Head of the Fish Marks the End of 2022 Crew Season

A double scull training on Mirror Lake (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge).

With the conclusion of the Head of the Fish regatta, the 2022 crew season has finished. Held in Saratoga Springs, NY, the regatta features a 2-mile head race course. Head racing means that participants do not race simultaneously, but rather are timed and ranked based on that metric instead. Northwood participated in 2 events, the Boys and Girls U17 Single (sculling). Participants included Gus Garvey ‘25, Hung Nguyen ‘25, and Sophia Sherman ‘25. Despite competing against some of the top scullers in the country, and facing obstacles such as water weed, everyone finished the race.

Coach Howard Runyon reflected on the team and the season. “It’s a young team with good potential. It’s a young team of capable people whom I hope to watch grow and develop into skillful racers.” He also praised the team’s camaraderie.  “Another thing I’d like to say is that we have good luck right now to have a group of people who are all good at getting along with others so that it’s a cohesive group. It’s easy to make collective effort happen.”

The crew team will return to activity in the spring of 2023.

Humans of Northwood: Anthony Sparo ‘23

“I am actually color blind – partial color blindness – mostly blues, purples, and violets. It’s pretty much 50/50; if you give me blue or purple, I will answer ‘… let’s go with purple.?’

“I’m from Bensalem, Pennsylvania, about 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I have a younger sister. I live in a very populated area, on a street where all the houses are connected. In my middle school days, I would always go out with the kids on the street, ride bikes, and then when it got dark, my dad would whistle, and we would come back in because you can hear it from anywhere on the street. It was so loud.

“My friend went here right before I came here and then left right after. His name was Andrew Centrella. He and I played [hockey] together our whole life; we were family friends. His dad liked how I played, so he reached out to Coach, and he ended up wanting me to come here. One thing I never told anyone: due to COVID, when I moved in last year, it was the first time I had ever stepped foot on campus.

“So far, I kind of like it [this year]. I take 3D Modeling, it’s probably my favorite class—so fun. Right now, I’m printing a Vince Lombardi trophy with the [Philadelphia] Eagles logo on it. I also take Adirondack Sciences, Data Science, and From Word to Essay. I am taking the next step in hockey, getting some college looks.

“I like fishing. I used to fish all the time when I was little, but I haven’t recently—a lot of traveling. Golf. I got into golf this spring; we played once a week with all my buddies.

“I want to play college hockey, go to a military academy, and pursue law after my service. It kind of happened recently. Over the summer, I visited campus, and I was like “Wow, I could see myself doing this.

“Hockey-wise, there’s a lot of new kids on the team, and at least by them, I want to be remembered as the guy that treated them like we’ve been friends forever: open arms, welcomed them in. I get what they went through last year, being homesick and all. For them, I wanted to be a bigger figure—a role model.”

As told to Hung Nguyen ’25. Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge.

Robotics Team 6300 Wins Rah Cha Cha Ruckus

Robotic team action in Rochester, NY, in the fall of 2022 (Photo: Piper Teig ’24)

On Friday, October 21st, Northwood Robotics journeyed to Rochester, NY, sending out Team 6300 and Team 9999 to compete in the Rah Cha Cha Ruckus, the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics preseason competition.

“We had a really good showing at the Rah Cha Cha Ruckus. 2 robots—both teams did reasonably well in the qualification rounds,” Mr. Martin, who leads the robotics program, described. “Both made it to the top 20 out of 36 teams. Both teams made the playoffs; that’s a big deal. Twelve teams had to go home. Team 6300: 6 wins in a row in the playoffs is hard to do. It took a lot of work to keep the robot running and driving amidst teamwork and chaos.”

Matches have a fixed format for the entire tournament. Teams play in groups of three, called an alliance, against another alliance. Matches begin with a 15-second autonomous period; no driver can be in play, and the teams’ programmers entirely code all motion. Teams then have two minutes to score. They score points by shooting balls into a low basket and receive additional points if they score on the high basket. They also get even more points by climbing on a set of bars, although most teams reserve this until the final 30 seconds of the match. As with any competitive sport, penalties also exist, in which severe violations can result in disqualification from the match.

After staying overnight in Rochester, the group woke up at 6 to get breakfast and come to the stadium. Both teams prepared for the six qualification games they played that day and potential playoff games. After a rough first half of the day, both teams ended up at 3-3, in the middle of the pack. The newly formed Team 9999 actually outperformed the main team and landed in the top 15.

In playoffs, the top eight teams build an alliance. A snake draft is performed, with the highest-ranked team getting the first and final pick of the draft. Team 9999 ended up being the first pick of the fourth-place team. As for Team 6300: they almost went undrafted. In a suspenseful manner, Team 6300 was finally chosen as the first-place alliance’s last pick of the draft.

