haunted house constructed and acted out by our 9th graders, and a creepy themed dinner. Our community’s creativity and imaginative spirit could be found around every (scary) turn.

We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our annual North Country School Halloween extravaganza. Trick or treat!

Note: For our NCS Halloween write-up and photos, head to the Arts section below.


Top: The 5th-grade English class poses with their story village. Middle: Julia lays out the story village. Bottom: A segment of the story village map.

This past week our 5th-grade students worked on a collaborative writing and drawing project that brings together their English curriculum and their art skills. Throughout the term, students have been creating original characters that correspond with a detailed sketch of their character’s home. This week the group used all of their drawings to create a shared “story village map,” which they will continue to work on over the course of the year. The original narratives that take place within their shared world will be put together in May to form a book of short stories. Top: Nadya shows her poster to 7th-grade history class. Middle 1: River presents to history class. Middle 2: The 7th-grade science class checks their compost eggs. Bottom: The results of the compost-egg experiment.

Meanwhile, our curious 7th-grade students have been asking critical questions in both their history and science classes this week. In history, students have been working on their research and analytical writing skills. To close out their unit on the Age of Exploration, each student posed research questions on a subject related to that time period. The group then used what they’d learned to create posters and slideshows that were presented to their peers.

These same students also posed critical questions in the follow-up to their science lesson involving our compost pile. After taking compost temperature readings last week, the class gathered to see if the hot compost cooked the eggs they buried the previous week. While the eggs didn’t cook in the time allotted, their results led to great conversations about the different ways we can view “failure” in science experiments.


Top: Treehouse class in front of their in-progress project. Middle 1: Zachary measures for Treehouse class. Middle 2: Koga works on his clock in woodshop class. Bottom: Liz performs at the Muddy Pig open-mic event.

We saw art take many forms on campus this week, with building projects coming together, musical skills on display, and our annual Halloween event showcasing our students’ creativity and imaginations. In the campus woods, Treehouse Building Class has made great progress throughout the Fall Term. This past week the group assessed their next steps and worked on attaching a tunnel to the side-wall of the whimsical structure. Woodshop students are also seeing their Fall Term designs come to fruition as their clocks take shape. The beautiful projects, which use local and campus-grown lumber, will soon be ready to have their clock hands and battery mechanisms attached. Meanwhile, the Saturday night activity brought our performers to center stage for Muddy Pig—an open mic event that invites students to showcase their many talents. We were excited to see musicians perform on their own and alongside one another, and laughed out loud at the comedy stylings of our amateur comedians.

Top: Cherry and Katie paint Halloween decorations. Middle 1: Katie helps Mavi build her costume. Middle 2: Tyler and Jeff rehearse for the haunted house. Middle 3: Dexter, Julian, and Jacob in their homemade costumes. Middle 4: Alea and Lucy in the costume parade. Middle 4: Wyatt and Joel play a carnival game. Bottom: A student group take a tour through the haunted woods.

At North Country School, our annual Halloween celebration is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and is a day that highlights our community’s artistic skill and originality. Students and teachers spent the weeks leading up to Halloween building and painting the decorations that hung around campus, planning and constructing a haunted house, and designing homemade costumes that, as we say at NCS, are “90% imagination, 10% stuff.” This past Wednesday Homenight, everyone’s hard work came together as we showed off our original ensembles during a costume parade, played the carnival games designed by our 8th-grade class, visited the scary haunted “house” in the woods created and acted out by our 9th-grade class, and ate the creepy culinary creations prepared by our imaginative kitchen staff. The night was a screaming success, with creativity, not to mention cooperation and collaboration, on full display.


Top: The Noonmark Mountain hiking group. Middle 1: Jeff carries a Noon Mark Diner pie on the Noonmark Mountain hike. Middle 2: Ira, Octa, and Kate hang up the White Pine poster. Bottom: Alea’s Black Locust poster.

This past week a group of students participated in another fun annual tradition, while others helped install a new addition to our campus grounds. On Saturday, a group hiked up Noonmark Mountain—a 3,500 foot summit in the Adirondack High Peaks—following in the tradition of groups before them by bringing along a tasty pie from the Noon Mark Diner to enjoy at the top. The group shared pie-carrying responsibility throughout the journey using a specially rigged milk crate/hiking pack built just for the trip.

Another group worked together during an afternoon out-time to install tree-identification signs on several of our campus trees. The signs were a collaborative project between last year’s 4th-grade science students, who designed the signs, and students in this year’s arts program, who built the display boxes. We are excited about this new, cross curricular installation that will help all who visit our campus learn about the trees that grow in our Northeastern woods. Top: The Outdoor Leadership group at the start of their four-day trip. Middle 1: Sam wears his pack by the lean-to. Middle 2: The Outdoor Leadership group summits Phelps Mountain. Bottom: Tyler and Abigail celebrate together on the summit of Phelps Mountain.

This past week the students in our Outdoor Leadership Program, along with their teachers Jess and Katie, participated in a four-day camping trip that put into practice many of the wilderness skills they’ve been learning throughout the Fall Term. Students in the program spent the past few weeks choosing their itinerary, planning out meals, creating packing lists, and organizing communal gear.

The trip began last Thursday and lasted until Sunday, and included hiking to Avalanche Pass, Lake Colden, Mount Colden, and Phelps Mountain. The group pushed through cold and wet conditions for much of their first day and night, and were rewarded with blue skies to end their adventure. Everyone did a great job staying warm and supporting one another as they summited peaks, prepared camp, and cooked meals as a group. Over the course of the trip the group learned Leave No Trace outdoor principles, including how to clean dishes in the woods, use a camp stove safely, and filter drinking water. They also made time for unstructured learning during a quiet morning of solo forest reflection. For some of the students in the program, this was the first time they participated in a camping trip like this one. For others, including 9th-grade seniors Tyler and Abigail, the experience was a culmination of their many years as NCS students. We are so proud of our rugged, resourceful, and resilient student-leaders for completing this impressive part of their NCS outdoor education!


Top: Elyssa talks about the bees during out-time. Middle 1: Garden Manager Kim gets the smoker ready to open the hive. Middle 2: Elyssa opens the beehive. Middle 3: Colin and Elyssa take out the honeycomb. Bottom: Honey bees on the hive lid.

This past week our students had the opportunity to observe and interact with one of our newer additions to the NCS farm and gardens—our hive of honey bees. Our honey bee hive was installed in the Children’s Garden last spring, and since then the bees have been thriving. Over the past several weeks Garden Manager Kim, along with bee enthusiast and 5th-grade teacher Elyssa, have been checking in on the overall health of the hive. This week our students joined in for some out-time hive observation, and to learn about readying the hive for the cold winter months ahead.

After providing students with an overview about honey bees, as well as our hive in particular, Kim used smoke to calm the bees. Everyone then donned protective bee gear as Elyssa opened up the hive, showing the students the honey-laden comb that the bees have been producing throughout the warmer season. Students were able to taste the floral honey, which our bees made using nectar from the many surrounding flowering plants. In the upcoming weeks Elyssa and the farmers will wrap the hive in insulation to keep the colony warm enough to survive until the spring thaw.