Family Weekend Returns with High Marks from Students

Photo: Northwood School (Facebook)

Northwood School hosted its annual Family Weekend tradition where different families come to visit the campus to gain a better understanding of students’ life at school. At the event, held October 8-9, parents attended events including presentations made about the school’s signature academic programs, dance and musical performances, and a College Counseling session. Parents also had the opportunity to attend parent-teacher conferences.

A substantial number of families were able to participate in an interactive session at the Innovation Hub as well as watch a crew scrimmage and go hiking with the Northwood Outing Club. To add to the plentiful activities that happened on the weekend, students were given an extended weekend off from classes during which they were able to go home. 

The Mirror asked students what they thought of Family Weekend, and here’s what they said. 

“My highlight was having my family come eat with me in the dining hall and getting to experience what I experience on a regular school day.” 
Ella Fesette ‘22 

“It was the first time I was able to celebrate my brother’s birthday with him, since 8th grade.” 
Jazlyn Lluberes ‘23 


“My highlight was just having my family come meet my teachers and see the school, it was good to see them again.” 
Jacob Jaslow ‘23 

“I enjoyed the time off of school to catch up on things and relax.”
Julia Turner ‘23


“Seeing my family was the peak of my school year.”
Griffin Bouchard ‘23 

“I went to Rumney with NOC, we went on a Rock-climbing trip. “
Anthony Lavigne ‘22 


Family Weekend Showcases School Offerings

Northwood families will come from all over the world, including Spain, Canada, the Caribbean, and Brazil to campus this weekend to gain a deeper understanding of life at school and get their own perspective of the atmosphere here at Northwood.  

Family Weekend is this weekend, October 8-10, and is an opportunity for the siblings, parents or grandparents of students to experience Northwood.   

“Parents don’t actually know what it’s like here, so I think it’s nice to form that connection between parents and school,” Slater Loffredo ‘22 explained. 

Not all families will be able to attend, though. Many international students, especially due to pandemic travel restrictions, won’t see their families this weekend. 

“It’s hard for me to see other families together, having fun while mine can’t be there but I think it’s a good concept for those families that can come,” Thebe Mosehathebe ‘23 of South Africa said. 

Despite having fewer restrictions on campus this year, families will not be attending classes, but are they able to have personalized discussion with their children’s teachers. Family members can get a sense of how their children are doing and what can be done to aid them in their academics, especially those who have never visited the campus before. 

“From my perspective, I think that the most important thing is the parents’ opportunity to meet with their child’s teachers,” Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs, Noel Carmichael said.” If they didn’t get to meet them on registration day, this will be the best time to do so.” 

The weekend is very engaging for visitors as they can learn about the college process from the College Counseling office and learn about the state of the school in an address from the Head of School Michael Maher. The school will also show off signature academic programs such as Advanced Research and Independent Study Programs, “to give a sense of the opportunities here,” explained Carmichael. 

Parents and family members will also participate in an interactive meeting at the Innovation Hub and observe what is new with robotics, entrepreneurship, and other innovative courses. 

They will be provided entertainment by students’ dance and musical performances. The school community has planned a few Northwood hockey games at the Olympic Center and a hike up the Cobble Trail with the Northwood Outdoor Club. The Northwood crew team will also host a race on Mirror Lake. 

“In a nutshell, [Family Weekend] is like a taste test for what Northwood has to offer,” Carmichael summarized. 


For a program of activities, visit this website

Students Play Important Role in Weekend Activities

Weekend activities are enjoyable and make the place buzz with life as students come together to appreciate the leisure living at Northwood can offer. Students are given many activity options to decide how they want to spend their time, including opportunities to go out into the beautiful town of Lake Placid and surrounding Adirondack region and explore.  

Weekend activities don’t just happen on their own. A committee of students, coordinated by Ms. Leigh Riffle, Director of Residence Life, generates ideas for activities each week that they hope will engage and entertain students during the coming weekend.  

Riffle wants students to have a voice in weekend activities. “Weekend activities should be activities the students want to do and participate in,” Riffle said, “which is why students have such a significant say in what is offered on the weekends.”  

Some photos from weekend activities taken from Northwood’s Facebook feed:

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The group is called the Student Events/Activities Committee and is made up of 20 students and takes into consideration the events happening in town, the weather and season, and the cost of the activity.  

Last year, with all the COVID restrictions, the school was unable to offer many off campus activities. Things are much improved this year.  

With the revitalization of NOC (Northwood Outing Club) the committee is planning to take full advantage of what NOC has to offer students with various weekend excursions led by NOC.  

In the start of this fall season, students would usually have the chance to enjoy the crisp fall weather wit events like apple- and pumpkin-picking, gardening, outdoor Friday-Festivals and Bonfires with smores.  

A huge consideration for the school is the equal balance between physical and mental activities. Ms. Riffle reminds the committee to include the interests of all students. Activities should be attractive to students who enjoy sports and physical activities, so they may plan ‘Just Dance’ competitions or intramural tournaments like soccer, volleyball and spike ball. Other students may be more attracted to events like Trivia Night, Karaoke, or various art events. Often, students are given the opportunity to go out to support their peers in their athletic endeavors like hockey and soccer games. 

The committee also keeps in mind the travel schedules of athletic teams. Sometimes a highly anticipated event may be moved a week or two later so that a travelling team can participate when they are home. It is crucial that the sports teams can enjoy these weekend events because many students travel most weekends.  

Mrs. Riffle has reminded students that the weekend activity offerings are up to them. “What you guys ask for the school wants to give, and we do our absolute best to make sure that students are having the best residential experience possible,” Riffle told the committee recently. 

Humans of Northwood: Mr. Benjamin LeBlanc 

Mr. LeBlanc is the new physics and precalculus teacher. 

Mr. Ben LeBlanc (Photo provided)

“I love physics because I had an interactive physics teacher who embraced his uniqueness and explained the concepts thoroughly and inspired me. Physics and math have always been a strong suit and I have found a great interest in them for their structure despite not having the ability to find a solution but rather a different view of your surroundings. Another inspiration of mine was my older brother, who balanced athletics and academics and was a guide in helping me get my PhD and becoming a teacher.  

“At Northwood, I’ve appreciated having more interconnections as a teacher rather than in the engineering field. It’s amazing the interaction you have with students throughout their entire schooling life, not just in their classes, but at lunch, at study hall or in their living areas, you see a different side of them throughout the scope of their day.  

“A talent of mine is that I’m very good at not getting fatigued during hiking, biking or running. A fun fact is that the longest distance I’ve ever ran was 44 miles. I have an interest in the physics of running, I’ve specifically focused on determining if I could find or quantify fatigue in running without actually measuring parameters. I conducted a study that can estimate fatigue in somebody doing a tiring sport, which minimizes injury while performing at the highest level.  

“My goal is to have kids of my own and continue teaching science as well as to encouraging kids to pursue physics and to help set children up for life in areas of study such as engineering. I would like to lay the fundamentals down for students and make them passionate about it.  

“A more personal goal of mine is the’ Fastest Known Times’ which is a speed record on any given route. I like the freedom of it, the ability to hike in new places and meet new people. My ideal weekend day is going on an early morning run or hike and relaxing the rest of the day with movies or playing games and then ending with a campfire. At school, I really enjoy eating tacos and fajitas, they are hands down some of my favorite foods. I love eating pizza and ice cream, especially on weekends.”

As told to Christie-Ann Nelson ’23

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