Humans at Northwood: Abigail Sinclair ’23

“My family consists of my mom, dad, and two older brothers, ages 26 and 21. Before attending Northwood, I attended a private day school on Long Island.

“I enjoy challenging myself academically, and my favorite classes at Northwood are advanced STEM and advanced humanities, which are research-based. Additionally, I love solving puzzles and believe that challenging my brain is the best way to become the best version of myself, even if some people call me a nerd. When it comes to music, Burna Boy, PartyNextDoor, and SZA are my top three artists.

“My ethnic background is diverse, with my heritage being half Jamaican, a quarter Chinese, and a quarter African American. Overall, I’m excited to be a part of the Northwood community and can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

As told to AJ Etumnu, Jr. ’25. Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge.

Meet the Five New Students Who Started in the Second Semester 

Northwood School welcomed five new students for the second semester, including three ninth graders, one junior, and one senior. The Mirror had the opportunity to interview each of these students to get to know them better and share their stories. 

Ivan Favreau ’25 (Photo Provided).

First, we have Ivan Favreau, a local North Country resident from Tupper Lake who enjoys fishing. A ninth grader, Ivan has two dogs at home, and he shared that he is enjoying his time at Northwood, even though it’s been a bit harder than he anticipated. Nonetheless, he finds the community to be welcoming. 

Kenneth Guchinskiy ’26 (Photo provided).

The second ninth grader is Kenneth Guchinskiy, also known as Kenny. He is from Goshen, New York. He came to Northwood to join the freestyle ski team and spends his free time skating and skiing with friends. Kenny has a younger brother and is adjusting well to life at Northwood. 

Jacob Slagel ’26 (Photo provided).

Jacob Slagel, the final ninth grader, is originally from Seattle, Washington. A member of the Varsity Hockey team, he has a passion for hockey, especially playing goaltender. Jacob is drawn to this position as it’s the backbone of the team, and he enjoys the pressure that comes with it. Despite the challenge, he strives for perfection and maintains a positive outlook on the game. 

Samantha McHale ’24 (Photo provided).

Northwood also welcomed Samantha McHale, a junior from suburban Chicago, Illinois, who is a figure skater. Samantha has an older sister, and she used to play hockey before pursuing figure skating. She hopes to help grow the figure skating program at Northwood. 

Jordan Shullenberger ’23 (Photo provided).

Finally, Jordan Shullenberger, a senior from Waterbury, Vermont, joined the Northwood soccer program and plans to spend a postgraduate year at Northwood. He has an older brother and appreciates the structure that Northwood provides. 

Northwood is excited to welcome these five new students, each bringing unique talents and passions to the school community. 

LEAP St. Lucia Offers Unique Experience

Northwood students recently embarked on a cultural trip to St. Lucia as part of their LEAP course. Five students and two teachers were part of the group that visited St. Lucia from January 18th to 26th. They were hosted by the Nelson family, whose two daughters, Chrissy and Amanda Nelson, are seniors at Northwood.

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LEAP is Northwood’s experiential learning and travel program. It stands for Learn, Engage, Apply, and Perform. Every student in grades 9-11 participates in a LEAP course.

Yosef Spear ’26 had a great time on the trip and found the St. Lucian culture very welcoming. “We arrived at around 6 pm, and the climate was warm, which was a welcome change from the Lake Placid weather. On the first day in St. Lucia, we went zip-lining, which was fun. The following days, we went jet skiing, tubing, and hiked Gros Piton, which I believe was three miles up and three miles down. My favorite experience was the waterfall walk and the swim in the waterfall oasis.”

Jenny Tran ’25 had a different perspective on the trip. Instead of focusing on specific activities, she spoke about how the trip allowed her to engage with and learn about other students she wouldn’t normally interact with in her day-to-day environment. At the same time, she was able to connect with the local people of the Caribbean island and learn about their culture.

Ms. Odell, one of the teachers overseeing the LEAP course, had a unique experience. “Since we stayed with the Nelsons, we were able to experience St. Lucian hospitality firsthand. We also had an incredible life experience when we kayaked to a subsistence farmer’s residence. There was no electricity, and he survived off what he grew, so it was interesting to see his lifestyle,” Odell said.

Overall, the trip to St. Lucia allowed Northwood students to immerse themselves in a new culture, connect with people they wouldn’t normally interact with, and experience new adventures.

