We have made it our mission to increase parent volunteerism within the school this year. We find that parents who are actively engaged on campus tend to have a more meaningful experience throughout their child's time at North Cross. Between the Parents' Association, Friends of the Arts (FOTA), Booster's Club, the Development Office, and each division, there is no shortage of volunteer opportunities.
Throughout the month of September, we encourage all parents to fill out this volunteer form and find a way to get involved. The September Service Drive also extends to our upper school students; each is required to submit an outline this month of a plan to meet their community service requirement. We are asking our parents to lead by example in this service-oriented effort. There is something to appeal to all backgrounds, expertise, and schedules, and we look forward to helping you find the best fit for you.
Do not hesitate to reach out to Rebekah Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like additional information.
We are off and running and it is gratifying to see that we have grown to over 490 students—our biggest opening-day enrollment since I have been here. It appears to be a great start of the year and I hope everyone will watch our student created video that started our year off. It got me pumped up.
No pithy words of wisdom today from the Head of School but I do want to touch on some housekeeping details that should make things easier.
Pick-up and drop-off are always hot topics around this time of year and I promise that as we get past the first couple of weeks, all things relax and traffic flow improves. That being said, let me offer a couple of tips that may help us out.
Wednesday was our annual Convocation ceremony. The entire school gathered for opening remarks, Lower School class assignments and the traditional ringing of the bells to start the school year. We're off to a good start—over 490 students on opening day!
This summer Middle School Science and Outdoor Education teacher Sandy Patterson (pictured in the center) attended the Educator Workshop at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Ms. Patterson received the Lawrence Award for faculty enrichment this past spring and used the funds to attend an intensive program comprised of lectures, laboratory exercises, and field work.
Education: North Cross School 1971; University of Virginia, Econ. 1975, MBA 1979
Year Appointed: 2010
Current Position: Director of Development and Major Gifts
What is your favorite North Cross tradition? It used to be the fifth-grade battle, but a close second is the Fat Pencil Ceremony.
What is the biggest difference in students today versus when you were a student at NCS? Remember this was the 60’s and early 70’s; today the boys have shorter hair, the girls wear longer skirts. There were no cellphones so you had to call a girl for a date and actually talk to her on the phone, usually after talking to a parent first. You made plans with your friends by calling people on their house phone or by talking to them in person.
Who do you consider as your mentor, and what have you learned from them? My father was my mentor, he had an excellent work ethic and he taught me to be respectful of everyone no matter what their background was. He also encouraged me to ask lots of questions, and do more listening, than talking.
What is something most people would be surprised to know about you? I hate spiders, and that’s coming from someone who loves being outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, whatever.
If you could say something to the students here at North Cross, what would you say? I left North Cross, went to the University of Virginia and was confident in my academic abilities and the ability to communicate and relate to a variety of people with different backgrounds. My sons who all attended North Cross had similar experiences. Take advantage of as many extracurricular offerings as you can, play sports you’re not comfortable with, play a musical instrument or sing, join a club, perform in a play, and run for an office. Don’t be satisfied with “good enough,” strive to be the best person you can be in all you undertake.
What’s your passion here? What motivates you to do what you do? I get to interact with every level: students, parents, faculty, the Board, and senior staff. I came to North Cross from the Board in 2010 because they had a need that I thought I could help with. I was also frustrated because I didn’t think the School was as good as it could be, and I knew the Roanoke Valley didn’t know how good the education we provide is. I wanted to let as many people as possible know what a jewel this is, in the Roanoke Valley. My sons all received a great education here (we paid for 34 years of tuition if that tells you something!), but the value of a North Cross education is as good as it’s ever been—if not better. I wish they had the opportunities our students have today.
What was your favorite book you read in school? Count of Monte Cristo
If you didn't do what you do here, what else would you be doing? I love finance and was good at it in college and graduate school but I came to Roanoke to help run a family business, which worked out well—especially since I met my wife, Forrest, while she was at Hollins. I would have loved a shot in investment banking or financial management.
The McKinnon Memorial Garden, created in loving memory of Patrick and Logan (two Lower School students who were tragically lost to us in early spring) was dedicated on Thursday, August 18 in a small, private, ceremony. It was attended by the boys parents, Lindsay and Tom, and their godparents and grandmother. Headmaster Chris Proctor lead a small contingent of the North Cross community. The event was followed by a reception at the Proctor’s home to thank the many individuals who had made donations to the McKinnon Memorial Fund. The reception was planned by Ellie Proctor and BJ Preas, who was the spiritual and financial force that made all of this possible.
I just left a meeting with David Lake, our new Director of Admission, who told me that we have students attending North Cross next year from 7 different nations, 8 if you count the U.S. Combine that with our new Tailored Tuition program that makes North Cross more affordable, our CrossWalk program for high ability students with dyslexia, and efforts to reach out to students of color, and we have an incredibly rich campus community.
On Wednesday, we kicked off our new school year by inviting Dr. Gene Batiste (pictured right) to campus to help guide our faculty and staff toward making our campus more inviting to people with diverse backgrounds. Following this six-hour workshop, Dr. Batiste met with parents and students in an evening session. Dr. Batiste is considered a national expert on diversity in independent schools and for thirteen years, served as a Vice President of the National Association of Independent Schools.
In his workshop, our faculty spent time examining what cultural identifiers—such as race, gender, academic acuity, body image—we each bring to the table as well as identifying what event sparked our awareness of these identifiers. We were made aware that we all maintain a specific identity in our lives and have been in places where this identity may not have been comfortable. We walked through some basic steps as to how we can create a school that intentionally works to make all students more comfortable at North Cross.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.