Commentary: A Call For a Ceasefire!

Israeli protesters demonstrate outside the Israeli army’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, calling for a ceasefire in the war on Gaza, October 28, 2023. (Oren Ziv)

I’m sure everyone is following what’s happening in the Middle East right now, especially what’s happening between Palestine and Israel.

So, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to share with you my perspective as an Egyptian who was born and raised in that region.

First, some historical context: Egypt was attacked by Israel in 1967 and lost some territory in what’s known as “The 6-day War.” Later, in 1973, Egypt retaliated and won its land back.

Then, both countries decided that there had to be everlasting peace between Israel and Egypt, and they signed a peace treaty in 1979 brokered by the United States.

This is important for reasons I will explain later.

Now, back to the present day. On October 7th, a Palestinian militant group called Hamas attacked Israel, killing about 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostages.

There is no doubt that any sane person would condemn the killing and kidnapping of civilians. For me especially, as an Egyptian, we understand the evil that Hamas brings, as they crossed the borders during the Egyptian revolution in 2011 and attacked prisons in Egypt, releasing most of the terrorists that were being held there, who later became responsible for a lot of terrorism that took place in Sinai between 2011 till 2016.

So why do I condemn and actually hate Hamas, yet my commentary is titled, “A call for a ceasefire”?

Ever since what happened on October 7th, Israel has been retaliating on the city of Gaza, where the Israeli government says that most Hamas militants are. However, the following points are missed by the Israelis:

  • Most Hamas leaders are not in Gaza or on Palestinian land but rather living very comfortably in Qatar, Turkey, and Iran.
  • So far, Israel has killed more than 8,000 Palestinians in the bombing campaign; more than half of this number are children, but do you know how many Hamas members have been killed? Six. Yes, only six, because Hamas militants hide inside the Gaza tunnels during the bombings, leaving the innocent Palestinians to be killed.
  • Moreover, Israel has cut electricity, water, and fuel from Gaza and has been allowing only small amounts of aid from neighboring countries like Egypt and Jordan to hospitals and from the Red Crescent to reach Gaza, thus creating an impossible situation for more than 2 million in the sad city of Gaza.

So where will this leave the 250 hostages? Hamas has already claimed that 50 of them have been killed from the Israeli air strikes while the prime minister of Israel is now preparing for a land invasion of Gaza.

In conclusion, what Israel is doing now is inhumane for innocent Gaza civilians and is risking the lives of its own people who are held hostages.

Therefore, an immediate ceasefire is a must, something that almost all the countries in the United Nations have called for and was only opposed by the U.S. and a few other countries.

A cease-fire would put a hold on all the killing of innocent lives and would give Israel the chance to negotiate the release of the hostages that Hamas is holding.

What will happen next, only God knows, but I know that just like Egypt and Israel managed to sustain their peace now for over 40 years, a fair and just peace must be reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis for the sake of all of us.

That’s why I call for a ceasefire!

Introducing “Aussie Rules Football,” the Greatest Game on Earth

Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media, via Getty Images

Being from Melbourne, Australia, I feel that it is my duty to introduce you to the best football game on earth—not American football (NFL), not rugby, not soccer but Australian rules football (AFL). It is the best game on the planet! Colloquially known as “Aussie rules” or “footy” and professionally played only in Australia, Aussie rules is the No. 1 football code in most states of Australia (New South Wales and Queensland play Rugby). It is a winter contact sport played between two teams of 18 players on an oval field with an oval ball. The objective is to score more points than the other team. The goals consist of 4 vertical posts at each end of the ground. If you kick the ball between the middle posts, it’s a goal (worth 6 points) and if you hit a post or kick the ball between the central and outer posts it’s a behind (1 point). Players can kick or handball the footy but can be tackled from all directions by the opposing team. The game consists of four 20-minute quarters and is highly entertaining.

