Humans of Northwood: Suhaib Hussein Ali ’22

I’m from Somaliland, it’s a country in East Africa. A lot of people confuse it as Somalia but the countries divided in 1991 as an independent state. Even though we come from similar backgrounds, ethnicity, language, religion, it’s a totally different country.

Where I’m from the culture and lifestyle are vastly different. In Somaliland, the popular traditions we have are pottery, music, wood carving, and architectural things. A lot of our arts and traditions are based on pre-Islamic mythology and Muslim beliefs.

Something that is completely different in Somaliland that may be a shock to many people is the number of siblings in a family, in our country the household is much large than the average US family. I have 9 siblings, and I am the youngest. Living in a house with 9 siblings can be a challenge sometimes as you can imagine, but it’s something normal where I’m from. And it was shocking for me when I came here because most people would have 1 or 2 siblings; sometimes not even any.

There has been a lot of cultural shocks coming here. For example, my first time experiencing snow. It wasn’t pleasant but I’ve gotten used to it. But moving here was great I was able to learn another language which is something I am really passionate about. Currently, I speak 4 languages, Arabic, English, Somali, and Hindi.

I moved to the United States and Northwood School so I could pursue my education and maximize my opportunities. I for sure miss my home, but experiencing a different culture and new lifestyle has been a good experience for me. I plan to attend college here in the US but I am excited to finally go see my family back in Somaliland during the summer.

As told to Jacob Shain ’22. Photo provided.

The Bucket List: 8 Things to do Before You Graduate

Our most cherished moments we’ll remember from Northwood won’t be the ones where we aced that test in math — well maybe if you are failing the class. It’ll be when we couldn’t stop laughing with our best friends to the point where our stomachs were hurting . Our friends and the community around us are what add meaning to your high school experience, and the moments we create within it are the ones that make it an unforgettable memory we’ll be thinking of long after we graduate.   

So, with the end of trimester 1 on the horizon, the time where some of us will have to say a heartbreaking goodbye to Northwood is slowly approaching. With that in mind, it’s not such a bad idea to create and fulfill a bucket list while you are still a Northwood Student. 

Here is a suggested list of things you should definitely do during your time at Northwood, ranging from climbing the 46 Adirondack peaks to having a favorite sandwich order at the local deli.  

#1 Attend all sporting events at least once  

Northwood is well known not only for its prestigious academics but also for its prominent athletic history. That being, attending a sports event will be an exciting experience as you’ll undergo the competitiveness atmosphere and school spirit. Attending a soccer match, hockey game, and skiing event is a must. 

“It was nice watching a my first ever hockey game, they moved so fast gliding across the ice, it was majestic,” said Suhaib Ali ’22. “Hopefully I can attend my first skiing event this winter as well,” he added. 

Fans take in the action at hockey games at the Olympic Center in recent years. (Photos: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

Next time you can catch a hockey game is November 13th where the Prep Boys take on South Kent Selects and the Girls Hockey team take on Hockey Training Institute. For the Boys Soccer, each team has three games this weekend on the new turf field providing numerous opportunities to see the huskies in action. 

#2 Take advantage of Northwood’s academic opportunities   

With all the academic opportunities Northwood offers, exploring your passions and interests is possible. For example, an independent study allows students to create their own curriculum and program for any area of discipline they desire. Furthermore, the STEM Research Program offers students interested in science a course to dive deep into a topic they are passionate about. 

“The STEM Research Program and Independent Study Program has allowed me to explore my interest outside of the traditional high school class.” Kara Wentzel ’22 stated.

Students in the 2021-22 Advanced STEM Research Class. (Photo: Ms. Jill Walker).

In addition, the numerous electives range from music, dance, innovation classes, to rock climbing. Take a class outside your comfort zone. If you are scared of heights take a rock climbing class. If you despise dancing because your body just can’t dance, let loose and join the dance class.  

#3 Get on Stage   

Conquer your fears! Before you leave Northwood you should definitely perform on stage. This could range from being just a simple school meeting announcement or performing a lovely song with Mr. Stewart in front of the school.  

Ashley Guevara ’24 performing at the Open Mic at the Innovation Hub on Main Street on October 1, 2021 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

“I was relatively afraid to be in front of the whole school preforming, but doing it with your friend makes it easier and exciting,” as said by Kendin Basden ’22 who was a cast member of the play “Anonymous” in 2019. 

#4 Hike High Peak   

From the summit of Hurricane Mountain on Mountain Day, September 21, 2021 (Photo: Ms. Vanessa Pillen).

Being surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains is a benefit the Northwood community has. There are 46 peaks that are up to 4,000 feet in elevation. With all those mountains, you should certainly set a goal to climb at least one. Furthermore, this comes along with having a favorite sandwich named after the 46 peaks at the famous Big Mountain Deli on Main Street, a Lake Placid favorite.   

