Though a bit delayed due to many students being away for Model UNs, the Upper School finally had the chance to celebrate Chinese New Year, thanks to the efforts of our International Chinese students. Organized primarily by Arthur Qi ’18, the entire Upper School was divided into groups and sent on a rotation, visiting classrooms to learn a sample of Chinese calligraphy, food, the art of paper cutting, and to watch a video that surveyed traditions practiced in Asian countries during this widely celebrated holiday. Ninth grade students were brought to the auditorium first to watch an introduction to the celebration that others witnessed last year. It certainly was a more hands-on celebration this year, giving students the chance to experience some of the customs themselves. The dominance of the color red throughout the festival has to do with its meaning in Chinese culture. Red represents good fortune and happiness as represented in the character to the right.
Friday night was a big win for both the Boys and Girls swim teams. Both teams came away as conference champions. The teams led the competition from start to finish, beginning with the Boys' 200 medley relay which produced its best time of the season by more than five seconds. Andrew Lorens '19 won four titles in all, two individually in the 100 free and 100 back, and two as part of the 200 medley and 400 free relays. Zack H'Doubler '17 had the best meet of his career, improving by over ten seconds in the 100 fly and winning a thrilling race in the 100 breast by dropping more than three seconds from what was already a state-qualifying time. Patrick Daly '20 and Liam Hu '20 also recorded best times in each event they swam, and Daniel Byrnes '21 took home four gold medals. On the girls side it was a dominating performance as they outpaced second-place Chatham Hall by a 43-point margin. Swimming fast throughout the meet, the girls won two of the three relays, finishing second by a tenth of a second in the 200 free relay. Natalie Lorens '21 placed first in all four of her events and was bolstered by the strong performances of every one of her teammates. Individual event winners also included Margo Winn '18, Emma Cartledge '18, and Aurora Phlegar '20.
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.
On Founders' Day, our Middle and Upper School students were treated to some words of wisdom from a past student, 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Harry I. Johnson III ’86. But why should only they get to hear these amusing and truthful anecdotes from an accomplished lawyer, public servant and mentor? We recorded Mr. Johnson's remarks so that you, too, can experience what was truly an enjoyable and enlightening 20 minutes of our day.
He later attended Joe Harris' Upper School government class in which he reminded students: "You can not make a difference in the world, unless you can get up in front of an audience of strangers and articulate some view point about something, because you're going to be asking them to do something or you're going to be making a point … At North Cross, we have the DeHart Project—it was the senior speech when I had it—that is a great introduction to that. That is important."
Also on Friday, as part of our Founders' Day celebration, we honored Polly Jones, English Teacher and English Department Chair. In Upper School Director Mark Thompson's remarks to Mrs. Jones, he elaborated on her strengths as an instructor and dedication to her craft:
"A former colleague wrote of Ms. Jones, 'She is a very accomplished English teacher. She has superior knowledge of both literature and grammar and uses a variety of methods to teach both areas. She does a wonderful job requiring students to engage in rigorous study but balances this with the needs of her students.' As Ms. Jones has been at NCS for the past five years, I personally have seen Ms. Jones skillfully work with a range of students and provide outstanding instruction and support on a daily basis. At the heart of this is her deep care for students and her subject matter. Often well after school is over and a good portion of many weekends, Ms. Jones is hard at work, perfecting her craft, reading for pleasure and to improve her curriculum, she is planning her lessons, and perhaps above all, she is grading and assessing and providing meaningful feedback on student work."
We congratulate Ms. Jones on this honor and appreciate her dedication to our students and their success in English, writing and theatre. To watch the award ceremony, visit our YouTube channel.
This morning we were treated to Naima Rasul's ’17 senior speech on Service Dogs. She outlined the skills unique to these animals, such as those trained to sense changes in blood sugar for diabetics, the training, cost and time involved in honing these skills and the various uses and applications for service animals. She was introduced by her younger sister, Narmeen Rasul ’18. You can listen to the talk in its entirety and see more photos by visiting the Featured Content section of onCampus.
On Wednesday, two of North Cross School's standout players from this year's 2016 VISAA Div II State Finalist football team formally committed to play football next year with their respective colleges: Davis Call ’17, to College of William & Mary and Miles Lowman ’17, to Hampden-Sydney College, surrounded by their parents, friends and coaches.
Please help us celebrate both Davis and Miles, their accomplishments as tremendous high school student-athletes as they prepare to play football at the next level.
On Tuesday morning, Claiborne Creasy ’17 gave a presentation on the history of Title IX, a section of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, which states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." In 2001 and 2011, further guidelines were added addressing the handling of sexual assault cases on campuses. Though intended to help schools deal with sexual assault cases swiftly, the guidelines were broad sweeping and took away much of the due process and evidence requirements for the handling of accusations of sexual assault which can have lifetime repercussions for those wrongly accused, both male and female.
The North Cross Chess Team competed in the Roanoke City Championships this past weekend against many of the schools in the Roanoke area—and won first place overall as a team. Comprised on and off of roughly 10 members, the team this past weekend consisted of (from left to right): Andy Benson, Aiden Erwin, Nalin Jha, Ben Li, Davis Alcorn, and Zack Sommer (not pictured). Individually, Nalin won all of his games and tied for first, earning the second place trophy as a result of the tiebreak system. Congratulations!
This afternoon, students in the middle and upper schools were able to get a preview of the Upper School production of William Shakespeare's Henry V. A play, originally staged in the 15oos, features challenging dialogue—some even in French—but our students made it seem natural. We applaud all of the cast and crew, and Mrs. Polly Jones for her guidance in this production. For a full gallery of photos, available for download, visit:
In the mean time, here is a sampling of shots from the production. Be sure to come and see it live this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 in the Fishburn Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.