This morning, the Lower School grades one through five assembled in Muscaro Gymnasium for the second annual Sportsmanship Code signing. The captains from all of the fall athletics teams came to talk to the students about what it looks like to play fair, to give it one's all, and to always be kind and encouraging—on and off the field. Afterwards, representatives from each grade came to sign the Code with the Upper School students. During P.E. periods, all students will have a chance to sign this year's sheet. The Upper Schoolers will also return during Lower School P.E. periods (when they have a break) to play with these impressionable young athletes and demonstrate how to put their words in action!
Under beautiful skies, members of the Willis family, faculty, staff, students and alumni, gathered before the start of the Homecoming Football game against Roanoke Catholic to take a moment and dedicate the newly renovated field to Cydney and David Willis. David D.H. Willis ’77 passed away after a battle with cancer. David was a member of the Board of Trustees for 16 years, Past President of the Alumni Association, and the recipient of the 2002 Alumni Service Award. He was also parent to five boys who were all graduates of North Cross. Dr. Proctor's remarks from the ceremony can be accessed by clicking the "Read More" link below.
Before this year's Homecoming Pep Rally, the Parents' Association outdid themselves with an amazing Adventure Walk for the entire school — no small feat when you have almost 500 students and 60+ faculty to corral. The school was broken into groups and then led throughout the buildings to see special decorations and get to know each other along the way. Many piggy backs were given, hands held, and friendships formed. Thank you to all of our parents who made this journey come together!
After the Walk, students enjoyed popsicles and a petting zoo. The theme for this year's Homecoming surrounds the movie Footloose, whose final scene takes place in a barn. So farm animals were a natural match. Spring Valley Farm in Moneta, VA, brought the adorable farm animals to the pep rally. Among the spirited competitions was a dance-off between Hip-Hop and Country Line dancing, lassoing a "mustang" and an old-fashioned hoedown complete with a face-off between a rival sheriff. The students had a blast, and we would also like to thank Susan Wenk, Susan Card, and the Upper and Middle School SCA's for putting this spirit-lifting event together.
Both events are truly what memories are made of. To see video and more photos, visit our Instagram page and Facebook page which has footage of the "dance off."
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.
The rain held out just long enough for the last potato chip to be crunched and the last game of tag to find a winner. Families on both ends of the buddy line, seniors and ECP-2 students, came out to picnic blankets and hamburgers for this annual tradition. Though the skies were overcast, the smiles were bright. Parents of seniors got to meet their child's little buddies, while the ECP-2 parents got to meet what will be their counterparts in about 13 years. Good thing about almost-rainy weather? No ants.
On Wednesday, Dr. Devorah Heitner, founder of Raising Digital Natives, a website geared towards families navigating the difficult choices facing kids today with social technology, came to speak to our students and our community. Dr. Heitner first had lunch with representatives from the Middle School SCA where she mostly asked questions and listened to how our students make use of technology and how they've learned to strategize to make the most of what's available while also making time to focus on the things that matter. Later that afternoon, Middle and Upper School students gathered in Fishburn for a frank talk on how best to respect each other when using social media, and the things of which to be aware when using a public space.
That evening, she held a special session for parents. During that time she spoke about ways families can begin conversations to help mentor children instead of monitor them, giving them the guidance they crave in an ever-changing digital landscape. Afterwards, Dr. Heitner held a question and answer session and book signing. Thursday morning, area counseling and school professionals were invited to North Cross for a special breakfast conversation with Dr. Heitner. The effort was spearheaded by Director of Counseling Leigh Ann Hamlin, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and a partnership with Carilion Children's. We thank Dr. Heitner for her time and wisdom. For a brief review of her presentation to parents, visit our YouTube channel.
This past Saturday night, the SCA visited the NCS dorm students downtown. The Upper School group brought pizza and the students played "Minute to Win It" games and everyone had a super time. A big THANK YOU to Ms. Williams and Coach Alexander, Mr. Brandon and Dr. Owen for joining in the fun!
The Senior Class awaited patiently on Thursday while ECP-2 students made the long trek from Ellis Hall to Willis Field to meet their senior buddy for the first time. Slowly but surely, students were matched with each other, and some lucky ECP'ers got more than one student to be their buddies. This tradition is one of the best loved ones in the North Cross experience. During the year, the seniors will meet with their buddies for special events, like the Halloween Parade and the Egg hunt, but perhaps the most special day is when an ECP-2 student presents a fat pencil (like the ones we teach penmanship with) to his or her senior buddy who has been at the school for twelve years or more. The ceremony, which happens just before Commencement, is cherished by both sides of these relationships which grow closer (and sweeter) as the year goes on. Visit our YouTube channel to watch a special video scrapbook of their initial meeting.
This past Sunday and Monday, the ninth grade class went to Wilderness Adventures to take part in some good old fashioned bonding and character building. The compound's motto is "Challenge by Choice." Working in groups, students took on the challenges of the compound's high and low ropes courses, overcoming obstacles and thinking critically to successfully complete tasks as a team. The students had the chance to connect as a class as they transition to their first year in the Upper School. Dean of Students Stephen Belderes said "It is amazing watching students cheer each other on as they climb a 50-foot rope or jump from a 20-foot tree." Mr. Belderes and other faculty members were on hand to chaperone. Taking the time to bring students together outside of the classroom helps them to connect as friends, support one another, and begin the year on a positive note.
Family, friends, board members, alumni and faculty came out in unanticipated sunny weather as we watched the Class of 2017 take their seats for the final time as North Cross students. In the coming days we'll be posting more about the addresses given that day, but for now, enjoy the photographs from a truly heartwarming, bittersweet, and proud day for our entire community.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.