Team 9999 had a strong showing but sadly lost in the semifinals. Team 6300, as mentioned before, went on a dominant run with the top alliance and won the tournament.

Brian Brady, who operated as the lead driver for Team 6300, remarked, “I thought it was a good success. It was nice to win the tournament for the first time in a while. I think it was good to get everyone some exposure and have them thinking about it in general.”

Mr. Martin shared his perspective on the event’s significance: “The preseason event gives us an idea of why we build robots the way we do. Why is all this important? You have to know all of the electronics and the mechanics. You have to do things with care, reliability, and some planning. Your robot has to last—it gets smashed around out there. The process of going to these competitions is a stimulating thing, and it shows you what it takes to do well.”

Racist Incident Leaves Community Unsettled

Junior Happi ’23 and Abigail Sinclair ’23 (Photo: Mr. John Spear).

Recently, two Northwood experienced an unsettling event in which they were treated with incivility. The students were heading to a faculty home on the edge of campus, and while they were on their way, a vehicle drove past them on Northwood Road, took a U-turn, came back, and a yelled racist slur. The New York State Police have an active investigation into the incident that includes the acquisition of nearby security camera footage in the hopes of identifying the perpetrators.

News of the incident, which occurred on October 1, was shared with the Northwood community on October 4 in the form of a message from Mr. Kelvin Martinez, Northwood’s Dean of Multicultural Affairs and Mr. John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life.

Martinez has been supporting the students, who are Black. “There’s still such a massive lack of awareness and empathy for people who are different, who look different, sound different,” Martinez said. “It shocked students, especially those from underrepresented communities, creating a sense of tension and insecurity,” Martinez added. “Because it happened right at our doorstep. You want to walk out of campus feeling that you belong to at least the immediate community, and for the otherwise to happen, it almost feels like a part of your humanity is being chipped away,” Martinez said.

“It was sad, but sadly not completely shocking.” That is Abby Sinclair’s perspective. Sinclair is the president of the Multicultural Students’ Club (MSC). “Based on some things that I’ve seen within our own community and the Lake Placid area, I would say that sometimes, being a person of color, I have seen weird looks and uncomfortable atmosphere when coming into town,” Sinclair said. She would have liked the school to talk about the incident more openly. “It’s kind of sad to see the lack of talking that has been done about it within our own classes and community—enough wasn’t done in trying to support people of color. This should have been an opportunity to bring the community closer together, but rather it’s done nothing, essentially,” she added.

“Unfortunately, it’s something that a lot of people have to deal with,” said Mr. Riffle, Northwood’s Director of Admissions. “It’s a very small percentage, I believe, of our makeup that are like that or are ignorant in that way. In my opinion, it affected those two individuals personally and had a community-wide effect because it brings to the forefront that it’s still out there and it’s sad,” Riffle added. Riffle expressed both concern and admiration for the students involved. “It’s sad that people have to deal with it. I just feel really bad for those kids, but at the same time, I know that they’re strong. If that had happened to me at their age, I don’t know if I would have handled it as well as they did.”

“I was shocked,” Junior Happi ‘23, Vice President of the MSC, said. “This was my first time hearing of a racial incident in Lake Placid since I’ve been here. If I was in that situation, I wouldn’t have known what to do, and more awareness towards what to do in that situation needs to be built in the community, at Northwood and Lake Placid. There needs to be more awareness about racial discrimination in Lake Placid, and it should be taken more seriously. These cases don’t often happen, but we need to be prepared for when it does,” he added.

NOC Provides Unique Experiences and Skills

Colton Cushman ‘25 climbing “Cure Cottage” at Mt. Baker (Photo: Alex Randall)

The Northwood Outing Club began about fifty years ago as a student hiking club and was quite popular for two decades before going dormant around 1980. It was re-launched as a co-curricular activity in 2021 and has ever since rapidly developed its palette of diverse activities and offerings. Led by Mr. Bobby O’Connor, with the occasional Mr. Emery and less frequent Don Mellor ‘71, students here develop unique skill sets and have experiences unlike any other.

Students will get to know a myriad of activities and skills. These activities include, but are not limited to, rock climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, backcountry skiing, a bit of hiking, mountain biking, and indoor gym climbing. Intertwined with these activities, students are armed with an arsenal of outdoor skills: belaying, rappelling (descending from the top of a cliff), outdoor survival (first aid, cooking, heat conservation, layering system, gear usage), Tyrolean traverse (going across a river using 2 ropes), tying knots, putting up a tent, and orienteering (mapping, using a compass, determining the direction of travel and location).

Mr. Emery finds the program beneficial. “I think NOC gives young men and women an opportunity to explore their boundaries out in the physical world, challenge themselves, and see what happens when they’re faced with adverse situations,” Emery said.