Aussie rules football has the highest attendance and viewership of all the sports in Australia and the Australian Football League (AFL) is the sport’s fully professional competition. Its origins trace back to 1858 as a game invented to keep cricketers fit during the off-season. The first Aussie rules match was played in 1858 between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College.

Photo of GMHBA Stadium in South Geelong, Australia from

The most popular team in the AFL is the Collingwood Magpies (Black and white stripes). Collingwood actually has an American player, Mason Cox from Texas on its team.

As kicking the ball (or “punting”) is a big part of the game there are currently ex-AFL players now playing in the in the NFL as punters. Michael Dickson plays for the Seattle Seahawks, Arryn Siposs for the Philadelphia Eagles and Mitch Wishnowsky plays for the San Francisco 49ers. The most successful AFL player in the NFL was Darren Bennett who played AFL professionally before moving to the NFL and signing with the San Diego Chargers. As a former Aussie rules player, and considerably larger than most specialist kickers in American football (6’5″/1.96 m, 235 lbs./106.5 kg), he did not shy away from physical contact on special teams. This willingness to hit, rare among kickers, was never more evident than when he knocked an opposing punt returner out cold in his rookie season. Bennett was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 2012.

Photo: an Australian Rules Football (

Aussie Rules is more than a sport Downunder. It’s an obsession and ingrained in the Victorian culture alongside Vegemite and good coffee. Media follow and discuss players’ form; people do footy tipping and play Supercoach (Fantasy teams) and discuss games in great detail. Grand Final day is even a public holiday in Victoria!

I grew up with a strong passion for Australian football and I strongly believe if Americans watched the game with an optimistic mindset, they would find it the best sport ever created. Unlike the NFL, players are on the field for all plays and can run up to 10 miles per game.  The game features numerous physical contests, spectacular catches (marks) and hard running, sprinting and possession chains to produce an entertaining, high scoring sporting match. Nothing beats being at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with 90,000 fans cheering for their teams. The atmosphere is electric.

Do yourself a favor and watch a match of AFL with an Aussie who can explain the rules. The season starts next month. Once you know what’s going on, you’ll love it!

Commentary: Garvey on Hamlin Injury

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is removed from Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati in an ambulance on Jan. 2 as his teammates kneel at the bottom left of the image. (Schetm via Wikimedia Commons)

Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, is in critical condition after collapsing during a game in Cincinnati. The 24-year-old suffered cardiac arrest after being hit, but medical personnel restored his heartbeat. The NFL postponed the game. Gus Garvey, The Mirror’s NFL reporter, has this commentary.

I’m going to make one thing very clear from the beginning here. Yes, this was a huge game with massive implications for the playoffs. Yes, it was competitive. But none of that matters anymore. No part of last night’s game matters, and that’s because the worst-case scenario played out on a football field last night.

In regards to the game, it has been postponed indefinitely. I don’t know when it will be played, if at all. I will write a recap this week for any of you wondering. It will be out today or tomorrow. None of that is relevant right now. The only thing that matters right now is Damar Hamlin.

With 6 minutes left in the first quarter, he was hit in the chest area while making a tackle on Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins. He got up from it and immediately collapsed to the ground, where he remained for over 40 minutes. Suffering cardiac arrest, it took a while for medical personnel to restore his heartbeat. He was loaded into an ambulance afterward and rushed to UC Medical, one of the best hospitals in the country.

At this point, no one cares about the game. The only thing football fans, and at this point, the country and perhaps the world, care about is if Damar Hamlin is okay. They’ve already attempted to show solidarity, too. During his time with the Bills, Hamlin has developed a tradition of holding toy drives for children in need. During the game, he had an active fundraiser out for the drive. His goal was to raise $2,500. The charity has raised over $3 million since he collapsed on the field. That’s heartwarming. In a sport where the fan bases are as large and hardcore, the fact that everyone immediately came together in solidarity for Hamlin is very inspiring.