Humans of Northwood: Rafael Pereira Borlido ‘23 

“My name Is Rafael Pereira Borlido, but people call me Rafa. I am from Brazil. I joined Northwood in September of 2021 in my Junior year. My experience at Northwood has been very fun. I have gotten to know many like-minded people and people of different cultures. A benefit of this is that my English has improved significantly. I came to Northwood for the excellent Soccer program and the academics. It’s just something that you cannot find in Brazil, which is why Northwood is so special to me. In Brazil, I have a sister who is two years younger than me, and I hold her to my heart dearly. A change from Brazil is living on my own and not being with family as I was very close with them My favorite food is a good old American classic steak.”

As told to AJ Etumnu ’25. Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge.

Biology Class Trips Popular with Students

Biology class witnessing Eutrophication in a pond (photo: AJ Etumnu ’25)

Northwood has many academic classes taught by a diverse and qualified range of teachers. Biology is one of the classes taught at Northwood. Faculty member Marcy Fagan teaches it. The biology class has an exciting form of teaching with a mix of inside and outside education. The Mirror spoke to Ms. Fagan about her teaching style, and she said she believes students learn better when they can see what they are writing in their notes and reading in their textbooks so that the knowledge can be remembered.

In the fall, the biology class took two trips outside of school, incorporating facts from the class. The trips included visiting a pond near the Lake Placid golf course to see eutrophication firsthand. Eutrophication is when a body of water becomes enriched with nitrogen and phosphorus. The class also learned that the golf course uses untreated sewage water to water the grass, which is good because it’s sustainable.

This HAB warning was placed at Mirror Lake shortly after a biology class field trip (photo: AJ Etumnu ’25).

The other noteworthy fall trip was a blockbuster impromptu trip to Mirror Lake to witness the discovery of a Harmful Algal Bloom, which was also studied in class.

“ I enjoy Ms. Fagan’s trips a lot,” James Martin ’26 said. “They are very educational as they help us learn the unit for the tests. My favorite part was when I saw the scientist test the lake. It made me feel like I was doing meaningful actions at an urgent time for some people.”

Hamish Riddell ’26 also appreciates the field trips. “ I’ve enjoyed the biology trips a lot. I think they enhance the learning of the class. I think there is a lot more interaction and question-asking. I love this class and hope it continues teaching us this way.”

Activities Add Fun to Weekends

A sheep at the apple orchard (photo provided).

Northwood weekend activities are a student-wide favorite. Every weekend, students have a variety of outings, activities, and trips available for their amusement. These activities give opportunities to students not occupied with a sport or other commitment to do a fun activity.

Ms. Carrie Donatello takes the lead in organizing weekend activities. She recently explained how the offering of weekend activities is created. “There is an activities committee that throws out ideas for weekends. Then Mrs. Riffle and I look around the area to see if there are any fun events happening that might be of interest,” Donatello said. She says they are mindful of which sports teams are away. “We also take into account how many students are on campus for the weekend and what the weather looks like. I pull a schedule together and pass it along to the duty team leaders to see if anyone on duty has a special idea,” she added. This type of in-depth planning allows Northwood students to enjoy activities like paintball, shopping trips, and apple picking.

Students appreciate weekend activities. Jenny Tran’25 says she enjoyed apple picking and shopping trip and also the almost weekly fire pits on Northwood’s property. She appreciates that there are a lot of options that she can choose from. Luca Campagnani ‘23 said he enjoyed going paintballing with his friends.

Students interested in helping plan weekend activities are encouraged to send a message to Ms. Donatello.

Student Entrepreneurs Meet Demand with Hair Businesses

Lohkoah Payne ‘24 (center) gives a haircut to Noah Leddel ’23 as Sachiel Ming ’24 looks on (Photo provided).

Northwood has a very entrepreneurial atmosphere, with students creating businesses to solve problems many face. One problem students have is finding a place to get their hair cut or styled. This is especially challenging for minority students who struggle to find suitable places to have their hair worked on in Lake Placid.
Luckily, two students are helping the community. Lohkoah Payne ‘24 is building a small barbering business, and Amanda Iva-Nelson ‘23 has become the hairstylist of choice for many Black students.

“I started cutting hair over the summer, but my craft really started to bloom this school year,” Paye said. “I started cutting to save money; then it turned into a way to help my peers and friends and strengthen the community bond in Northwood. Due to the location of Northwood, my business has attracted a lot of people who could not find a place to get their hair managed.”