#5 See an event at one of the Olympic Venues  

Lake Placid, also known as the Olympic Village, has hosted two Winter Olympics hence giving the town its nickname. As a Northwood student, you should watch an actual event at one of the Olympic venues. For example, world class competitions in speed skating, ski jumping, luge, bobsledding , cross country skiing, and alpine skiing. It is not your every ordinary school that has all these facilities nearby. In addition, Northwood has two Olympians working here, Mr. Biesemeyer (alpine skiing) and Mr. Roy (bobsledding).   

Lake Placid often hosts major events like this World Cup Luge competition (Photo:

#6 Hike Cobble  

Enjoying the view on Cobble (Photo: Northwood/Facebook)

Cobble Hill is right in Northwood’s backyard. It is about a mile hike from the school’s campus and is a well-known hike for many locals, tourists. For many children, Cobble is their first-ever hike. This beautiful trail takes you to a small peak with gorgeous views that overlook the village and the school’s campus. For Northwood students, some may get the opportunity to hike it as a class trip, if not, many students will make the climb themselves mostly to watch the sunset or sunrise. Cobble is a delightful hike you should experience. 


Now, for the more mischievous side of the list, here are a few of Northwood’s student traditions that everyone should experience.    

#7 Midnight Soccer Game   

Any soccer game is enjoyable; how about enjoying one in the middle of the night, with your friends, on the new turf, and just running around freely? One night a year, the Northwood students gather to play a game at midnight not only for the purpose of having fun but perhaps causing a little trouble. 

This tradition has waned during the pandemic, but it is due to make a comeback. An attempted interview occurred amongst a few students and they claimed “it was one of the best nights of the school year,” but, they would rather keep their identities anonymous.   

#8 Senior Prank   

The very words “senior prank” can stir up some pretty heavy-duty fears for teachers but some mischievous ideas for the students. Although it may cause some chaos, it is surely worth completing. This could be any creative idea you think of, but just make sure it’s not destructive.  

We are not advocating for students to get kicked out of school, but a good natured prank will definitely give you a good laugh and not cause too much trouble. 

*     *     *

With the opportunities Northwood and the community around us have to offer, you should try to cross all of these off your list. Make your experience at Northwood memorable. 

What other experiences should be added to the Northwood bucket list? Add your choices in a comment below.


Haunted Classroom Brings Frights to Campus 

Illustration: Facebook (Northwood School)

In the spirit of Halloween, the student activities committee, in collaboration with student leaders, came together and organized an event where they decorated and transformed the Uihlein classroom building into a “Haunted Classroom”, which was open to the Northwood community. The student leaders planned the event the week before Halloween to accommodate the teams who were away for the following week.

For the first 15 minutes, the attraction was less scary, thus many faculty brought their children to give this challenge a try, or maybe they were too scared to go in alone. For those who dared, the scarier journey was afterward. A walk through the Uihlein building was no longer a pleasant one.

The students who volunteered to scare visitors dressed up as “clowns, ghosts, and costumes they made themselves,” Amanda Nelson ‘21 said. Nelson took part in organizing and participated as a “scarer.” A couple of others wore masks from the movie “Friday the 13th,” she added. The building was decorated with caution tape, spiderwebs, skulls, strobe lights, and a lot of other Halloween decorations to “make the building look spooky.” They then hid throughout the building in spots that were cleverly planned out to get the loudest screams from those who entered. 

“Watching and hearing the screams and laughs of people running out the building was hilarious,” Nelson added. 

Overall, the Haunted Classroom was a success for not only the students who organized it but also for the Northwood community who thoroughly enjoyed the event. 

Humans of Northwood: Minh-Khoi “Kirk” NguyenLe ’23

One of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my experience outdoors is, “Use the bathroom when you can, even if you don’t have to go.”  

Out of all my hikes and climbs, I have this one really funny story from a backpacking trip with my friends. We were hiking above the tree line, ridge walking, and we get to the peak of the highest mountain in the area and there’s this massive observatory with clean bathrooms, food, and everything. After we were done there, we got ready to go back down to the campsite. Along the way back, about a mile away from the tree line, we saw a storm approaching us. 

My friend goes, “Oh no I got to go to the bathroom right now.” Like seriously? We were just at the observatory. When you’re below the tree line it’s relatively easy to do your business, you just dig a hole, do your business, then cover the hole. When you are above the tree line, oh my god, that’s a different story.

My friend found a solution that involved making a deposit into a little plastic bag. I don’t know if I should say the rest. 

As told to Jacob Shain ’22 (Photo: Provided)

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