What isn’t inspiring is the NFL’s response to this tragedy. In particular, the decisions made about the game resuming. Please explain, Roger Goodell: HOW ON EARTH DO YOU EXPECT TWO TEAMS WHO JUST WATCHED A BROTHER ALMOST DIE ON THE FIELD TO SUIT BACK UP AND START PLAYING IN FIVE MINUTES? Please explain how the league didn’t immediately cancel the game and left the players and fans in limbo for over an hour!

Last night proves again that the NFL doesn’t care about its players’ well-being. Sure, Mr. Goodell, you didn’t make the call to give the players just five minutes to recover. Sure, there’s a process for canceling a game. WHY IS THERE EVEN A PROCESS TO BEGIN WITH? The fact that it took both head coaches yelling at the refs – twice – about how both sides were physically and mentally unable to play football is damning to the mindset and culture of the Shield as a whole.

The NFL and Football as a sport received a massive black eye last night, and it may get even worse depending on what happens with how the conclusion of the game is handled and, more importantly, Hamlin’s recovery.

Football is a brutal game, and Hamlin experienced the worst-case scenario. My thoughts are with him and his family. They don’t deserve this. No one does.

Opinion: Climate Change Causing Extreme Flooding in Australia

Photograph taken as flood levels were rising in Brisbane, March 2022 (Photo: Jaana Dielenberg
via Twitter @Jaana_Dielen).

Seventeen people dead. Houses, buildings, schools, and parks have been indiscriminately destroyed by terrible floods in eastern Australia. As an Australian, I am pained knowing my country is suffering due to the terrible floods.  

Recently in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, there have been vigorous floods that are supposed to occur “once in 100 years.” Houses, buildings, schools, and parks have been destroyed by these terrible floods. These are the second “100-year floods” in the past 5 years.  

Residents of flood-prone regions in Australia are asking, “Is this the new normal?” I think it will become the “new normal”. Climate change is getting worse and worse every day, and we aren’t doing enough about it. Statistics prove these extreme weather events have been happening more frequently in recent decades. If it gets worse, it will become the new normal. 

Is climate change the issue? I feel as if it is. The Brisbane flooding is one of many natural disasters that have occurred recently. I spoke to Northwood’s Environmental Science teacher, Ms. Kelly Carter to ask if she thinks this will be the new normal and if this is a climate change-related disaster. 

“Yes, in ways this is the new normal, although what Australia is experiencing regarding extreme rainfall is due to a natural, cyclical, phenomena called La Nina that’s part of El Nino Southern Oscillation pattern,” carter said.  

Carter noted that most scientists now agree climate change is being caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels which add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, resulting in rising temperatures, melting glaciers and ice caps, sea level rise and overall changing weather patterns.  

Climate change “could be intensifying El Nino events and making these events happen more frequently,” Carter said. “Currently the globe is experiencing the effects of La Nina.”  

El Nino and La Nina are patterns of shifting winds and ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean between South America, Australia and SE Asia. “This pattern oscillates between El Nino and La Nina conditions every 3-7 years, bringing different weather patterns around the world, which is likely a major reason why Australia is experiencing record flooding,” Carter observed.  

Normally the trade winds blow from east to west, they reverse during an El Nino event and return to their normal direction during La Nina but with greater intensity. The stronger trade winds during La Nina events move warmer surface waters toward the coast of Australia giving them warmer and rainier conditions than the Americas.  

Carter sees climate change as a major cause of the extreme weather in Australia. “Overall, the average sea surface temperatures have risen 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1901 due to climate change, and warmer oceans will most certainly influence weather patterns and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation,” she said. 

I agree with Ms. Carter: climate change has been affecting the world severely. The world needs to wake up. If these new natural disasters become the “new normal,” humanity could become extinct. People need to have faith in science, there is scientific proof the floods in Australia are related to climate change. It is quite worrying knowing my country has been affected this badly, my attitude towards climate change has changed. This is a serious matter. 