In the last few weeks, the NOC crew has done rock climbing on various walls, namely at Mt. Baker, Beer Walls, Spruce Hill Crag, and Chapel Pond. Furthermore, they have also done mountain biking, indoor climbing at the Climbing Center in Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and orienteering on Cobble.

Alex “Big Al” Randall ’25 is an avid rock climber and NOC member. “NOC has made me a more thoughtful person; it teaches me to be more careful with my decisions,” Randall said.

The Outing Club is currently offered as a Co-Curricular, a Friday class, and 48-hr weekend trips.

NOC is offering two week-long trips during school breaks this year. During the Thanksgiving break, students may join the group to rock climb at Red Rocks, Nevada. In addition, they will learn about the environment there and tour the area. The other trip is Kilimanjaro, which is during the FISU week in January. This trip requires extensive training and signups have already closed. Students who have signed up will travel to Tanzania to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro, sightsee the Uvalde gorge (site of the earliest human footprint), and top it off with a safari.

Humans of Northwood: Mr. Aaron Garvey

“I love opera. Now, I’m not a connoisseur; I don’t know much about it, but when I used to have the time and ability, I had a single-season ticket, and I would enjoy going to the opera by myself and take in the performances.

“I grew up in East Greenbush, NY, which is a relatively small town east of Albany. I went to local public schools there until my sophomore year of high school, at which point I went to Milton Academy, a boarding school outside of Boston. From there, I went on to Amherst College, graduated there with a bachelor’s degree in economics and American literature. Then, I started working on Wall Street. I was the first hired at a hedge fund. My main job was assistant coffee-getter when I started out. Over the course of 17 years at the fund, I ultimately became a Senior Portfolio Manager, member of the Investment Committee, and a partner in the fund itself. I left that business in 2013. I’ve been doing more entrepreneurial stuff, working in several different areas.

“I think my greatest career accomplishment was in recognizing the seeds for the financial crisis and being able to take advantage of what I saw coming and assisting my colleagues in avoiding catastrophic losses that inflicted others in their position.

“My favorite food is eggplant parmesan, or something in that neighborhood. I love fly fishing. It’s one of my primary hobbies. When I have free time, I tend to tie flies. I’ve got a little kit down here [under his desk] in case I happen to be monitoring a test or something so I can take a little time to work on it. I used to golf a lot, although I haven’t done that in a while. Finally, I like to be outdoors: hiking, biking, camping, all the things we get to do around here.

“After spending time with students here last year in the investing club, and after observing from a distance my son’s very positive experience here, I decided that it was time for a career change. I wanted to be a part of this community—I loved what I saw here.

“Honestly, I am most excited to have a new challenge, to be trying to do something completely new and different for me. Nothing I’ve done up until this point had prepared me for this in any way. I’ve had a very long career, and by the end of that career I was very good at what I did, and I’m still always learning. For me, it’s the challenge of being new and bad at something, and it’s been a while since I’ve been new and bad at something. And I’m embracing that.”

As told to Hung Nguyen ’25. Photo Mr. Michael Aldridge. 

“Banned Books Week” Draws Attention to Censorship

Original illustration by Julia Turner ’23.

Did you know that the Harry Potter series was banned? Banned Books Week is a global event around the end of September every year, originating in 1982. In fact, this past week was Banned Books Week (September 18th-24th). Its significance lies in the celebration of intellectual freedom and raising awareness on the effect of censorship, starting with books. The chosen theme for this year is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” 

Banned Books Week was first founded by activist Judith Krug, in 1982. The goal was to bring to light the censorship of books to United States citizens. This was following the Island Tree School District v. Pico case, which resulted in the Supreme Court ruling on June 25th, 1982, that school officials do not have the permission to ban books from libraries solely due to their content. 

 The cause for the challenge/ban of these books through the last four decades were often due to their nature of containing profanity, sexual explicitness, abuse, and gender diversity.  

The five most challenged books across the United States this year (in descending order), according to the American Library Association (ALA)’s Office for Intellectual Freedom are: Gender Queer, by Maia Kobabe; Lawn Boy, by Jonathan Evison; All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M. Johnson, Out of Darkness, by Ashley Hope Perez; and The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. 

Why is book banning and censorship important to Northwood? Banned Books Week raises awareness of censorship to the school, which has secluded itself as a private institution, according to Ms. Noel Carmichael, Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs. 

“We’re a little bit sheltered from this issue [of censorship], in a way, because, as an independent school we have a lot of freedom,” Carmichael said. “Every one of our English teachers and other courses gets to choose what they want to include in their courses that we vet internally, but we don’t have to respond to any external source for our reading material. So, we have a lot of freedom. But what that means is that we are ignorant of these issues. We can read whatever we want, but there are some people who can’t, and therefore, we have that problem of not knowing it’s an issue because it’s not an issue for us.” 

