Humans of Northwood: Charlie Purcell ‘21 

I’ve been skiing since before I could walk, but it wasn’t until I came to Northwood that I found a passion for freestyle. It’s such a unique sport because there is no “right” way to do it. Every trick can be done a dozen different ways, and it’s constant learning and progression that made me love the sport.  

I came to Northwood because I was new to the area and going into high school. I took a shot at getting in and made it. I’ve loved my time here at Northwood. Every year has been unique. Northwood has taught me a lot: time management, discipline, and how to write an essay fifteen minutes before its due.  

I’m super pumped for college. I committed to Saint Mike’s the other day, and I really can’t wait to go.  

Something I am really going to miss about Northwood is the living room. The freedom of socializing and seeing my friends in a comfortable place every day is what brings Northwood alive.  

Something no one knows about me is I hate sparkling water. I think seltzer sucks. 

– As told to Meg Cramer ‘21. Photo provided. 

Students on Edge Awaiting Test Results 

Staff at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard process test samples in Cambridge, MA. Northwood uses Broad for most of the school’s testing program. (Courtesy Scott Sassone for the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard)

A recent coronavirus outbreak at school has students on edge. They are eager to get yesterday’s allschool test results back this evening. Students hope the results will end the schoolwide quarantine, which began last Friday, after another all-school testing clinic revealed additional students and faculty were positive. To date, 21 students and two employees have tested positive since Sunday, May 25. 

Senior Rachel Hinkley says, “I think it’s especially nerveracking to find out these test results just for the fact girls hockey has been through this before and we know what happens and what it means if more people were to test positive,” noting the girls’ hockey team had an outbreak of COVID-19 over spring break. “We all want to have the best last few weeks of school,” Hinkley continued, especially the seniors who are about to graduate, and I think that’s what’s making most of us nervous: uncertainty about the details about prom, graduation, and all the events kids enjoy and want to experience. So, we’re all hoping these tests come back negative so we can go back to seeing our friends and continue in person classes.”  

“I definitely felt anxious after seeing how many cases we started to get,” said senior Jazzy ValenzuelaDuring the day I feel bored in my room, however outdoor time is rejuvenating from the fresh air and walks we take,” said Valenzuela. Right now, I am hopeful that we will be able to resume a normal school on Thursday. I continue to be hopeful that we will be able to have a graduation and prom, she said.  

Students are eager to learn about the test results later tonight and will be anxiously awaiting for a message from Mr. Spear or Mr. Maher. 

Humans of Northwood: Lars Kroes ‘21 

One of the biggest reasons I chose to attend Northwood was for the opportunities that both the hockey and school programs had to offer. I have been here for 3 years now, and I have created such an amazing group of friends. Northwood has so much to do outside of school and I feel I have taken advantage of that. Northwood has taught me to create good relationships with your teachers because those relationships can help you in the future with jobs or with meeting people. One of the things I love about the hockey program is how close we all are. The program creates such a strong bond between such a different group of guys. I am super excited to attend the University of Oregon. It has all the sports I love to play and watch. I will be able to ski and kitesurf on the weekends, which is hard to find in the world. I am also excited about the school part, but the location is amazing. I am going to miss the tight community we have; everyone knows everyone. I am also going to miss some of the teachers that have made my experience unforgettable.”  

As told to Meggan Cramer ’21 (Photo provided)

Students Vaccinated at Northwood

Jordan Harris ’21 received the Pfizer vaccine at the clinic at Northwood School on Thursday, April 15.

Just nine days after New York State opened the vaccine to high school students ages 16 and 17 and only three days after school opened following spring break, Northwood School hosted a coronavirus vaccination clinic on Thursday, April 15 for students, faculty, Northwood families.

The clinic is believed to be the first school-based clinic for high school students in the North Country and maybe all of New York State.  The indoor turf field was temporarily transformed into a vaccine clinic thirteen months after the school sent students home at the start of the pandemic.

The clinic, operated in conjunction with Adirondack Health, vaccinated every student currently at Northwood who wanted and is eligible for the vaccine.  Thirty-one students and twenty-six community members were vaccinated.  

Not every student who wanted to be vaccinated could get the shot this week. Two athletic teams are away this week traveling for games. The school is currently making arrangements to bring the late-returning students to a state-run clinic that uses the Pfizer vaccine. The closest such clinic are in Plattsburgh or Potsdam. 

Students getting vaccinated at Northwood this spring will be fully vaccinated before graduation and summer break, which everyone agrees is a great start to helping life at school return to “pre-pandemic normal”.   

Assistant Head for School Life Mr. John Spear announced the clinic in a letter to the community on Tuesday morning: 

Girls’ Hockey Goes 1-1-2 in Syracuse 

The Girls’ Hockey team at the Olympic Center. File photo.