Opinion: Australia Was Right to Deny Djokovic 


Djokovic with the 2011 Australian open trophy. (Photo: CC BY-SA 2.0

On January 9th, my home country and city started hosting the infamous Australian Open, the prestigious tournament that dates to 1905. Despite the optimistic Melbournians (City Where the tournament is hosted) who are enthusiastic about finally being out of a year of harsh lockdown, there has been major controversy over the reigning champion Novak Djokovic’s visa application. 

Djokovic, the Serbian tennis star currently ranked number one in the world, had his entry visa denied by the Australian government. He appealed, won the appeal and was allowed to enter but authorities then revoked his visa again and he was prohibited from entering the country and winning the tournament for a tenth time.  

A few of my mates from home who are of Serbian descent have posted photos on social media protesting Djokovic’s absence. I spoke to some of them, and they all seemed agitated about the decisions. I asked my friend Luka Jevtic what his thoughts were on the decision. “Extremely frustrated and unfair, we were going to go watch him play,” Jevtic said. I sympathized for my mates back home because this is such an important event for my city and not having the world’s best player here is a huge loss. He is such a huge role model to the people in Australia and it is devastating for many young athletes, like my little cousin who idolized Djokovic. I feel bad for tennis fans back home. 

After speaking to some people back home, I wasn’t sure whether my country was doing the right thing. As an Australian, I have concluded that my country did the right thing. Djokovic shouldn’t be at this year’s tournament because he is anti-vaccination and broke several covid rules during a critical time. He was spotted in public shortly after testing positive, which is extremely unethical and infuriating.  

Many people are saying, “he was recently positive, which makes him immune for the next three months. He should be allowed to play.” I understand their argument, but in this scenario it’s not about him being immune or not. It is about his attitude towards the virus and his behaviour. His past decisions were appalling, which makes the visa decision fair: he shouldn’t be playing in this tournament.  

Hopefully, Djokovic will learn his lesson and develop as a human and come back next year. On the bright side, Australia’s fan favourite Nick Kyrgios has more chance of winning now that Djokovic isn’t here.  

C’mon Australia!! 

Opinion: Women’s Month and the Problematic Circumstances That Follow 

Image: BBC

March 8th marks the day of International Women’s Day to celebrate all that women, both cis and trans, have accomplished. But not only does the 8th of March claim this glorious day, March itself is also titled Women’s History Month.  

With a growing society full of equality and acceptance, you would think that we have moved passed the barrier of women being seen as inferior to men. However, statistics show that Google searches for “International Men’s Day” spike on March 8th; The scary part is that it spikes every year on March 8th. In my own personal experience yesterday on March 8thI’ve seen a lot of sexist comments (more than I’ve seen any other year). I’ve seen ads for companies pop up that have a misogynistic approach, and men of all ages making unnecessary remarks about their counterpart’s sex.  

It’s scary to think that people act like this. It’s the gender equivalent to a spike of racist comments in Black History Month or asking why there isn’t a White History Month. Another take is an increase of homophobic comments in Pride Month and wanting to create a Straight Pride Month.  

The reason there isn’t a men’s month or white or straight is because those have always been considered the “societal norm. Women, POC, and LGBTQ people have had to fight for their right to even be remotely seen as equal. They fought and continue to fight for their rights. The Salem Witch Trials were not an attack on witches; it was an attack on women. Women who were financially independent, having more than one female friend, not having children, showing stubbornness, having a birthmark, being an elder, being left-handed, doing math and even for having a cat you were seen as a witch. There are many other ridiculous reasons a woman would be dubbed a witch. But the Salem Witch Trial wasn’t an attack on witches, it was an attack on women who could do what a man could do. A man wouldn’t be hung or burned for having a birthmark, would he? No, just a woman. Women to this day are discriminated against because of their gender for such small reasons. Examples are if you see a slow or remotely bad driver, crazy how people will say “it must be a woman”? Or how almost every insult that you can call someone is feminine or is a derogatory term for part of a woman’s body?  

