Exit Interview: Mr. David Vitale

Math teacher Mr. David Vitale is leaving Northwood to pursue graduate school. Staff writer Sarah Bennett ‘19 sat down with Vitale for this exit interview.

Why are you leaving Northwood?

I am leaving to go back to school, I’m starting a masters program in logic at Carnegie Mellon University in August.

What will you miss about Northwood?

I’m definitely going to miss teaching and coaching. I think I’ve really grown a lot as a teacher and coach in the last five years, and I’m going to miss growing more. It’s what I enjoy doing and I’ll miss that. I’ll also miss the people I work with and the people here in general.

What do you plan on doing after grad school?

Probably keep teaching. I don’t know if after two years I’ll want to stay in school and pursue a more advanced degree or whether I’ll want to get back to teaching, but I think that this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I think I’m a teacher.

What’s are some of your favorite Northwood memories?

Our last game of the season, last year on the prep team, we won four to nothing against OHA, a pretty good team, and Drew Goldberg who was a senior had a shootout and we had four different seniors score. Some of those players I had coached for four years, it was pretty special for that season to end that way. Other great memories would be just getting off topic talking about math in class and playing chess in the living room.

Dear Mr. Vitale,

TLP_0329I have had many teachers. Some are better than others. Some are nicer than others.Some failed me. You stand out among them all. You are the first teacher that challenged me not only in the classroom but outside of the classroom, as my hockey coach too. I was always learning from you, whether it was some wild math theory or a simple break-out, every day I could count on you for a learning experience. When I was zoning out in math class, you could draw me back in by relating the topic to some aspect of my life. Your math class never ceased to amaze me, whether it was a conspiracy theory talk on a lazy Friday or walking in to class on the last day of school and learning Mr. David Vitale has a girlfriend. I would like to thank you for being a great hockey coach and math teacher, and for helping make my first year at Northwood one to remember. Good luck next year in graduate school. Hopefully your grades will be better than mine.

Thank You,
Cisco DelliQuadri ‘20

Exit Interview: Mr. Roger Loud

Math teacher Mr. Roger Loud is retiring at the end of this year. Guest contributor JoJo Rosenbluth ‘19 sat down with Loud for this exit interview.


How has your method of teaching evolved through the years with your students?

I found early on that my most effective teaching comes from asking questions as much as possible rather than laying stuff out in the laps of kids. It’s more conducive to thinking on your part than just writing down what I say or writing down what’s on the board. So, obviously it took several years to conquer the subject matter in such a way that I’m comfortable teaching it and I don’t see that my methods have changed much and quite obviously I’m way behind the time on technology and happy to remain that way. I’m more comfortable in an environment that doesn’t depend on watching movies; the internet’s full of crap. I’m an old war horse hanging on to old methods and as far as I can tell they still work.

What are you going to miss most about Northwood?

Well, every year’s a new bunch of faces so that’s always refreshing and there’s a discipline to being a teacher, you’re under great time restraints and so forth. For some, that’s a burden; for others, it’s a nice crutch. So I think being without a time crunch is going to be an issue for me until I reorganize my days. I’m happy to be coming back on an hourly basis playing with this math lab. I hope that that will be enthusiastically received and used. As long as I can keep watching some hockey games that will keep me going. Obviously, when you leave thirty or forty colleagues there’s a friendship issue that I don’t think will be very big since I will be staying in town and Northwood isn’t leaving. I will be keeping an eye on this place and won’t feel too much of a vacuum I guess.

What are your plans for retirement?

Doing it very slowly. I went down to two classes this year so that was a half a step and the math lab will be another half a step-down. Other than that I don’t have any grand plans. I am not much of a travel nut. As long as I can put one foot after another on a mountain trail I’ll keep on doing that.

What is your favorite memory from your time at Northwood?

I don’t think I can answer that. Every day has a few ups and a few downs. Interaction with kids and aha moments and scores of 5 on the AP exam and so forth are all high times. So I wouldn’t say there’s a peak somewhere. Each day has several peaks to it and a couple of valleys in between.

What advice would you give to an incoming Northwood teacher?

