Many New Courses Offered 

Students started this school year with sixteen new course offerings. Some of the new classes replace courses that were eliminated, and a few new classes were designed by teachers. Every year Northwood alters the curriculum to accommodate students and teachers, and this year the school has the largest number of new course offerings in recent history.  

The school now offers apprenticeships, basically on-campus internship-like courses that give the student academic credit. Apprenticeships happen asynchronously outside the normal academic schedule. In one apprenticeship, dancers have the opportunity to work as dance instructors for young children in the local area. Two other apprenticeships include editor positions for The Mirror, the school’s newspaper, and Epitome, the school’s yearbook.  

A relatively new program at Northwood, introduced in 2020, is the English short courses. Juniors and seniors have the option to take short courses, which means every semester they are taking a different type of English that is based on certain themes. Two popular recurring short courses are “Shakespeare” and “Word to Essay.” This year, new short courses include “Voices of Environmental Justice in Literature” and “Gender and Representation in Literature,” which are both created and taught by Ms. Elliotte Lee made to teach and speak to students about real-world situations in literature. Other new short course titles include “Chronicles of Imperial Delusion: A Novel, a War Memoir, and a Hollywood Blockbuster” created and taught by Mr. Howard Runyon.  

More recently most independent schools around the country have been decreasing the number of APs in the school’s curriculum. This year Mr. John Spear decided to replace “AP Psychology,” a course he has taught at Northwood for over ten years, with “Psychology of Performance,” which introduces students to psychology through a thorough investigation into the way humans achieve optimal performance.  

“AP Environmental Science,” formerly taught by Ms. Kelly Carter, has been replaced by “Adirondack Sciences,” which was created by Ms. Marcy Fagan and Ms. Kelly Carter. The course is a hands-on study of the Adirondacks, exploring topics in geology, environmental science, ecology, biology, and life science.  

Three new offerings introduced and taught by Mr. Ben LeBlanc are “Principles of Engineering,” “Applied Physics,” and “Data Science.” The latter is a quantitative course that combines math and science.  

Two new elective courses include Introduction to the “Financial Markets,” taught by Mr. Jeff Miller who before Northwood had a distinguished career on Wall Street and brings a vast knowledge of investing. “Game Theory,” taught by Mr. Bob Emery is a new math offering.  

Finally, Northwood is also offering a modern languages program in conjunction with UC Scout, operated by the University of California, to offer level 4 and Advanced Placement in French and Spanish.  

Humans of Northwood: Finley Donahue ‘23

“I enjoy rock climbing and recreational skiing. Outside of school, I enjoy hiking, reading, hanging out with friends, and training (in the gym). I also participate in school groups such as Cheese Club, Sustainability Club, and Headmaster’s Council.

“I chose Northwood because of the better opportunities the school offers, which has proven to be true. My favorite things about the school are how nice and helpful the faculty are. The number of coco opportunities and the chance to meet all sorts of new people.

“Before I graduate from Northwood, I hope to finally attend a hockey game.

“Finally, a piece of advice I would have to offer rising seniors is to get the best grades you can. Senior year is important, but also make sure you keep a good lifelong friend group.”

As told to Maisie Crane ’23. Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge.

A Class Without a Classroom Earns Credit in 48-Hours

Mr. Bobby O’Connor (left) with the students who took Northwood’s first 48-hour course (photo provided).

Northwood School now offers a unique educational experience that is unlike other classes in that it does not involve a classroom. The new 48-hour course was designed by Mr. Bobby O’Connor, the director of the Northwood Outing Club (NOC) in which students have an intense outdoor learning experience over two days. The idea came from Ms. Carmicheal and Bobby O’Connor. The course was made to expose more people to the outdoors and the Adirondack landscape that surrounds our school. Upon successfully completing the class, students receive a credit towards graduation and outstanding wilderness training.  

