Exit Interview: Mrs. Annie Edwards

This article is part of a series of interviews of departing faculty conducted by The Mirror staff.

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When did you start working at Northwood and how long have you been here for?
I began working at Northwood in the fall of 1983. I have taught at Northwood for 34 consecutive years and I am now teaching the children of some of my former students.

What different jobs have you done/ classes have you taught?
Due to the nature of boarding school life, I have had many roles at Northwood. I was hired immediately out of college as the Chair of the Language Department, and as a French teacher. I held both of those positions for the first 30 years. I also ran the girls’ dorm, directed the yearbook committee, advised the photography program, and organized the drama club for the first seven years. I taught an introduction to psychology course for 10 years. It was open to all ages and abilities and was a fun course to teach. I have worked extensively in the community service program and I have enjoyed educating my students about ways that they can give back to our community. I also served as the Academic Director for 25 years and have been working as the Associate Director of College Guidance and teaching junior level English for the past three years. I have spent much of my time with students in the outdoors; we have gone recreational skiing, hiking, camping in the High Peaks, and running on the trails around Cobble.

Why did you decide to leave your Northwood job?
My husband, Jeff Edwards, a former Northwood faculty member and administrator during his 26-year tenure, has accepted a promotion with an assignment transfer to Beijing, China. He is the General Manager of Operations for Ironman China working for Wanda Sports China. He moved to Beijing full time on May 1st. Jeff will be building and training a team that will develop the endurance sports market throughout China.

Do you have a best story/fondest memory/funniest happening that you could tell?
I remember one day during my first year of teaching. A senior faculty member asked me to go sit with a young boy and to see what was going on. We had a wonderful chat. He was happy, but he could not understand many of his teachers when they spoke in class. Their Boston accents were very strong and their words made no sense. He was exhausted by meal time and he preferred to sit alone with his thoughts. I sat with him for most of that first month, gradually inviting other students to join us. I spoke in both French and English, translating when necessary, easing him into a conversational comfort zone that would no longer include me. I am bilingual and I have taught for more than three decades. I still reach out to students and families the moment I recognize their French accents. I invite hesitant English speakers to join in the discussion by speaking in their native tongue. When Francophone parents see that I am here for their child and for their whole family, the transition to boarding school life is that much easier for all.

Did you have a favorite year? Favorite part, class or team?
The biggest highlight of the year for me is celebrating the college acceptances of the students I’ve worked with. I cherish the days and weeks when students pop into my classroom with bright smiles on their faces, bursting to tell me that they have been accepted to college! They have been waiting to tell me in person. We hug. We jump around. We feel silly and exuberant. We have grown close working together and the possibility of venturing off to a new academic experience is exhilarating!

What did your years here teach you?
Patience. Most things can be solved with a kind word, an open heart, and food. I try to be a good listener. I really enjoy the company of my students. I love to hear what they are doing, what they dream to achieve, and what makes them happy. I learn from my students as much as they learn from me.

What are your future plans? Where are you going?
I recently accepted a job offer at a school in Beijing, China. I will be the University Guidance Counselor at BCIS (Beijing City International School). I am sad to be leaving Northwood, but happy to be continuing to work with students in the university search process. I’m simply off on a new adventure, and my current Chinese students have assured me that they will visit me in Beijing, especially those who live nearby! I do not plan to say good bye to anyone at Northwood, but rather, see you soon!

Dear Mrs. Edwards:

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Alec Herman ’18 and Mrs. Edwards in the living room.

I remember the first day of school, when I walked into your classroom shaking like a leaf because I was unsure of what to expect. Starting a new school and moving away from my family was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but you were one of the reasons that I was able to adjust to a new school so quickly with your welcoming smile and enthusiastic energy. You were always willing to talk to me, ask about my day, and see how I am feeling everyday.

I must admit, I despised English class before I met you, but you changed my perspective. Thanks to you, my vocabulary has broadened and the SAT prep sessions in class were really helpful to me. I loved coming in for extra help sessions to review my vocab cards; you would always help me by giving me funny sentences to help me remember the words.

I remember when we watched the “character, setting, plot” rap song. When you first presented that to our class, I was thinking that maybe you were going insane, but that was just part of your awesome and humorous character.