Ask questions. Keep in mind that independent schools are fairly famous for teachers being left on their own. The glorious independence of teaching extends to the fact that we don’t support new teachers as well as we should traditionally. Every school says that they have some built-in support systems but they’re generally light if at all. So it’s up to a new teacher to screw up his or her courage and seek help and collaborative questions and invite older teachers into their classrooms and work not only on refining their own styles but also on picking everyone else’s brain along the way. Watch out for the local taverns and get a good night’s sleep. Suck the blood out of all the rest of us who have been at it for a long time is the best advice I could give any new teacher.  If somebody comes in new and says I don’t need any help that’s somebody headed in the wrong direction.

Dear Mr. Loud:


Separated at birth? Aiden and Mr. Loud. (Photo: JoJo Rosenbluth)

Never have I been more motivated to get a correct answer than because of your constant fake heart attacks. I remember one time I was answering a math question and I unknowingly gave an incredibly wrong answer and you grabbed your chest and gasped for air. So I tried a different answer and you gasped again and fell back against the whiteboard. This happened again until I realized my grave mistake and answered correctly. As soon as I said the right answer you looked at me and said, “Oh, my heart is better.”

Speaking more of your reactions to our wrong answers, many many times, you have hissed at our class for not knowing how to solve a simple math problem. I think you asked us what two plus two is, and the whole class said five.

I never found myself dreading your class. In fact, I had fun in your math class. That’s something you don’t always hear about math class, but lots of people say it about yours. For example, our most recent unit was on finding derivatives and deriving complex equations, and I actually found myself enjoying these math problems. Part of my enjoyment came from how well you taught me. Thank you for being my teacher.

Aiden Smith ‘19

Exit Interview: Ms. Hannah Doan

Spanish and voice teacher Ms. Hannah Doan is leaving Northwood to pursue graduate studies. Staff writer Jessica Jang ‘20 sat down with Doan for this exit interview.


How long have you been at Northwood?

I started working here in 2015, so this is my third year. I was also a student from 2005-2008.

Why have you decided to leave your Northwood job?

I am leaving to go to grad school at UVM [The University of Vermont] over in Burlington to study school counseling.

What different jobs have you had at Northwood? What classes have you taught?

I’ve been the freestyle ski coach, girls’ soccer coach, and girls’ dorm head. I’ve taught Spanish I and II, and Vocal Performance. I’m never bored.

What will you miss?

I’ll miss the people. Having been a student here for three years and a teacher for another three years, Northwood definitely feels like home to me. It’s sad to think about leaving, but I’m also excited to try something else. I’ll remember my students, the faculty members, and everyone at Northwood who has been in my life for a long time.

Do you plan to return to teaching after graduate school? What are your future plans?

I don’t know. It’s hard to say right now. I’m really excited about this counseling program, and I would definitely love to still work in a school setting. I’d like to work as a school counselor somewhere — probably in the Northeast. I also love the boarding school life, so I want to work in a boarding school again, but I don’t know yet how things will turn out. I have the next two years planned, but after that, who knows? It’s kind of exciting and strange at the same time.

Do you have a fondest or funniest Northwood memory that you could tell?

There are so many because I’ve spent a total of six years at Northwood. My first Mountain Day as a student here was pretty memorable, but I’m not sure if that’s my fondest memory. If I had to pick one, the Headmaster’s Holiday we had last year because of the big storm was my favorite. I’ll miss seeing all the kids playing outside in the snow and having fun.

Did you have a favorite year, class, or team?

It’s really hard to pick a favorite class or team. They’ve all been so different. But this year has probably been my favorite. I feel much more comfortable in the classroom than I did during my first year and, quite honestly, it’s a great group of students to work with. Also, this is my first year here as a ski coach that I haven’t been injured for part of the winter, so that was pretty great too.

What has your time here taught you?

Holy cow. So much. Not just in the practical business of being in a classroom, but a lot about myself as well. I’ve learned to be more patient, flexible, and to appreciate what everyone brings to the table. I think I’ve learned as much from my students as they have from me. Being a teacher has challenged me in more ways than I thought, but I think, ultimately, that’s also what has made my career here so fulfilling. There are so many great people here. If I could give any advice, it would be to take the time to get to know them — both the faculty and students.

