On Thursday, a panel of speakers came to discuss an alarming trend: the rise of addition to heroin and opioids in younger populations. Addressing the Middle and Upper School students, among the speakers was a mother of a son who recently died of an overdose. Janine Underwood describes her son as an amazing athlete and a good student, but after ACL surgery in college, he became addicted to the Oxycontin he was prescribed, then progressed to easily obtained heroin. Even after he had picked up the pieces, was out of jail, had a job and was moving forward, he fell back into addiction and died of an overdose. "These are kids from nice homes getting good grades, playing in sports, and it can happen to any of them," Underwood said in an interview.
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.
This past weekend was the conclusion of many months of rehearsals and preparation as audiences came to enjoy the stunning visuals and sounds of Disney's Aida—School Edition. With a score by Elton John and Tim Rice, the music laid the foundation for a story of a forbidden romance set against the backdrop of Ancient Egypt. Victoria Riego de Dios ’19 as Aida and Margaret Lawrence ’17 as the Egyptian princess set to marry embodied the passion and conflicting lives of the two female leads while Jacob Wadstrom ’20 and Ryan Huddleston ’21 offered their powerful lead vocals for the two male principles. These strong and talented actors had an amazing group of dancers and singers who acted as the chorus in the musical, while Zack H'Doubler ’17 and Campbell Bloomfield ’18 rounded out the cast as the fathers for the two betrothed .
Musical Director Andrew Miller said this of the cast: "I was incredibly proud of the students involved in this production. They all truly impressed me with the characters they portrayed on stage. The energy and expression they brought to the performance captivated everyone who came to see the musical." Below is a slideshow of photographs taken during the student matinée this past Friday.
Students, Grades 8 - 12 (Parents Welcome)
Thursday, April 27, 1:45–3:10pm
Thursday, May 4, 6:30pm
Fishburn Auditorium, Old Slack Hall
A panel of experts will discuss the rise of opioid abuse within the Roanoke Valley, how to help prevent young people from becoming addicted, and ways of helping those affected.
Former U.S. Attorney John Fishwick
Roanoke County Prevention Council Nancy Hans
Special Agent: Virginia State Police Joe Crowder
American Addiction Center Terrence Engles
Special Guest Janine Underwood, parent of son lost to overdose
Please join us tomorrow afternoon with New York Times Best Selling Author Sharyn McCrumb. Ms. McCrumb will be speaking at 2:15pm in Fishburn Auditorium. She will discuss with our middle-school students and audience her process as a writer, including her extensive research and how she has navigated the publishing world. She appears as part of the CrossCurrents Annual Speaker and Dialogue Series at North Cross School. Middle School Director Edward Dickenson is excited to welcome Ms. McCrumb to our campus, saying, "We always want to encourage our students to embrace writing and to appreciate the writing process. In this light, we try to invite guest writers as often as possible to allow them to share their thoughts, talents, and life experiences with our students."
This week marked a beloved tradition in Middle School science, the annual release of baby trout that had been hatched and nurtured in the biology classes of Mrs. Patterson. Students in the eighth grade went with Ms. Sandy Patterson and Director Edward Dickenson to Roaring Run where the native species of trout were released in the stream. The brook trout arrive as eggs at the beginning of the year. The team is responsible for monitoring the water in the classroom tank, feeding the trout, and cleaning the tank, all to make sure they are prepared for release in the spring as fingerlings.
Teacher Heather Slaughter heads up the Middle School intramural teams which are mixed aged groups assigned a color and whose members compete against rival colors for points throughout the academic year. On Wednesday, students had an egg relay race, where the Pink team came out ahead, followed by Blue then Orange. However, don't count Purple out, they currently have the lead overall. The groups compete in academic and athletic challenges throughout the year, usually during their break periods. They also hold a service drive. This year, teams collected toiletries for the Rescue Mission and got points for each item brought in. Blue won with over 200 items, and the entire drive brought in over 600 items for people staying at the Rescue Mission. At the end of the year, the team with the most points gets a team pizza party.
Today marked an international effort, if you will, for the first Mini Metric Olympics at North Cross. Hosted, run and judged by CrossWalk fifth-grade math students Rex Owen, McKayla Hartman, and Blake Shaner, their fellow fifth-graders were invited to participate during their regularly scheduled math times in the multipurpose room of Ellis Hall. The three judges agreed that the event was a lot of fun.
Jack Fishwick ’16, will be assisting the hosts with setting up, running, and judging the Olympic Games.
This Monday, seventh-graders presented their completed family history projects to history teacher Heather Slaughter. The binders, filled with family photos, interviews, an autobiography and historical timeline, were the culmination of a month-long research project in which students used online databases and personal interviews to discover their roots and to find some surprising discoveries. Joelle Juneau ’22 mentioned that she found out her paternal grandfather came from Cuba when he found out he could do better as a physician if he trained in the U.S. Another student, Shayla Kyle ’22, discovered a great aunt she hadn't known about during her search on Ancestry.com in the library. The students remarked that they enjoyed creating this family history and know that it will be something they hold onto for a long time; "Except the baby pictures," added Joelle, "My mom wants those back."
This morning, the middle and upper school students, family and teachers came together to honor the outstanding work achieved by our honor-roll students this past semester.
North Cross School has two honor rolls: First and Second. Second Honor Roll students must hold a B average during their entire semester, and have no grade lower than a B-, while First Honor Roll students maintain an A average over the semester, with no grade lower than an A-. Twenty-nine Middle Schoolers and 40 Upper Schoolers made first honors while 53 Middle School students and 73 Upper Schoolers made second honors.
Congratulations to the students (and the families and teachers who support them) on this accomplishment! Below is a list of this past term's awardees, organized by grade.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.