Humans of Northwood: Alvaro Galan ‘20


I’m from Spain, where I lived for 12 years. Then we moved to Chile, because of my dad’s work. In Chile, I played soccer for a club called One Sports, which is a program that connects Chilean players with American prep-schools and universities. I met Jon Moodey, head coach of the Northwood soccer team, and he offered me an opportunity to go and play for Northwood School. I chose Northwood because Northwood is a very good school to have good academics and also good sports. My first impression was that Northwood was a small community with a lot of people around the world. At first it was tough. New country, new friends — it was difficult. But I think that all the teachers and students receive people very well, which made me feel part of the community. Also, having many people who speak Spanish helped a lot.

My favorite memory is my first goal for Northwood. We were on a road trip to Philadelphia, and we were playing against a very good team, and won 6-1. The thing I dislike about Northwood is the food without a doubt.

I miss all the people, from my close friends, classmates, and some teachers. Although I just stayed for 7 months at Northwood, I made some good connections with a lot of people.

I’m exploring my options to study back in the States, but I’m not sure if that is going to be possible because of the coronavirus. I’m admitted to a university here in Spain, so if my other plans don’t work, I’ll study in Spain.

There are seven siblings in my family. Some people can’t believe that. Having so many brothers has it’s good and bad things. I’m the oldest, so I have an extra responsibility to guide them.

– As told to Hadley Swedlund ‘20

Humans of Northwood: Rintaro Akasaka ‘20


I am from Tokyo, Japan, and my last name is a palindrome. I am a “four-year survivor.” I have been playing hockey and robotics for four years. In the springtime, I have been doing whitewater kayaking for three years and, if not for COVID-19, I would have done it for the fourth time.

I was considering two schools to attend. Compared to the other school, Northwood was focused both on academics and athletics, so I chose to go to Northwood.  The tight connection between students and that of teachers was something I have never seen before in any of my previous schools. Northwood’s unique aspect of community is still preserved to this day and it should be something that should remain.

I had a great time at Northwood. Every day was busy. It gave me a chance to change the way I approach matters. The fact that Northwood is situated in the middle of the Adirondacks is the best part in my opinion. The nature surrounding Lake Placid is something I can never see in Tokyo.

It is a shame that the completion of the Innovation Hub was delayed. The Hub is something I came to appreciate after spending a lot of time there in the winter and early spring.

– As told to Hadley Swedlund ‘20

Humans of Northwood: Marty McDonough ‘20


During my junior year, about a week into the school year, I had a freshman come up to me and say, “I just want to thank you, Marty. You’ve made this place feel like my home and we’ve only been here for a week. I love it here”

I’m from Lake George, New York,  but I also live in New York City for some parts of the year. I’ve been at Northwood for four years. I was a member of the Ski Team at Northwood doing Alpine Ski Racing. I also played lacrosse. I was a member of the legendary cheese club for a couple of years.  I chose Northwood because all three of my siblings went to Northwood before me and it was just natural for me to follow their paths.  I was unsure about Northwood going into freshman year. Leaving my old school and friends behind was a big step for me. I now think of Northwood as my home. After just a couple weeks of being there during freshman year, I loved the place and the people.  I have never been more glad than how glad I am that I decided to go to Northwood School. It is and always will be my home.

– As told to Hadley Swedlund ‘20

Tips and Tricks for Online Learning

Online learning and teaching can be very challenging for many students and teachers. At Northwood, students are usually able to engage in new material in a traditional classroom setting. Now, students have been introduced to remote learning via technology and online.

Don DelNegro, who is in his 27th year as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Boston Bruins, spoke with Ms. Fagan’s Honors Biology class on April 30. (Photo: Ms. Marcy Fagan)

Some students may be able to learn very quickly and easily this way; however, some find it very challenging to grasp the material. Not only is it a different way of learning, but also there are also no exact class times, study halls, or schedules.

Online learning may be intimidating, but you may find the following tips and tricks very helpful to not only make learning more successful but to manage your time more easily and efficiently.

The first tip is to stay focused on the right mindset. Before starting your work, make sure you are in a clean and comfortable workspace with no distractions. As Dr. Finnerty Paul says, “Get out of your pajamas! Get dressed and brush your hair and teeth as if you are going to your physical class.” Having a positive and confident mindset on your schoolwork will make you more likely to get it done on time and less likely to avoid it.

Having a schedule is very helpful. Schedules help get work done and aid you in steering clear of procrastination. Make sure to add personal hobbies and activities along with school on your schedule. Having a schedule gives students and teachers a better understanding of their duties and keeps them energized and motivated to get their work done. Google Calendar helps big-time at creating schedules. Having a list is also very beneficial in getting your work done because it allows you to check things off making you feel accomplished.

