Welcome back to the This Week at NCS blog! We hope all of you had a great summer, and we are excited to be back with weekly updates from our beautiful mountain campus.
This past week we welcomed the North Country School student body to campus with some special programming and the start of fall academic term. Each of our residential houses spent time together as a group on Mountain Day, an afternoon set aside to bond while exploring our 220-acre home. Weekend trips brought our students around the greater Adirondack region and allowed for some on-campus fun at our rock climbing crag. The first days of our academic and arts classes engaged students in team-building activities and laid the foundations for creative group-work and community connections.
The entire community also came together for North Country School’s annual fall Harvest Festival—a festive celebration with food picked from our gardens, live music, and lawn games. It was a great way to start the year, and we are looking forward to the fall term ahead!
To begin the fall term, students in 6th grade participated in an NOLS leadership activity that asked them to reflect on some of their own strengths and characteristics in order to determine their leadership style. The four styles—analysts, drivers, motivators, and relationship masters—provide different advantages when collaborating within a group. Students also played a game in which they had to act as either the eyes, ears, or mouth of a team, communicating together in order to successfully reach their goal and find a hidden cone.
This week our 8th grade Earth Science class began learning about plate tectonics and the rock cycle with a tasty demonstration. Using tortilla, jam, and peanut butter, the group observed how strata layers erode over time. After the creation of a rock formation based on that at Siccar Point, England, the class was able to enjoy the delicious geological formation.
Down in the ceramics studio our students began the year by learning the basics of handbuilding with clay. Students including Grace, Helen, Teagan, Alex, Summer, and Jenny worked on their clay skills by sculpting animal-shaped whistles. Once glazed and fired the whimsical whistles will be functional musical instruments.
In Community Project class, students create installation art and functional objects that will find homes both on our campus and in the greater community. This term, students including Sky, Hart, David, and Bladen are working on measuring and cutting pieces for a science field station that is being built on our campus trails. The station is a five-year long project that will be completed this spring and serve as part of the 9th graders’ gift to their younger classmates.
Students Elizabeth and Ezra are working on cutting pieces for a set of Adirondack chairs that will become the 8th graders’ gift during their class overnight trip the Johns Brook Lodge and Camp Peggy O’Brien, backcountry huts that are part of the Adirondack Mountain Club. Last year’s 8th grade trip to the Lodge, along with the servicework they participated in there, was featured in the current issue of Adirondac, the Adirondack Mountain Club magazine.
Every fall at NCS begins with Mountain Day—an afternoon set aside to explore our campus in their residential house groups. This year house groups canoed on Round Lake and buried one another in the beach sand. Other groups hiked up Trouble, a viewpoint on campus with views of our buildings, lake, barn, and the surrounding High Peaks mountain range. House groups also climbed at our outdoor crag, belaying and taking on routes for the first time while cheering on their friends.
This Saturday marked the start to the year’s weekend trip program, which gives our students an opportunity to explore their surroundings, acquire and build upon outdoor skills, and discover new interests. A group of students including Rebecca, Duke, Tristan, and Inyene, with Jackson the dog along for company, hiked up Balanced Rocks and Pitchoff Mountain—a hike accessible directly from the NCS campus with epic views of campus, the surrounding mountains, and the towering Cascade waterfall.
FARM AND GARDEN
At North Country School we believe that many hands make light work, and this year began with students pitching in at the barn right from day one. Returning students helped show new students the ropes at volunteer barn chores during our school’s opening days, with Jessica and Emily working together to care for our flock of ducks, while Sonya helped feed our chickens before herding them into the coop for the night.
Our youngest students lent a hand in their Edible Schoolyard class, harvesting rhubarb from our fields alongside the farmers. The group was able to sample a quick and delicious rhubarb fool—a dessert made by cooking rhubarb down and mixing it with whipped cream—before chopping the stalks to freeze for use throughout the winter.
The community also joined together to celebrate North Country School’s annual Harvest Fest. The event brings students and faculty together for an afternoon of harvesting herbs and vegetables from our farm, preparing delicious dishes including flower tea, salsa, and herb butter, and baking fresh bread in our outdoor oven. Students showed their creativity at the facepainting station, played lawn games, and brought out instruments for some impromptu live music. The food prepared at the festival was enjoyed at the first Wednesday Homenight—the night of the week when each residential house cooks and eats together as a family.
Thank you for joining us in celebrating the start of the year at North Country School! Check back next week to see what we’re up to on our mountain campus.
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