The bias and discrimination against women aren’t limited to the United States. In India, a husband can rape his wife without consequences. In Russia, domestic violence is not seen as a crime. In Sudana girl as young as 10 can get married. In Iran, wives need permission from their husband to travel. In Jordan, women can be killed in the name of “honor” and the murderer will have little to no consequences. In Belarus, women cannot be truck drivers. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive. Still think we have it good? What about the tradition where if a woman doesn’t bleed on the honeymoon, it means she is not a virgin, and is then mocked and frowned upon or even divorced? Even though not all women bleed when lose their virginity 

The reason for an international women’s day is to celebrate how far we have come and generate the motivation to keep fighting. So, it’s absolutely disgusting that some men behave the way they do on this day, and throughout the month in the year 2021. Men have not had to fight for their own equality because they have always been seen as superior; therefore, they do not have a month dedicated to them. Whites have not ever been oppressed based on their skin color and did not have to fight their way to get rights, therefore they don’t have a month dedicated to them. Heterosexuals have never been frowned upon or sent to therapy for their sexuality, they have never been judged for what sex they were attracted to, so therefore there’s not a month dedicated to them. Sexism, homophobia, and racism are still somehow a part of society in 2021 and it is embarrassing 

So, on that note, happy Women’s History Month to all, and to all a good night. 

Some remarkable moments in women’s history: 

  • July 18th, 1848the first women’s rights convention.
  • January 23rd, 1849Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman to graduate from medical school.
  • December 10th, 1869Wyoming passes the first Women’s suffrage law which allows women to vote and hold office.May 15th, 1869Susan B. Anthony founds the first Women’s Suffrage Association
  • October 16th, 1916Margret Sanger opens the first birth control clinic.
  • April 2nd, 1917Jeanette Rankin is the first woman to be elected in congress.
  • May 20th, 1962Amelia Earhart is the first woman, and the second person ever to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • December 1st, 1955Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man, which sparks the Civil Rights Movement.
  • June 10th, 1963President John F. Kennedy signs the first Equal Pay Act, which prohibits the sex-based wage gap when a man and a woman are working the same job in the same workplace.
  • June 30th, 1966Betty Friedan found the National Organization for Women.
  • June 23rd, 1972President Richard Nixon signs Title IX law, which allows anyone of any sex able to participate in activities without being denied or excluded from based on gender.
  • July 7th, 1981Sandra Day O’Conner is the first woman to be sworn into the supreme court.
  • July 18th, 1983Sally Ride becomes the first American woman on a space shuttle to outer space.
  • March 12th, 1993Janet Reno is sworn in as the first female attorney general.
  • September 3rd, 1994Violence Against Women act is signed by President Bill Clinton.
  • January 23rd, 1997Madeleine Albright is sworn in as the first female secretary of state.
  • January 4th, 2007Nancy Pelosi is the first female speaker of the house.
  • January 24th, 2013US Military lifts the ban on women being able to fight in the military.
  • July 26th, 2016Hilary Clinton becomes the first woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate. 
  • January 20th, 2021Kamela Harris is the first woman and Person of Color to become vice president. 

Opinion: Art is Just as Important at Sport 

Original illustration by Sara Ellsworth ’21

Northwood is a school dominated by athletics and it is full of hockey and soccer players, ski racers, jumpers and freestylersTo many of the athletes, art isn’t seen as important, and instead seen as “for the weak. This is probably because of the logic of you don’t have to practice and work out for it, and instead sit in a chair splashing colors on a canvas. But this is not just what art is about. In fact, despite what jocks may think, art is one of the most important things in the world 

Art isn’t just visual works on a piece of paper. Art is also music, performance, and design. Some may argue that cooking can be considered an art as the practice is dubbed Culinary Arts. Therefore, with that in mind, art is everywhere. It’s the music you listen to during workouts, it’s the Northwood logo and your team uniform designs. Art is the food you eat every morning, and art is that horror movie you watched last night with your significant other.  

