The Transition From NSA to Northwood


NSA closed following the 2015 graduation. Photo: Lou Reuter via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Just like birds migrate, so do people. Sometimes in the sudden shift, a seamless change can be difficult. Movement is a part of life. Today at Northwood School, there are a few teachers and students who were previously enrolled in National Sports Academy or NSA. Since the closing of NSA, these select few, teachers and students, migrated a mile down the road. According to some of the “migrators,” their transition has broadened their understanding of these two unique private schools in Lake Placid.

Founded in 1977, National Sports Academy was a small private high school that offered students opportunities to pursue their academic and athletic goals. In the spring of 2015, NSA was forced to cease its unique journey when the board faced severe financial issues. Once NSA’s financial issues became unbearable, they closed and the migration began.

Lisa Wint, a former teacher at NSA, expressed how she felt about this change:

“The morning class schedule is an adjustment for me even though I am up early at 6:00 each morning. I miss being able to walk my son to the school bus and exercise before school; however, I get to see my son more in the afternoon after school. I’m excited that Northwood is adopting the “training in the morning” schedule and classes in the afternoon this winter. Overall, I think I have adjusted well and fairly quickly to life at Northwood School and am happy to be here working with students – which is what I love to do.”

When being asked what she misses the most about NSA, there are many precious memories she recalls:

“I think the thing I miss most this year is the “tightness” of the very small community at NSA. I miss knowing every student’s name by the 2nd or 3rd day of school. I’m sad that it is the 7th week of school and many of the students do not know each other by name. But the upside is that each student and community member has the potential to meet more people and make even more lasting friendships if they make the effort to get to “know” everyone.”

Moreover, when speaking of comparisons and similarities, these two “rivalries” seem to have shared some common ideals. NSA and Northwood were more similar than one might realize – When NSA was still in operation, both private boarding schools offer college preparatory courses and competitive athletics. Students from all over the world (25-33% of the population) flock to these schools to get a taste of the vibrant experience of the Adirondacks. Dedicated teachers and staff really get to know their students and develop lasting relationships outside of the classroom.

The transition has various significance through the teacher’s perspective; what will the transition look like through the eyes of students?

“I think the adjustment was tough for me at first because I was not used to the larger student body and busy schedule. It took me about a semester to figure it out but once I was able to adjust I found my [school]days more productive.” Maddie McCarthy, an alpine skier who went to NSA, expressed her thoughts of the change. Maddie says:

“I find everything different. It is hard to believe that we were “rivals” because it seems like we aren’t alike at all. I was happy to see Northwood implement a winter schedule which is something like NSA used to do… The schedule used to be tricky for me to manage my time but like I said, I have gotten used to it. I am also able to be involved with student leadership at Northwood and be a part of a few clubs.”

Alex Akoundi, an alpine skier who attended NSA as an 8th grader, states his thoughts of the change.

“Adjusting from NSA to Northwood for me was really easy. I went to Northwood’s prom. all the kids were totally cool so this was a nice precursor to how the kids were when I arrived here for freshman year.”

When asked about the differences of the two institutions, Alex states:

“NSA and Northwood are totally different. In my view there’s no comparison. There’s something special about Northwood, something I haven’t totally figured out yet… All the difference between the two schools have influenced me in a positive way. The only negative is having to walk farther to get inside town.”

Moreover, Dennis Eriksson, the Swedish DJ and hockey player, says:

“I think I have adjusted myself well from the changing of schools between NSA and Northwood , of which has been a new chapter in my journey. Still, I am sad that NSA had to close down, but I have got a new opportunity to come to Northwood and I don’t regret it.”

Being one of the last students at NSA, Dennis expresses:

“During my years at NSA, there were fewer students than at Northwood School, and it really made you feel like the school gradually became a family as time went by. Still, there are not many people at Northwood School comparing to other prep schools, but what we had at NSA was something unique. At Northwood, academics is a main focal point and I have been challenged to work harder and to develop skills based on what I have learned through my years at NSA.”

Overall, through teacher and students’ responses to the transition, we are able to understand and to take a closer look at the values and spirits that NSA and Northwood share; the specialties and uniqueness they each possess. Furthermore, it is important to properly adjust to the changes in our lives, improvise with what we have at the present, and see the positive side of things.






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