Over the weekend of March 12-14, the Northwood Girls’ Hockey team met up in Syracuse NY, to play four games. Starting off the series of games on Friday, the girls played the Valley Eagles coming out with a 3-1 win. Goals scored by Kennedy Wilson ‘22, Iliana Smith ‘22, and Ashlyn McGrath ‘21.  

The next day, the girls had backtoback games at 5:30 and 8:45 pm. Starting off the day the girls had a tough 2-1 loss, with the lone goal scored by Meg Cramer ‘21. Right back at it after that, the girls played the 8th ranked, Philadelphia Jr. FlyersAfter a hard-fought game, they tied 2-2. Goals scored by Mackenzie Hull ‘21, and Brooke Kelly ‘23. Ending the weekend, the girls had their last game against the Jr. Flyers with a 5-2 loss. Goals scored by Kennedy Wilson ‘22, and Marina Alvarez ‘21.  

The following weekend the girls travel to Buffalo, NY, for a three-game series against Nichols School.  

Junior Hockey Team to be Founding Member of New League 

Recently, after more than a year in the making, six leading men’s preparatory hockey-playing institutions announced the establishment of the Prep Hockey Conference (PHC). This league is set to begin play in the 2021-2022 season. In addition to Northwood School, teams involved are Culver Academies (Culver, IN), Mount St. Charles Academy (Woonsocket, RI), Shattuck-St. Mary’s School (Faribault, MN), South Kent School (Kent, CT), and St. Andrew’s College (Aurora, Ontario Canada).  

This league compromises institutions rich in history and tradition with a strong commitment to academic and athletic excellence. All these teams are like-minded in their goals and aspirations for the PHC, focusing on improving the overall student-athlete experience while building rivalries through healthy competition.  

Chadd Cassidy, the head coach of Northwood’s Junior Team says, “Northwood is humbled and excited to be part of the Prep Hockey Conference. It provides an opportunity for our school and players to compete at the highest level against like-minded programs. We are looking forward to a strong partnership with all our league members.”  

The PHC is committed to providing the best possible hockey experience for its players, fans, and stakeholders. Brendan Merriman ‘21 of the boys hockey team said, “It’s really exciting and a lot of guys are looking forward to the opportunity to play in a highly competitive conference with some of the best teams in the country.” The group plans to establish itself as the premiere prep hockey league in North America by setting the highest standards for competitiveness and maintaining a level of the institutional investment that demonstrates a significant commitment to its hockey programs and facilities.  

One Year Ago Today: The Day That Everything Changed 

Students embraced and said their goodbyes on March 12, 2020 as school closed during the coronavirus pandemic. (File photo)

One year ago today, students were hurried into the auditorium after dinner for a hastily called school meeting that would change their lives

Earlier that day, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. There were only approximately 700 cases in the United States at the time, but public health experts were predicting the virus would spread exponentially in the coming weeks and months. Colleges and universities everywhere were sending students home, the NBA shut down that day, and there were widespread concerns that air travel would soon be suspended, which would have left dozens of international students stranded in Lake Placid. At that school meeting, Assistant Head of School Mr. John Spear told students that the school was sending them home and closing campus.   

In an email to the community sent while students were in the meeting, Head of School Mr. Mike Maher wrote, “I have consulted with Northwood School trustees and school leaders, as well as experts in public health, and colleagues at other boarding and college institutions. I have concluded, after careful analysis, that Northwood School will cease all on-campus programming and transition all instruction online as of today, March 11, 2020. Tomorrow we will prepare students for online learning and assist them with their travel arrangements. Student departures may begin as early as 2:00 pm.” 

It was the first time since World War II that school was shut down during the school year, and the students’ mood in the room ranged from celebration to shockA day earlier, student-athletes were disappointed when all athletic travel was canceled, effectively ending the Junior Hockey Team’s state championship run and canceling the soccer team’s trip to Las Vegas and the most important showcase of the season 

Northwood shared the news of the closure on social media on March 12, 2020.

The school hoped to re-open at the end of the school year, and Maher concluded his email on an optimistic note: We plan to resume on-campus instruction and other programming on Monday, April 27, which will leave four weeks for classes, AP exams, and other year-end activities, including commencement and LEAP. Of course, resuming on-campus programming at that time depends on the status of the coronavirus. We will monitor the situation closely and communicate regularly with everyone in the Northwood community.” Of course, school remained closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year with graduation canceled.  