I was honored to be taught by someone amazing like you, and I wish you the best of luck in China. I know  you will inspire others the way you inspired me. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us, and we will miss you deeply.

Alec H.
Class of ‘18

Six Students Tapped for Honor Society

Cum Laude

Cum Laude Society members at School Meeting on April 24, 2017.

Three seniors and three juniors, all girls, will be inducted into the Northwood School Cum Laude Society at a ceremony during commencement weekend. The news was announced at Monday’s school meeting. The Cum Laude Society is a worldwide honor society in which the top 10% of the junior and senior classes are inducted.

CL LogoThis year’s seniors to be inducted are Lexi Barile, Kimmy Ellis, and, Amanda Hinge. The juniors include Kylie Kroes, Hannah Kessel and Olivia Skriloff. Current members inducted last year include Palmer Feinberg, Drew Goldberg and Alex Akoundi, all seniors. Faculty members in the Cum Laude Society include chairperson Mrs. Edwards and members Mrs. Walker, Mr. Weaver, Mr. Loud, and Mr. Reed.

“I am very excited, and it was an honor to be inducted” remarked senior Amanda Hinge.

Winter Carnival Tradition Continues

Winter CarnivalThe 2017 Northwood School Winter Carnival was a big hit All four teams competed hard, and everyone had fun. Winter Carnival is a tradition at Northwood made up of many athletic, artistic, and intellectual contest that the student body takes part in. This year the four teams were Black, Gold, Red and Purple. Highlights from Winter carnival include broom-ball, dodge-ball, and the talent show.

The fun-filled day ended with a dance at smoke signals, a restaurant in Lake Placid, where more events took place: tug-of-war, a dance off, hula-hooping, and many minute-to-win-it games. At the end of the day the black team, thought to be the underdogs, walked away with the win. Runners up, in order, were Purple, Gold, and Red. Winter carnival remains a memorable day for all that participate.

Promposals at Northwood

A “Promposal” is an invitation to go to prom from one party to another. A classic high school gesture, the promposal can range from funny to romantic.

PromposalPromposals at Northwood have received mixed reviews. The general consensus among girls is that the type of promposal you would see at Northwood is “cute,” but in many other schools the gestures are grander. It is odd for a school one month before prom to have seen only a handful of promposals, but then again we are a very small school. Prom at Northwood is also an abnormal event, considering how all grades are allowed to go and students are transported to the venue on school buses.

Promposals at Northwood have included scavenger hunts, Flammin’ Hot Cheetos, and school meeting announcements.

Perspective: The Four Year Survivor

The term “four year survivor” is used at Northwood to describe anyone that has gone to our school from freshman year to graduation. At a school where the majority of the senior class enrolls for their junior year, this is a special occurrence. In my graduating class, there are ten four year survivors. Seniority, a type of social ranking that increases the longer you’ve been at Northwood, makes being a four year survivor much better.

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“Four-Year Survivors” from the class of 2016.

[Read more…]

Opinion: Policy on Student Center Unfair

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Sabryna Strack ’17

The student center is a place where students spend their free time. It is equipped with a ping-pong table, pool table, foosball table, and multiple televisions. A favored way to spend free time at Northwood is by gathering in the student center with friends and watching a movie. [Read more…]

Questions for…JP Montmarquette ’17

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Quebec native senior Jean-Philippe Montmarquette

 

Who would you pick to play yourself in a movie about your life?

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Bruce Willis (Photo: IMDB)

 

What are the last 3 web sites visited in your browser history?

Youtube, PCR, Gmail

 

What is your favorite viral video?

 

What is your celebrity crush?

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Megan Fox (Photo: IMDB)

 

What is your favorite smell?

Hockey Rink

 

What is your most treasured possession?

My family ring

 

Which talent would you most like to have?

Play an instrument

 

What is your favorite place at Northwood (or Lake Placid)?

