Friday, September 29, 2017, families gathered under beautiful blue skies with the smell of crispy fried chicken and fresh biscuits in the air, to celebrate a unique quality afforded to only a small group of current North Cross students: being a Legacy student. Legacy students, as the name implies, have at least one immediate family member who has attended North Cross. This year we had the unique instance of having a third-generation legacy student in our midst, Grace Hamlin ’32, whose father Jack Hamlin ’03 and grandmother Colleen Hamlin ’78 also walked these halls. As people were finishing their lunch, two seniors took the microphone after being introduced by Dr. Proctor. Katherine Lake ’18 and Ansleigh Graeff ’18 spoke of what makes being a Legacy student so special. The shared experiences (and in some cases teachers!) at the school and the lifelong bond to this institution. Thank you to the families who joined us today. To see the speeches and view a recap of the day's festivities, 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.
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.
After receiving feedback from our community we've decided to revamp Crossties to become an interactive look at the North Cross experience. We're going on camera to show you the 'More' that happens here every week.
If you miss one, you can always binge watch on our YouTube channel. Other important news and bulletins will be posted in onCampus (in the Featured Content section), on our social media sites (links in the footer), and on our Crossties Blog. Division-specific notices will come to you directly from your Division Assistant.
This week's videos:
More than 100 people from our North Cross Community gathered outside Lemon Dining hall on Monday to celebrate the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The last time there was a coast to coast eclipse was nearly 100 years ago, and it was inspiring to see so many in our community collectively looking up at the sky watching the moon slowly rotate into position as the sun was eliminated sliver by sliver. Though we didn’t have complete totality here in Roanoke, getting to see 92% coverage—a witness to the orchestration of the solar system which is amazingly complex—was such a treat. Along with the awe inspiring celestial spectacle, participants were able to view a showing of NASA’s live streaming of the eclipse as well as work on demos and activities.
Some highlights from event included modeling activities to help children wrap their heads around the movement of our Sun-Earth-Moon system. Pin-hole sun dials were provided for those who preferred to utilize the properties of diffraction for viewing the eclipse. Older students had the opportunity to work through algebra and geometry problems which exemplified how scientists were able to predict the path of totality so precisely. Younger children were provided UV beads so they could explore electromagnetic energy emitted from our sun. Light and temperature probes were set up to collect data that will be further used by North Cross science teachers during the school year. And of course, what eclipse party isn’t complete without delicious, eclipse-themed snacks!
A special thanks to our science department who made all of the magic happen (well, almost all; we have to give the solar system some credit).
I hesitate to say it but by the time you are reading this letter we will be within a few weeks of the first day of school. For the younger members of the community, I am sure this is a frightening development, but for the adult crowd, there may be a bit of excitement at the prospect. Regardless, count this letter as a reminder to make the most of the remainder of the summer.
We have had a chance to relax a little bit this summer but the campus has remained busy nonetheless. Record numbers in our day camp along with 75 summer school students from North Cross-Xinhe have kept things lively and it has been good to see so many of our current and former students working summer jobs on our campus. Off campus, approximately two dozen of our Upper School students are working around the city as part of our new summer internship program, while another dozen or so have travelled internationally on global studies trips to Peru and France.
I, myself, took a trip to Mendoza, Argentina where I spent two-and-a-half days at Escuela Italiano, a private bilingual school that will be exchanging students with our middle school in October and March. I met with both the parents and students who will be visiting us in October at this warm and caring school. My hope is to develop an ongoing relationship that will pay dividends to our language program for years to come. If you are a parent of a middle schooler and are interested in having your child become part of our return trip to Mendoza in March, I encourage you to speak with Señora Mariana Hermosilla.
It is with great sadness but also best wishes that we report Andrew Miller's departure. He leaves his position as our choral and spring musical director after 7 years to work in the Roanoke County school system. Mr. Miller has set the bar quite high for our choral and musical theatre performances but we are confident that Danielle Pate Mouser, whom you may recognize from her student teaching experience with Mr. Miller last year, will keep the momentum and the eye (and ear) for quality for which her predecessor was known and celebrated. The two instructors keep in close contact and his mentorship continues with Danielle as he's made himself available to her for guidance and advice. We are excited to see where Mrs. Mouser will lead our young singers. The spring musical director, due to its labor intensive and time demands, will be hired as a separate position and the administration is currently working with a group of volunteer parents who have experience in past musicals to help guide that decision.
Known and New Faces in New and Returning Places
Along with a shift in the music department, following are the new hires and returning faculty members for the coming school year.
Audrey Osborne has taken a job in the Botetourt school system to be closer to home and family. As such, Katherine Clark will move up to be the 5th grade math and science teacher and Betsy Cook will be the 4th grade math and science teacher. Because of reduced numbers in the third grade, there is only need for one section, therefore, Meade Martin will be the third grade teacher.
Lee Kephart has returned from her maternity leave to teach Lower School art classes and Middle School Art 7 and Art 8 classes.
Miranda Greear is moving into ECP-1 with Jennifer Luckay from her time as a second-grade teacher.
Alison Vagts returns to teach in the 2nd grade after a year's absence. She has a MA in teaching from Hollins University and is a graduate of North Cross School (class of 2003).
Amy Hanson, also in ECP previously as an assistant, will now be a full-time faculty member.
Katie Sultze joins Emily Votta in ECP-2. Katie, who has a BA in English from Roanoke College, taught at Second Presbyterian Preschool for three years and one year as a Behavioral Assistant in the Roanoke county public schools. She has a BA in English from Roanoke College.
Lily Angus, who returns after her maternity leave, joins ECP-2. Mrs. Angus taught fourth and fifth-grade math previously and has also been tutoring students in the CrossWalk classroom over the past year.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.