Art is how detectives will find a criminal by description when sketch artists draw a suspect’s face. Art is the graphics and character designs in your favorite video game. Art is the architectural buildings that you see on every block of your hometown. Art is writing. It is your favorite book series, and your favorite poems. Art is the makeup you put on, and the costumes you wear for Halloween. Art is our 3D visuals of a virus or other pathogen, and the cartoony diagrams for things in scientific magazines.  

Art is our dreams that our brain painted, and our wackiest thoughtsArt is everywhere, and essential to human existence. To say art isn’t as important In Northwood is like saying oxygen isn’t what we should breathe. One may value their athletic pursuit more, but it’s impossible to deny that without art, we wouldn’t flourish. 

Maher: Face shield project wraps up

NOTE: This column, written by Head of School Michael Maher, was originally published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

The newly married Leigh and Gino Riffle help make face shields at Northwood School’s Innovation Hub in Lake Placid. (Photo provided)

As fears of the virus and a lack of personal protective equipment for health care workers began to swell in our region, new uses for 3D printers began to circulate. Our Associate Head of School Tom “Brody” Broderick quickly jumped into a leadership role, teaming up with local entrepreneurs and teachers to bring together the Northern NY 3D Printing Network, a collaboration between North Country high schools, volunteer printers, residents and businesses.

Forty-five days later, the initiative has concluded at the Innovation Hub at Northwood School on Main Street, and we are proud to announce that with the tremendous support of the community of volunteers, 3,000 face shields were made and delivered.

The initiative and 3D printer network spread into three regional hubs, of which the Innovation Hub at Northwood School supported the Tri-Lakes, Beekmantown Central School District supplied the Lake Champlain area, and a group of community leaders banded together to manage production for St. Lawrence County. We delivered 1,600-plus hospital-grade facial shields to Adirondack Health, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Clifton-Fine Medical Center, Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, Elizabethtown Community Hospital and Hudson Headwaters Health Network. We delivered 300 first-responder-grade face shields to Lake Placid, Keene Valley, Wilmington, Colton Rescue, Essex County Emergency Services and Warren County Emergency Services. We delivered 650-plus first-responder-grade face shields to nursing homes in Lake Placid and North Creek, Will Rogers at Saranac Lake, and throughout St. Lawrence County through United Helpers. Lastly, we also delivered 125-plus face shields of first responder quality to individual groups, alumnae and/or community members. Groups included North Country Life Flight, North Country Life Net, local doctors, urgent care of Saranac Lake, animal hospitals and others.

The North Country community came together in a remarkable way. We would like to recognize and thank Tom “Brody” Broderick alongside the members of the core group including Andrea Audi, Brad Rafferty, Jeff Erenstone, Debbie Erenstone, Brian LaValley, Dan Mannix, Nathaniel Horn, Matt Burnett, Sarah Galvin, Marc Galvin, Michael Aldridge and Darcy Norfolk.

Rising freshman Drew Donatello, left, and Tom Broderick of Northwood School help make face shields at the school’s Innovation Hub on Main Street, Lake Placid. (Photo provided)