Although online learning may seem challenging at first you will soon get the hang of it. If you have a hard time grasping new material, do not be afraid to reach out to your teachers. We are all in this together through the whole process, just be sure to take advantage of your resources.

Looking for more tips? Try this article from edX, a leader in online education founded by Harvard and MIT.

Humans of Northwood: Jack Schlifke ‘20

I’m from Penfield, New York, and my favorite TV show is All American. At Northwood, I did a PG year and played on the Junior Team. My first impression of Northwood was that it was a tightly knit community. At Northwood, everyone is outgoing, so you never feel left out of anything. This impression hasn’t changed one bit, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

My experience at Northwood has been a great one. I made so many new friends and met so many cool people from all over the world. If I had to pick a favorite memory, I think it’d be the road trips with the JRT boys. There isn’t much I didn’t like about Northwood. I did always want more free time, but I knew that was something I’d have to give up if I wanted to play hockey. And I was perfectly okay with that.

I’ll miss all the friendships I made at Northwood. I can’t imagine not seeing my buddies every day, but I know those friendships will last a long long time.

In the near future, I’ll be playing a year of Juniors for the Jersey Hitmen NCDC team.

– As told to Hadley Swedlund ‘20

Humans of Northwood: Aimee Headland ‘20 

Until the age of 7, I had a bowl haircut.

I’m from Nottingham, England. I learned about Northwood because my brother graduated from this school in 2016. Hearing all his stories about the memories he had here, I knew Northwood would be a fit for me even before I went to Lake Placid.

My first impression of Northwood has definitely not changed. It’s an unbelievable campus in an amazing location. I can’t imagine spending my high school years anywhere else. Northwood quickly became a home away from home and a family.

Northwood has been life-changing and insane. I had the chance to experience things not many people get to. It’s been unforgettable that I got to live and do everything with my best friends and teammates. I have created unbreakable bonds with people from all over the world. This school has given me the opportunity to grow my game both on and off the ice. It’s also helped me grow as a person. Now I’m ready for my next steps.

I will remember my three years at Northwood. It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory I had at Northwood, but I’d say hockey seasons were one of my favorites. I got to spend all day, every day with my team. I practiced, played games, took road trips, and spent my free time with my team. This past season was definitely the best one. My team and I went through all the ups and downs together. Another favorite part was that I got to be a boarding student. My friends and teachers quickly became family to me. There isn’t really anything I dislike about Northwood. But I can say that the cold and snow are always great to start with, but when they drag on, I don’t like them.

I’m going to miss pretty much everything about Northwood, even the little things like eating with my friends. I’m going to miss the hockey seasons I’ve had with the girls, Coach Gilly, and Coach Getz-Riffle. I’ll miss the tight-knit family.

As of right now, I’m not certain where I’ll be attending University. But I know that I’ll be playing college hockey.

– As told to Hadley Swedlund ‘20

Get to Know Ms. Jill Walker

According to the blurb on Northwood’s web site, Ms. Jill Walker…

…Northwood’s Dean of Faculty and an instructor in the math and science department, has been at Northwood School since 2004. Prior to arriving at Northwood, she taught at the University of South Carolina and at a private all-girls school in Rochester, N.Y.  Mrs. Walker earned her B.A. in Biology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and her M.S. in Biology at the University of South Carolina. Her teaching duties include biology, human biology and AP Biology. She is married to Jim, a managing editor at a small publishing company, and they live with their dog Roscoe in Lake Placid.

Staff writer Hadley Swedlund ‘20 interviewed Ms. Walker to get to know her better. Here is her report.


Hadley Swedlund ‘20: When you first got here, what was your first impression of Northwood?

Ms. Jill Walker: I had been teaching at the public school in town for a year. During that time, I taught three students whose parents worked at Northwood. At the end of the year, a job opened up at Northwood and the parents got in touch with me to see if I wanted to take it. That was 15 years ago. When I first got to school, I thought the campus was beautiful. I loved the old buildings and the open space. I was big into outdoor sports like rock climbing at that time, so I worked with the students doing non-traditional sports like rock climbing, cross country skiing, water sports, recreational sports, etc. There was a pretty big group of day students who took part in these activities, so it was a lot of fun. Having taught Regents Biology for five years, I was also excited about the flexibility of the curriculum.


How has your experience at Northwood been? 

It has been great. I love what I teach and I love the people I work with. I have never had a better and more supportive group of colleagues. I look forward to seeing my students every day. It is the interactions with students and colleagues that make the place special.


How has Northwood changed since you got here for the first time?

