The Upper School has started our partnership with the Rescue Mission with flying colors. So far we have volunteered three days, totaling 264 hours of Community Service. Our efforts have been mainly concentrated in the Distribution Center where goods are serviced and made ready for sale in the two Rescue Mission Thrift Stores. Our students have stood out amongst the volunteers each time they serve. We have greeted the other volunteers with chants of "WE ARE NORTH CROSS,” and “How do We Serve? Hands! Feet! With Praise!” These always seem to lighten the mood of all the volunteers in attendance on that day. Our banner has hung proudly in front of Rescue Mission each time, letting the entire community know we are there.
With the wounds of Hurricane Harvey yet to be healed, and Irma heading toward the continental U.S., the students in the Upper School SCA wanted to do something to help aid in the efforts of relief workers on the ground. Claudia Morgan ’19 is the student liaison to the American Red Cross and together with Alex Hash, Community Outreach Coordinator, and Everett Ward ’18, SCA President, a call to action was broadcast last Friday to the North Cross community.
The students are organizing an effort that happens this Friday, September 8. They are asking that all students, in all divisions, bring to school at least $1 to donate to the American Red Cross. Ninety percent of the American Red Cross' workforce is made up of volunteers, keeping their overhead low, which allows for 92 cents of every dollar donated to go directly to on-the-ground relief efforts.
We hope the entire community will come together to show support for those who have been injured, lost their homes or belongings, and/or lost their family members through this devastating storm. Give what you can. All donations are appreciated.
This morning, the Middle School gathered in front of Lemon Dining Hall at the beginning of the school day to hear about the day of work ahead of them. This time though, it wouldn't be in the classroom, but at a handful of service organizations across the Valley. Buses were loaded up, the students divided into groups and off they went, packed lunches in hand. Before leaving, Alex Hash, North Cross' Community Outreach Coordinator, reminded the students who and what they represent: "You are no longer an individual. You are part of a group—you are a representative of North Cross School… Because of what you're doing today, our community is a better place to live." Students gave hours of service to the Rescue Mission, South Roanoke Nursing Home, Hope Tree, the Roanoke Greenway, Healing Strides, the Roanoke SPCA, Apple Ridge Farm, and the Taubman and Science Museums. Tasks ranged from shoveling mulch and landscaping to decorating sandwich bags that will hold lunches for the Rescue Mission's homeless population. The work may not have always been exciting (ask the boys who cleaned every window at the SPCA—inside and out), but the difference was appreciated across the organizations who received our students' time.
Last Friday, Raiders came out to support a different type of red as they donated blood during the annual drive sponsored by the SCA and organized by senior Helen Schmetdje. Virginia Blood Services had 30 donors come, and 22 were able to donate a full unit of blood. Together, the school affected 70 people's lives!
Today North Cross honored Mr. Peter Lewis for his contributions to education and the advancement of less fortunate youth through his Apple Ridge Farm summer program. Alex Hash, Community Outreach Coordinator, presented Mr. Lewis with a plaque during the North Cross School Black History Month Assembly. Also honored was Mrs. Annette Lewis (no relation), Director of TAP in Roanoke for her continued and outstanding contributions to the Roanoke Valley community. Singer Nefeteria Hash was our musical guest. (Read More to see photos.)
Afterwards, the Upper and Middle schools, faculty, staff and guests were, in a word, inspired by Dr. Terrell Strayhorn's presentation. Dr. Strayhorn is a professor and researcher at The Ohio State University where he is also the director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise there.
Monday is a holiday, the observation of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and school and administrative offices will be closed. In observance today, a special assembly for Middle and Upper School students was held where Director of Community Programs Alex Hash spoke about why he believed we celebrate Dr. King's accomplishments to this day: the unwavering kindness that he bestowed upon all people, not just those who agreed with him and his beliefs. Kindness is sometimes against human nature, Mr. Hash pointed out; when we see difference in others, often, our tendency is to separate ourselves from that difference. True kindness is the act of compassion in spite of difference and challenge; something we can all try to emulate and honor.
We invite you to watch this excerpt from Mr. Hash's speech and to consider a day of service on Monday, as a group of our Upper School students will be performing, in honor of Dr. King's contributions and philosophies.
NCS 5th Grade Students Reach Out to Friends in Zimbabwe
By Lindsay McKinnon
I just have to brag about how amazing our kiddos are. They did something really good.
When I approached Mr. Lamas and the 5th grade teachers about my idea for creating Pen Pal relationships between North Cross students and 5th graders on the other side of the ocean, they were all about it. I was on my way to Zimbabwe and looking forward to sharing my experience and building bridges between youth in both of these drastically different countries. The process of it all was quite amazing and continues to teach me - and our students and teachers - some of the biggest, most essential life lessons.
Thirty-three 5th graders from North Cross School worked diligently on their letters to peers they have never met, in a country they have never been to, nor did they know much about. This is no small task, yet we asked them, and they rose to the occasion. Reading these letters on the day long airplane ride warmed my soul. I fell in love with our students all over again.
“Dear Zimbabwean Student…”
“Dear Zimbabwean Student…”
“Dear Zimbabwean Student…”
During the first two weeks of December, the Parents' Association asked, and they received. NCS families generously donated new, unwrapped toys to several local agencies for children in need. Two HUGE boxes of toys were delivered to CHiP — the Children's Health Initiative Partnership and to the Salvation Army. Thank you to all the parents and students who helped these children have a gift for Christmas!
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.