Thank you to all of the printers, printing volunteers, schools, organizations and businesses that have supported this initiative, including Lake Placid Central School District, Saranac Lake Central School District, SUNY Canton, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Loreman’s Screenprinting, UPS Store, Compass Printing, Bookstore Plus, Adirondack Foundation, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, North Country Public Radio, Sun Community News, Post-Star, Paul Strack, Scott Shipley, Cathy Tedford, Bill Short Jared Bandru, Bob Bever, Bob, Jennifer Bourdette, Scott Brightwell, Logan Coggins, David Craig, Terry Fishlock, Calista Fraser, Kaden Jewell, Emma Keilmeier, Kyle Lapan, Aaron Miller, Corey Moussea, Elliot Mousseau, Dylan Murnane, Kaleb Pecoraro, Brian Post, Randy Pray, Jonathon Santamoor, Kate Sears, Jo Skiff, Ben Smith, Lief Sorgule, Randy T. Todd II, Michael Walters, Sam Baker, Amelia Brady, Brian Brady, Matthew Brady, Alicia Brandes, Brian Brandes, Kate Broderick, Angie Carlisto, Dan Carlisto, Olaf Carlson, Kelly Carter, Josh Dann, Andy Donatello, Carrie Donatello, Drew Donatello, Zach Dupree, Francis Eisenger, Laura Finnerty-Paul, Lori Fitzgerald, Peter Frenette, Tricia Garrett, Trevor Gilligan, Lisa G., Woo Jeon, Mary Jane Lawrence, Sydney Lawrence, Lia Loomis, Jeff Martin, Jason McComber, David Miller, Karen Miller, Meredith Miller, Tony Miller, Chase Ormiston, Matt Paul, Olivia Paul, Wendy Poole, Trish Preston, Amy Quinn, Gino Riffle, Leigh Riffle, Alex Russo, Cammy Sheridan, Elise Stosiek, Brian Vasser, Jason Wamsganz, Carrie Wardlaw, Tait Wardlaw, Teegan Wardlaw, Wyatt Wardlaw, Ellen Yousey, Ken Yousey and Zach Zienko, and so many others that may not be named here.

We live in an incredible community, and during this challenging time, we have generously shown that we are #inthistogether.

Dispatch from South Korea: Su Hae “Jessica” Jang ‘20

Note: The Mirror’s editor-in-chief Su Hae “Jessica” Jang ‘20 has been home in South Korea since the pandemic led to all students departing campus in March. She shares her personal experience f the pandemic in this essay.


Both South Korea and the United States confirmed their first cases of COVID-19 on the same day, January 20, 2020. Now, three months later, the U.S. has the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the world, whereas Korea has seen a sharp decline in the number of cases reported daily since its peak in late February. On April 19, Korea announced a single-digit number of new cases. How did Korea manage to flatten its curve?

On March 11, WHO, the World Health Organization, declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Later that day, Northwood ceased all on-campus programming and transitioned all instruction online. I had been expecting the news from some time before, as I had already witnessed my home country Korea experience the worst of the outbreak when the number of daily infections reached close to a thousand. Nevertheless, I was stunned and overwhelmed. As of March 12, Korea had about 8,000 total confirmed cases, while the States had less than a thousand. Does it make sense to leave a safer country to go back home where the virus poses a serious threat to public health? Should I pack everything in my dorm room just in case? Is it even possible to do so in less than two days without anyone’s help? What will happen to my family in Korea if I catch the virus at the airport on my way back home? Will I be able to handle online learning at home? (Korea is 13 hours ahead of the States.) What if I can’t come back for graduation? What about college? But I was most scared to find the answer to this: Will I ever see my friends and teachers at Northwood again?

Despite the numerous questions floating around in my head, I still believed, or at least hoped, that I would return to Northwood to celebrate the end of my high school career with my family and friends. So when I left Northwood, not knowing that I wouldn’t be able to set foot on campus for the next three months, I said neither “Goodbye” or “See you later” to my friends. Instead, I told them, “Have a nice spring break!”

But by the time I safely arrived home, the tables had turned. Americans watched the exponential growth in their number of new COVID-19 cases with growing alarm. Meanwhile, Korea, which has been a country with the second-highest infections after China, noticed its curve beginning to plateau. All of a sudden, Maybe I won’t be able to go back to the U.S. became I probably shouldn’t go back to the U.S.

Although Korea extended its social distancing measures until May 5, it has recently eased restrictions on shops, restaurants, religious services, and other facilities to allow local economies to recover from the pandemic. Yet I haven’t witnessed drastic changes in people’s lifestyles. We continue to wear masks at all times. Emergency text alerts continue to inform the routes of patients who have tested positive in the area we live in. (The patients remain anonymous.) All students, from elementary school to college, continue to take online classes at home.

