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.
Hometown: Parsippany, NJ
Education: B.A., Wellesley College; M.D. Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Profession: Physician, Board Certified Internal Medicine; currently staff physician at the VAMC Salem
On which board committee do you serve? Development
How did you first become connected with North Cross? I have 3 children at North Cross: Zack (class of '17), Triff (class of '19), and Julia (class of '21).
What is your favorite tradition at North Cross? I always get choked up at senior day for the different sports teams and for the spring band concert when Mrs. Donnini recognizes the seniors. I love hearing about all the different accomplishments of our North Cross students, as they approach graduation.
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.
This Sunday, the Class of 2017 embarked on a group outing to Busch Gardens and Williamsburg to help charge them up for the final weeks of school—and to have some fun times as a group before heading off to their next adventures after graduation. It's a bitter-sweet trip; some of these students have been together since they were three! SCA Advisor Susan Wenk and PA President Susan Card accompanied the group along with Athletic and Wellness Director (and dad to senior Margaret) Eric Lawrence and Dean of Students Stephen Belderes. Julie Aavatsmark stopped by yesterday while at a conference in Williamsburg. In addition to their time at Busch Gardens, the group is driving go-karts and playing archery tag and laser tag, and perhaps will do a little shopping—a fun way to remember the kid of inside them before they enter the ‘grown-up’ world.
Summer Reading Book Fair is almost here! The Book Fair will be held in Hancock Library May 1-5. (Monday-Thursday 8:00-5:00 and Friday 8:00-3:00). Stop by to take a look at the wonderful titles that have been selected for this year's summer reading list. We will also have copies of the Senior Favorites from the Class of 2017, as well as the faculty & staff favorites.
Can't make it to the library that week? Our Barnes and Noble in-store book fair runs from May 1-15 at any Barnes and Noble and online at bn.com. Don’t forget that purchases at the café count, too! Our Barnes and Noble Book Fair ID: 12144507. A book fair voucher with this information can be found here. Use it when you purchase items at the store or online, and the school will receive credit for those purchases, too.
Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL (a suburb of Chicago)
Education: University of Chicago--B.A.; University of California, Berkeley—Ph.D.
Current Position: Upper School Physics Teacher
Year Appointed: 2015
What's one thing your students don't know about you? I took introductory Spanish three times.
Who most influenced your decision to teach? I have had many excellent and inspiring teachers. My high school orchestra conductor, Mr. Hageman, was one of the best.
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
Upper School Art teacher Amy Jackson informed her students of an upcoming art competition sponsored by Roanoke's Sister Cities International affiliation. A piece entered by Ben Li ’18 received an honorable mention and is advancing to the next level of competition. The prize for his winning entry was $25.
Sister Cities International aims to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation – one individual, one community at a time. This year’s Young Artists theme, “We’re Going Places,” showcases the importance of travel and exchange in achieving peace. The competition's guidelines stated: "Students are encouraged to draw inspiration from their experience with travel, exchange, international friendships, and their goals to present their vision of where the future will lead."
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."
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.