Back to the beloved Harry Potter books. According to the American Library Association, the popular children’s series, which has been made into wildly popular movies, are the most challenged books of this century. The most recent occurrence was in a Nashville Catholic school in 2019, according to The Tennessean newspaper.  

No School in January Because of the FISU Games. What is FISU? 

Students learned over the spring and summer that the 2022-23 school year would be different: the traditional December holiday break will continue almost through the end of January. This drastic change is due to the FISU Winter Games coming to Lake Placid. 

What is FISU? FISU stands for Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (International University Sports Federation). It is an organization hosting sporting and educational events for university students. FISU was founded in 1949 led by Dr. Paul Schleimer from Luxembourg. In total, FISU events include over 60 sports and students, between 17 and 25, from more than 150 countries. Biannually, FISU organizes summer and winter sporting competitions called the FISU World University Games in different cities. Lake Placid is extremely fortunate and will be hosting the Winter World University Games in January of 2023. 

The World University Games began far before the creation of FISU, with the first event taking place in Paris, 1923. The games were hosted every 2 years by the International Confederation of Students (ICS), founded in 1919 and led by Jean Petitjean. This would continue until 1939, when it was interrupted by the beginning of World War II. 

After the war, ICS, now the International Union of Students (IUS), wanted to host the games once again. However, conflict was raised as a result of the IUS wanting to use the World University Games to spread propaganda. This led to the splitting into FISU and IUS in 1949. By 1959, both FISU and the ICS agreed to participate in the Universiade in Turin, which featured 1,407 athletes from 43 countries, all students.  

As of 2021, FISU has hosted 30 summer and 29 winter Universiade events, with the highest registered students being 11,759 from 159 countries during the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia. 

Returning to the present, the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games will take place on the 12th of January until the 22nd. The last time FISU was hosted in North America was in 1993, in Buffalo. This will also be the first FISU Winter Games to take place in a city that has already hosted the event (Lake Placid, 1972). 

Twelve sports will be featured in this event: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle and freeski, ice hockey, nordic combined, short track speed skating, ski jumping, snowboard, and speed skating. 

Northwood School 2022-23, by the Numbers

Northwood as a school is always changing, and this year is no different. This article will go in-depth about this year’s Northwood student population and diversity. 

New students come to Northwood annually, keeping the community fresh and vibrant. Northwood enrolled 191 students this school year, 53 of which are day students, and 88 are new students. That is nearly half of the school who are new students. In addition, Northwood takes considerable pride in its student diversity. The student population takes roots locally and internationally from 21 different states in the U.S.A. and 24 different countries. 

For the school year of 2022-2023, Northwood students include 11 post-graduates, 63 seniors in the class of 2023, 59 juniors in the class of 2024, 48 sophomores in the class of 2025, and just 10 ninth graders in the class of 2026.  

Last year, the ninth-grade class had over 20 students, but the small size of the youngest class is no surprise to Mr. Gino Riffle, Director of Admissions. “The hardest market for prep school is ninth graders. Families think that their kids might be too young to send away. And there’s also faculty kids. I think last year we had three in the ninth grade, but this year we only have one. We had a large number of ninth graders apply, but ultimately, they either didn’t get accepted, or the ones that did get accepted felt that they don’t want to go away yet, so they are reapplying for tenth grade.” 

Students at Northwood have a variety of interests. 74 students compete on four hockey teams, 45 students compete on two soccer teams, and 25 students are ski racers. Beyond that, 17 students participate in the Northwood Outing Club, 10 students take part in dance, and nine are part of the crew team. In the minority but certainly not the least, Northwood is proud to have four Nordic skiers and three lugers. Furthermore, many students take a combination of activities, in addition to what was listed above, such as yearbook, sports manager, and music. 

Out of the 21 states that American students originate from, the 5 most common are: Connecticut and New Jersey, with five students each; six students from Pennsylvania; and eight students from Massachusetts. New York is home to 77 students, with more than two-thirds of them being day students. 

From the 23 international countries (excluding U.S.A.), the 3 most popular countries from the student body include: Canada (26 students), Hong Kong (SAR PRC) (6), and Viet Nam (5). Bermuda, Ecuador, and Russia are each home to three students. 

When asked about the student diversity this year and how it compares to last year, Mr. McCauley, director of international students, replied: “Overall, diversity across the whole school population is greater and bigger. We have a larger collection of students from Ecuador, three new students from Russia – we didn’t have any Russians last year. I think it shows greater diversity and it’s exciting. It’s probably the best [diversity] in Northern New York.” 

At Northwood, every year is a new year. Whether it is fresh faces, subjects, or co-curriculars, there is always something new for everyone, newcomers and returners alike. Students should go beyond their comfort zone and experience all that Northwood has to offer. 

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