Nelson also wanted to help her community. “I started when a student asked me to do their hair, and I thought, ‘Why not?’ So I did it, and the student loved their hair. They told other people, and more people came. This was when I realized that I could make a business out of it.”

Paye’s and Nelson’s services fill a void in the larger Lake Placid community. “Another reason [for my business] is there are not many people of color in Lake Placid, so I thought about doing this business to help myself earn money but also to help the wider community,” Nelson added.

“When working on a customer, I use my own products and combs, allowing the customer not to worry,” Nelson said. “I usually charge $15-$20, depending on the person and what they want.”

Jace Donawa ’25 is one of Paye’s satisfied customers. “Koah cut people’s hair for free, which I am so grateful for. He just started cutting this year, but I can already see the improvement in each cut. Personally, I think Koah cuts hair to a good standard. I will definitely go again.”

Year’s First Formal Dinner Features Line Dancing [Photos]

The first formal dinner of the school year was scheduled for September, but a small COVID outbreak led to that being postponed, so on Tuesday, October 18, the very first formal dinner of the year took place. In the hour before dinner started, the halls of Northwood were bustling with students showering and changing into their formal attire. Some boys roamed the halls panicking about not knowing how to tie a tie or where their shoes or pants were. 

At 6:00 p.m., formal dinner officially started with students and faculty finding their assigned seats. Mr. John Spear explained the formal dinner tradition and how the dinner was going to go. Mr. Stephen Reed then gave a wonderful blessing on the theme of gratitude. Executive Chef Adam Fischer then explained the menu which included: 

  • Margarita Chicken and Orzo 
  • Slow Roasted Grass Fed Beef Brisket with Mushroom Demi-Glace 
  • Cioppino: Italian Seafood Stew 
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce 
  • Garlic Roasted Red Potatoes 
  • Roasted Root Vegetable Salad 
  • Asparagus 
  • Garden Salad 
  • Fresh Baked Bread 
  • Pumpkin Crisp  

One by one, each table made its way up to get food. The beef brisket was highly acclaimed by students and faculty alike. The dining room was full of chatter with students interacting with new people.  

Mitchell Baker ‘25 enjoyed the dinner. The food was good. It’s pretty good meeting new people and I am looking forward to the line dancing.”  

The dinner ended, and a brief intermission occurred where students took photos with their friends and informal team photos.  

A fun program of line dancing, led by Ms. Mandi Maiore, the director of Northwood’s dance program, ended the festivities. The students and faculty danced to multiple music genres including, Country, Hip-Hop, and Pop, with the Husky also making an appearance

Quin Roth ’25 was also there, and he said, “it was pretty awkward at first, but it was also very fun.”

Sounds like high school. The next formal dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, November 16 with a Thanksgiving theme.

Humans of Northwood: Iva -Amanda Nelson ’23

“You can just call me Amanda. I am from the Caribbean island of St Lucia. I came to Northwood to expand my academic opportunities and be more prepared for college in a way that the education system didn’t provide. I was introduced to Northwood by a community-based organization called Inspiring Young Minds, which helped me apply to prep schools.

“I would say some of my favorite memories of Northwood would be when I learned how to ice-skate on Cascade Lake in November 2019 and when I did LEAP and visited my home island (St Lucia) with a bunch of my friends this last school year.

“My favorite subject ever would be “The Voice of Toni Morrison.” because it allowed me to be fully engaged in the classroom. Additionally, it was a very interactive class that made me learn in abstract ways and forced me to learn different sophisticated views on different aspects of Black Americans.

“I do Crew and Dance as extracurriculars, but I would have to say that Dance is my favorite. I just really enjoy moving my body around. It is an expression of myself and allows me to physically show my thoughts. Another of my favorite hobbies would be talking to Mr. Runyon.”

As told to A.J. Etumnu ’25. Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge.

Humans of Northwood: Mr. Simon Shergold

I am from the United Kingdom, and I originally grew up in South London. I moved to Lake Placid last August in 2021. My degree is in History. I’ve got a Bachelor of Arts honor in History with a slant to 20th century modern history. I teach U.S History and A.P History and I am also one of the soccer coaches. I moved to Lake Placid for more family reasons as my wife is from Lake Placid originally. We have been coming here for 20 odd years, and we have a young family so this is a good time to move and build a new life. My favorite activities would be hiking or skiing, although I am not a natural coming from London. My favorite food may well be pizza in Lake Placid, but I enjoy any Italian food and I miss curry a lot as well.

As told to AJ Etumnu ’25. Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge.

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