Mirror Lake

 

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A rock

 

My Opinion: Update Dress Code or Require Uniforms

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Sabryna Strack ’17

For all four years that I have been at this school, confusion has surrounded dress code from both male and female points of view. The teachers believe that students defy dress code because we are teenagers who refuse to follow the rules, and the students believe that the teachers are too strict with their expectations of how students should dress. “If I look presentable and am not offending anyone with my attire, why should I have to wear a collared shirt?” remarked one student. [Read more…]

Katie Koestner Speaks About Sexual Assault, Consent

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Katie Koester spoke to the Northwood School community in early November

Sexual assault is a major topic of discussion at private boarding schools like Northwood School and on college campuses across the country. Why aren’t we talking about it at Northwood? Wednesday, November 2nd, Northwood School started the discussion by welcoming Katie Koestner as part of a speaker series.

Koestner came to talk about her personal experience with sexual assault. Koestner was on the cover of Time magazine at 18 because she spoke out about being sexually assaulted during her freshman year of college. She is the subject of an HBO film titled “No Visible Bruises: The Katie Koestner Story”, and she currently travels to high schools and colleges around the country to discuss her story and the issues surrounding it.

With the discussion of such a topic came the discovery of a recent article in the Boston Globe titled, “Private Schools, Painful Secrets,” investigated by the Globe’s legendary Spotlight team. The article vocalized the subject of sexual assault on private school campuses in  New England and told the stories of hundreds of private school students who were sexually abused by school staffers at sixty-seven New England prep schools.

Considering Koestner’s talk and the prevalence of sexual assault at New England preps one asks: “What is our school doing to make sure we don’t end up among the schools on the Globe’s list of bad actors?” Linda D’Arco, Northwood’s Dean of Faculty, noted that before school started all faculty and staff received training about sexual harassment. She also said that “there are a lot of things that we do and that become a part of our school culture [to prevent this]. One of those things is the setting of policies regarding sexual harassment and misconduct in the school handbook, which has been updated this fall.”

The School’s current sexual harassment policy is as follows:

Northwood School Policy of Sexual Harassment

The School strives to maintain a learning and working environment free of sexual harassment and intimidation. Sexual harassment of or by any board member, parent, administrator, faculty member, employee, student or guest is prohibited.

Sexual harassment can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • an unwanted physical advance or verbal approach of a sexual nature
  • subtle or overt pressure for sexual involvement
  • unwanted reference to one’s physical appearance, sexuality or to sexual activities
  • unwanted physical contact
  • the demand for sexual favors accompanied by implicit or explicit threats against one’s job security or success
  • any comments or actions which denigrate a person based upon gender
  • unsolicited sexual gestures or comments or the display of offensive, sexually  graphic materials; or where such conduct above interferes with a person’s performance or creates a “hostile, intimidating or offensive” work or  learning environment.

While Northwood hasn’t had high profile issues with sexual assault or harassment in the past, the School must be vigilant and provide students and staff with the necessary education to prevent sexual misconduct. Koestner’s presentation is a good first step but shouldn’t necessarily be the only one. The school seems to be doing a great job with sexual harassment training and education for the faculty, but in order to make sure sexual assault doesn’t become an issue among students is to discuss it with them and make sure that they know that sexual assault is never okay under any circumstances and they are taught about consent and proper way to give and receive it.

Outdoor Skating Rink on Campus

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“Faculty Brat” Yosef Spear tried out the ice on New Year’s Eve. (Photo: provided)

Northwood school is currently making an addition to the campus athletic facilities: an outdoor skating area or “hockey box”. It will be located on top of the outdoor tennis courts and will be for recreational use. The rink has been assembled with basic lumber around the perimeter and filled with water that will turn into ice when temperatures drop. The hockey box creates an opportunity to have fun during free time in the winter and is easily accessible to everyone.

The first outdoor skating rink at the school was built in 1939. Back then, the box was built next to the gymnasium and had dimensions of 100 by 215 feet “Olympic size.” It was used mainly for practices, along with extra ice during the Northwood Invitational Tournament. The current hockey box will have smaller dimensions of 107x 58 feet and will be open to everyone. The addition of floodlights will allow for the box to be used when it gets dark out.

As for the timeline, Head of maintenance Joey Burnah remarks “We need a solid week of cold weather for the ice to start to take shape. Only mother nature knows what our weather brings but I am hoping by the time holiday break is over the rink will be ready.”

An article about the 1939 Hockey box is featured below.

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