The basic structure of the course is that one weekend, on an early Saturday morning, a group of about 8 students backpack in the woods and set up camp for the night and hike the next day. The program is for anyone who wants to participate and so far, the school has run one 48-hour course and plans to run two more this year. Depending on the season. Here’s how the course is described in Northwood’s Course Catalog: 

The first trip that set out this year took place on October 15-16. The group hiked in through the South Meadow and camped at Marcy dam. The next morning, they set out and hiked Phelps Mountain, which is one of the Adirondack 46 high peaks with summits over 4,000 feet.  

The school and Mr. O’Connor also plan to offer a winter 48-hour course that will focus on back-country skiing and learning how to ski the slides. In the spring, O’Connor plans to bring a group of kids paddling/canoeing on the Saint Regis Lake.  

Lea Lambert ‘24 is a ski racer from Quebec who took the recent 48-hour course and had a super “great experience,” even though she says she “froze” at night. She said she had a lot of fun on the hike and the views were very beautiful.  

The following slide show contains images from the fall 2022 48-hour course. All photos are courtesy of NOC. 

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CARE Hopes to Continue Legacy of Service 

CARE is the longest-running active student club at Northwood. CARE is Northwood’s community service group. The club works on tying the outside community into Northwood. Often the group gathers small fundraisers within the school that benefits needy local organizations or causes. CARE also works to organize small fun events within the school. Some examples of CARE projects include food drives, candy grams, and Pink the Rink.  

I had the opportunity to interview longtime former CARE faculty advisor Mrs. Annie Edwards. She led the group for over 20 years. She helped oversee and create quite a few school-wide events organized for the students to participate in, and the money raised was given back to local and national charities. A few examples include Lee Denim Day, North Elba Christmas Fund, Fleece Blankets for Elders, Pink the Rink, Food Pantry, and Candy Grams.  

Lee Denim day is a day where students can donate a small amount of money to dress in jeans for the day, and the money goes to a cancer charity. Pink the Rink is an engaging hockey fundraiser where teams of about 4 students pay to compete in a 3-on-3 hockey tournament, which ended up raising about $4,000 dollars for breast cancer research. Candy Grams is more of a fun fundraiser where students can buy small candy bags or flowers to send to a friend around Halloween and Valentine’s Day, the proceeds for this don’t have distinct placement and each year go to different charities.  

The group is led by passionate hard-working high schoolers who work to engage the Northwood Community with a more global society. Past leaders have made great strides to improve the school community and this year Brian Brady ‘24 and I hope to carry on this legacy.  

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Headmaster’s Council Works to Improve School

The Headmaster’s Council is a group of about eleven returning students in the senior class. A unit selectively chosen by Head of School Mr. Michael Maher, in consultation with former students, administrators, and teachers, to ensure that it is a hardworking and diverse group of students working cohesively to make Northwood a more positive environment.  

The purpose of this group was introduced by Mr. Maher when he began in 2015, an idea he brought from previous schools he worked at. He thinks that to run a high functioning school it is important to have a group of students helping. They give honest insight into what is seen from their peers and their own perspectives, with the goal of helping the constant development of Northwood’s values.  

James Schneid ’23

Abby Sinclair ’23

The Mirror talked to a few people that work in this group and they had some interesting and different perspectives about the school, and how they believe it can be improved. Mr. Maher, the core leader of this council, uses this group to readjust the social dynamic of the school and to take charge of large responsibilities that we feel passionate about. Some current goals he mentioned that the group is working on: a safer environment where students can express themselves, reinforcing rules about a more respectful outlook of the beautiful building that we use, a smarter approach at the collision between athletics and academics, and some ways we can take better advantage of the surrounding areas, forests, and town our school is in.  

Abby Sinclair ’23, an independent from Long Island, said she wants a “good vibe” for the year. But she is also looking for a change in school dynamic and the way cohorts intermix. James Schneid ’23, a hockey player from Syracuse, is working to make a memorable senior year with his fellow classmates and is passionate about changing the meal plans at Northwood to better sustain athletes. It is important to make the Northwood community more inclusive and welcoming so that everyone is comfortable to be themselves. Hopefully, this strong group of seniors can work together to improve the already well-run institution that is Northwood School. 

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