What surprised me most about Korea’s response to the pandemic was the absence of any lockdowns. From lessons learned from the MERS outbreak in 2015, Korea was able to quickly contain the virus without restricting the movement of people. By tracking locations of phones, records of credit card transactions, and footages of surveillance cameras, health officials identified and tested people the patients had been in contact with. Once tested positive, the patients were promptly treated. This method of contact tracing, which is used only during disease outbreaks, along with the widespread availability of test kits, which were developed and distributed early on, and drive-through and walk-in testing centers allowed the testing of up to 140,000 samples a week. As of April 27, 601,660 tests have been performed.

Another striking aspect was the absence of hoarding. As I read “Week in Pictures: Pandemic Leads to Suspension of Campus Activities and Moves Classes Online” on The Mirror, I realized that Koreans, including myself, did not stockpile toilet paper, hand sanitizers, face masks, or any type of daily necessities. Before leaving the States, I had heard from my family and friends that they had to line up at pharmacies to buy masks and were allowed to purchase two per week. Now, I can buy up to three masks a week and check the number of available masks at nearby pharmacies with an app. Without panic buying, the public has managed to remain calm.

South Korea, my home country, has been maintaining a comparatively low fatality rate of 2.26%. As of April 27, there has been a total of 10,738 confirmed cases—8,764 have been released from quarantine, 1,731 are still isolated, and 243 have died. Only 10 new cases were added to the data on the 27th. Yet the United States, where I study and where my friends and teachers live, is experiencing a surge in new cases with 999,237 accumulated cases—137,243 have recovered, 56,173 have died.

As health officials around the world warn the possibility of a new wave of coronavirus outbreaks if vaccines are not developed soon, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. I eagerly anticipate seeing my friends and teachers at Lake Placid sometime in the near future.

A Personal Look Behind-the-Scenes on the Musical

Olivia Paul

Olivia Paul ’20 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge).

It’s often noted that the majority of Northwood students are athletes. In the past, as a non-athlete, I sometimes felt out of place among my friends who are so passionate about their sports. So this year, I wanted to break out of my comfort zone to try something new. I joined the school’s drama program and took part in the musical “The Good Old Days.” I never thought that I’d be able to dance and sing, let alone dress up as a man in front of the school. But I’m glad I did.

It felt nice being a part of something. I worked hard with people that I had never talked much with and heard positive feedback from the audience. I also got closer to the crew behind the scenes. Without them, we could’ve never put on the show, and I would’ve never found my new passion for drama.

Many of the Backstage Crew were new to drama, just like I was. And all of them were glad that they had tried something new. Sarah Sheridan ‘21 co-wrote the play with Ms. Noël Carmichel, Theater Director, and managed the props. “I was on the edge of my seat for the entire play because I wanted to make sure everything on stage looked right. But ultimately it was a fun time,” said Sheridan.


Ms. Carmichael at a rehearsal of “The Good Old Days” (Photo: Northwood School).

Matthew Brady ‘22 designed costumes with the help of Maisie Crane ‘23. They went to local venues to borrow and order costumes and made a Google Doc to make sure all the actors knew what they were wearing. Brady said, “I decided to be the costume designer for the play because it seemed interesting. I liked hanging out with everyone and learning about the process of putting on a show.”

Chase Ormiston ‘23 was the stage manager. Although she had gotten a foot surgery only days prior to the opening night, she was still able to continue helping out. Ormiston was at every rehearsal, helping the actors by taking notes on all of our dances so we could become better. “It was really amazing to see the show come together in the last week of rehearsals,” she said.

Overall, everyone who participated in the production of the play got closer earned not only knowledge on how to put on a show but also long-lasting friendships. And we are thankful for that.

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015-2022 by the Staff of The Mirror
The Mirror's Policy Manual and Style Guide.
The Mirror is funded by gifts to the Northwood Fund. Thank you.