Ella Fesette ‘22 was a sophomore at the time and recalled that day. A bunch of us were just hanging out in the living room and we heard a teacher walk by who mentioned something about leaving campus, and then that night we had a meeting about going home. I was so upset to leave because I had a feeling we weren’t coming back, and I was going to miss all my friends and especially springtime at NorthwoodAlso, not being able to say goodbye to the seniors I wouldn’t see again.”  

Senior at the time Madison Novotny ‘20 said, I was in the basement of Berg when I heard the news. It all happened so quickly. I was stressed.”  

Jazzy Valenzuela ‘21 was a junior on that day and recalled, “When we found out that we had to get sent home I was in the living room and then we were called into the auditorium for a meeting to talk about it. I was so confused and felt anxious because I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t realize a year later we’d still have corona, so I guess in the moment I was just expecting to go home for only two weeks.”  

Getting sent home was a shock to all the students. A lot of emotions were triggered from being stressed and anxious to being sad that the year with friends had to be cut short so unexpectedly. It’s safe to say that it was for sure a year they will never forget, no matter how badly some would like to.  

Seniors Earn New Privileges 

Image source: Northwood School

On Friday, senior privileges for the class of 2021 were announced at school meeting. This is exciting news for seniors because they have not been able to have any yet this year.  

Privileges include not having to check-in at 9:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, allowing their dorm room door to remain closed during study hall, and a favorite of seniors: being able to go to the Innovation Hub for study hall in town.   

Rachel Hinkley ‘20 says, I really like going to the Hub for study hall because it gives people the chance to have a quiet space to study and get away from the dorm while also being able to go into town safely for the night.” On Fridays and Sundays, seniors can buy takeout dinner and bring it to the Hub to enjoy a nice dinner with friends and then stay right there for study hall.  

In a message to the senior class, Mr. John Spear said: 

Local Establishments Open for Northwood Students 

This weekend the school was able to get the coffee shop Origin, to open exclusively for Northwood students, to provide them with an opportunity to leave campus, go into town, and grab coffee and pastries. This was a safe for students because the shop was closed to the public and safe for shop employees because of Northwood’s rigorous COVID testing and other protocolsThis was the first time students were able to go into town since they came back from winter break and it gave them a chance to get out and about.   

Students at Origin Coffee shop in Lake Placid (Photo: Facebook)

Senior Marina Alvarez said, “I really enjoyed being able to get off campus and get coffee with my friends. The coffee was really good, and I had a great time. I’m grateful that the school is creating off campus actives for us.”  

The school has also partnered with local restaurants to open for us to be able to go and enjoy a nice dinner with our friends.  

Weekend Activities Keep Students Busy and Happy

The new outdoor rink on Cobble Field (Photo: Northwood School)

The beginning-of-term quarantine is behind us and activities are again the focus of students’ weekends, especially when athletic teams couldn’t travel and play gamesAlthough students are not yet allowed to go into town or take weekend trips home, the school is offering many fun activities for the students to participate in.  

A new addition to our weekend activities is our own outdoor rink right in the front yard of school! Our staff has been working hard to open it for us and it is now ready for use. Hockey players are playing pick-up hockey and organizing 3-on-3 tournaments. Other students are learning to skate while enjoying fresh Adirondack air. 

Cobble Hill, located on campus right behind the main buildingis home to many activities for studentsRecently, students were given the chance to snowshoe or hike up the mountain. We could also go cross-country skiing, sledding, or have a fire at the Bartell Family Pavilion with our friends.  

Students have recently enjoyed sliding on the toboggan chute and skating on the Olympic speedskating oval, two classic Lake Placid events. A new event is the Northwood Takeover” of Origin Coffee, a new locally-owned coffee shop in the Village. 

Most Sundaysstudents go on Jitney runs to Hannaford and Marshall’s to restock on groceries and shop for clothes or accessories.  

The organizer of all weekend activities is Ms. Leigh Riffle who told the Mirror, “My goals when creating and putting together weekend activities is to give the students a rich residential experience. At Northwood,” Riffle observed, “it’s a unique set up because in normal times we can do many activities that aren’t readily available at other schools, she saidWe live in a literal playground where there are so many things students will do for the first time,” said RiffleI want the students to have fun and be able to look back on the times they had here as great memories with great friends.  

Riffle doesn’t do the planning alone. “Every week I work with a group of students that signed up to help plan weekend activities and we talk through what the student body wants for activities,” she saidObviously, because of the pandemic…many activities that have been offered in the past are unable to be done this year so that we can keep the community, safe such as taking trips to Burlingtonetc. With athletic restrictions as well and having everyone on campus, which I absolutely love, I do feel the pressure to make weekends and student life as great as I can for the student body and that’s definitely tough in these circumstances.”  

Although this year has given us many challenges and restrictions, Ms. Riffle has done a very good job at keeping us all entertained and having fun here on the weekends.  

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