From Cairo to Placid – Student’s First Snow 

Ahmed smiles as he experiences his first snow outside the school’s main entrance (photo provided).

Ahmed El Ganainy, a junior from Cairo, Egypt, started at Northwood School this year. Having lived in Cairo his entire life, Ahmed had never seen snow before this week. Cairo stays mild or hot most of the year, with temperatures often hitting 92 degrees F in summer and 65 degrees F in winter. Wind and sandstorms are common, and pollution contributes to uncomfortable afternoons in the city. Now, nearly 8,000 miles away, Ahmed is in Lake Placid and experiencing tremendous amounts of snow. 

Coming to Lake Placid was an eye-opener for Ahmed, with the Adirondack region featuring nature at its best. Sparsely populated, extremely quiet except for wildlife and trees everywhere was the opposite of traffic jams and horns in a crowded major world capital.  

Last week, Ahmed saw snow for the first time. The last time it snowed in Egypt was on the 10th of January 1855 in the mountainous southern region of Sinai.  

He was walking between buildings and saw white flakes falling from the sky. “At first, I didn’t really know what it was,” Ahmed exclaimed. “I had to ask people if it was snow. It was such a surreal moment. Magical, actually.” 

Ahmed said, “It was a truly incredible moment seeing snow for the first time. I wanted to tell my family. I spent half an hour playing in the snow with my roommate Sam. I felt like a kid. I was so excited and immersed in the moment that I didn’t even feel the sub-zero [Celsius] cold. The pure joy I experienced from the snow will never be forgotten!” 

Before coming to Northwood, Ahmed didn’t know what to expect. It was a brave move for him. However, he’s enjoyed life at Northwood, and the fact that the school has become more diverse every year makes moments like these so special.  

So, look out for Ahmed on the slopes at Whiteface this ski season! 


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