The make-up of the student body is one of the biggest changes I have seen. I am very excited about the increase in diversity that has happened over the last couple of years. Having students from so many different countries and cultures has made the place so much more interesting and exciting.

The facilities have also improved a good bit – the addition of the academic buildings a few years ago, the opening of the Hub, the [indoor] turf field, etc. have all added to the experience and allowed us more space and equipment to improve our academic and co-curricular offerings. I am such a science geek — I absolutely love what we are doing with courses like robotics and winter Olympic physics. I have attended robotics competitions almost every year – it is one of the highlights of the year for me.


Where did your passion for science come from?

I had fantastic science and math teachers in high school. I actually went to college to be a math teacher, but fell in love with the biology program and switched during my Junior year. Teachers who are excited about what they teach can really make a big impression on their students, so I try to do that in my classes. My philosophy of teaching is to get my students excited about learning biology and math. They might not remember the details of any particular topic, but if they have fun and find the content interesting, they will be more likely to pay attention to what is happening in the world around them as they get older. My goal for them is to hear something or read something outside of class and want to learn more about it on their own. If they do this, I have been successful.

Mr. Weaver’s Thirty Years with the Loppet Race 


Mr. Weaver out for a ski with friends in 2018 (Photo: Peter Fish).

Math and science teacher Mr. Tim Weaver, whom students call Weaves, has competed in the Lake Placid Loppet since 1990. The Loppet is a cross country skiing marathon in which competitors use skate skis or classic cross country skis and ski on trails with lots of ups and downs. The race has two distances, 25 km and 50 km.

Weaver usually skis the 25 km distance, but he has competed in the 50 km race three times in the 1990s. “Whenever I race, my goal is to be in the top five in my age category. There are always lots of fast endurance athletes in this race, so it’s a difficult challenge,” said Mr. Weaver. He has been pretty happy with his placements in past races. In the 25 km races, he typically takes an hour and 45 minutes. He cherishes the memories he made, especially when a few Northwood students competed in the Loppet together several years back.

This year, Mr. Weaver was unable to participate in the Lake Placid Loppet and Nordic Festival, scheduled for March 14, because it was canceled due to Mt. Van Hoevenberg’s poor trail conditions and expected weather forecast. Although disappointed, Mr. Weaver is excited to compete in a marathon in Colorado this summer and in the 2021 Lake Placid Loppet.

Drama Club’s Next Play Focuses on Collaboration and Community

seedfolksDuring school meeting on November 11, Ms. Noël Carmichael, Drama Program Director, announced the timeline for the next play. Based on the novel Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, the play will focus on how diverse characters come together to transform a bleak empty lot into a vibrant community garden. This resonates with Northwood’s theme for this year: community.

Auditions will take place on November 18 and 19, call-backs on November 20, and the show will be performed at Lake Placid Center for the Arts on February 11 and 12. As many as 23 to 75 roles are available in the show, and opportunities for backstage work, such as lighting, props, and costumes, are abundant. For those involved in other extra-curricular activities but would like to participate in the play, specific schedules will be created so that they will only need to attend rehearsals when needed. What is more unique about this show is that it will be a co-production with North Country School, Lake Placid Middle/High School, and homeschoolers around the area.

Click here for a copy of the slides Ms. Carmichael used in her presentation. Stay tuned for our next play, and good luck to everyone auditioning!


School Set to Start Second of Four Academic Schedules this Year

Northwood already has three separate academic schedules this year: one each for fall, winter, and spring. As if these weren’t enough, we are about to add another one.


The first of two winter schedules — to be in effect after Thanksgiving and before the Innovation Hub opens — has afternoon classes and 5 minutes of passing time between classes.

Initially, the construction of Northwood on Main, or the Innovation Hub, had been expected to be finished by Thanksgiving Break, at the beginning of the second trimester. However, the plan has recently changed: unforeseen construction delays mean the Main Street location will not open until January. Thus, Northwood has created a fourth schedule to allow students to use their school days more efficiently.

The new schedule will be similar to the original winter schedule in that classes will remain 55 minutes and begin post-lunch after extracurricular activities in the morning. Classes on Mondays will begin at 8:00 AM, just like in the current fall schedule. Fridays will be squished days, as usual, but this year, with 40-minute classes rather than 35-minute classes like last year. The biggest difference between the new and original schedules is the passing period. Taking into account the time to transport students to and from the Hub, the original schedule includes 15-minute passing periods in between classes. In the new schedule, as in the fall schedule, students will have five minutes to get to their next classes.

In January, once the Innovation Hub is up and running, we will switch to the winter schedule that was originally planned for after Thanksgiving Break.

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