Dear Ms. Doan,


Morgan with Ms. Doan. (Photo: Su Hae Jang ’20)

Before I came to Northwood, you were my connection back to North Country School. You had also finished your years at North Country School and then started Northwood when you were my age. During my first year, I may not have interacted with you much outside of training and skiing, but I looked up to you because of how you worked with our small freestyle ski team.

My first year was also the start of working with you in the music program. It was the first time you helped us with harmonies and to use our voices to the best of our abilities. Even before I barely knew what harmonies really were, I didn’t like doing them. I had to get used to harmonies because the next year would be the beginning of a separate vocal program. Over the last two years, you have helped me find and develop my style of singing.

So thank you Ms. Doan, for helping me find my voice as a singer and come out of my shell. You really helped me develop in and out of the classroom. Thanks to the little tips about performing you gave us; I came out of me shell as a person too. Also, thank you for dealing with our many random riff offs and constant begging for off periods. Northwood will be lacking someone truly amazing next year.

As a final thank you, Mr. Portal and I have been practicing a song to do in your honor.

Morgan Broderick ’19


mirror picMs. Doan and I were Northwood students together though I would probably just call us acquaintances at that point in our lives. When she came to Northwood as a coach/teacher, we almost immediately went from acquaintances to best friends. So close that on a weekly basis we would meet up for practice wearing almost identical outfits by accident. What I will miss most about Ms. Doan is her passion for skiing as well as her passion for getting more girls involved in sports, especially freestyle skiing. Despite her struggle with multiple injuries, it has never kept her off the mountain. I am really excited for her to have the opportunity to attend UVM and study in their school counseling program so she can one day help other student-athletes overcome hardships and injury the way she has. I truly feel as though she is pursuing her “calling” in life, and despite the fact that I cannot imagine what life at Northwood will be like without her, I’m so happy for her to start this next chapter!

Vonn Returns to Northwood as Alpine Technical Director

Thomas Vonn is a new addition to the NYSEF/Northwood coaching staff. He is returning to his high school roots after spending twenty years away from Northwood as an Olympic and World Cup alpine ski racer and, later, a world-class coach, known mostly for coaching the technical aspects of ski racing.   [Read more…]

Bennett Sets Sights on National Team

The Northwood ski team has had a great season this year. Over spring break many NWS athletes were competing in CO, landing on the podium multiple times. In particular, Sarah Bennett ’19 has had an exceptional season that gave her the opportunity to be invited to a Quebec Team Evaluation Camp at Mont Edouard, Canada, where she is training with some of the best young Canadian ski racers. Also attending the camp is Erik Guay, a three-time Olympian, and Canada’s most successful male alpine skier. Bennett is currently ranked one of the best in North America for her age. [Read more…]

Smith Earns Highest Honor in Girl Scouts

Over this past break, Chelsea Smith ‘19 was awarded the Girl Scout Gold Recognition. The Gold Award represents the highest achievement Girl Scouts can achieve. By earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, Chelsea Smith has become recognized as a community leader. [Read more…]

Two STEM Students Receive National Honor

Recently Northwood students Chelsea Smith ‘19 and Maddie McCarthy ‘18 have won Upstate New York Affiliate Honorable Mention of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing. They have been chosen for their computing-related aspirations and achievements, their leadership ability, academic performance, and future plans. [Read more…]

Life’s Goals

Guest essay by Rob Serra ’97


The author celebrates after scoring a goal for the FDNY hockey team at the Nassau Coliseum in 2004. (Photo: Bill Bennett)

“Times like these we learn to live again”

-Foo Fighters


I know it’s cliche to point to a sporting event as a pivotal moment in one’s life, but that’s where I find myself. On April 3, 2004, I put my hockey bag in my Jeep and headed to Nassau Coliseum. I was nervous as hell and had no idea how the day would end. I just knew what it took for me to get there. [Read more…]

Catching up with Jack Dugan ‘17



Jack Dugan ’17 (Photo: Hickling Images)


What have you been doing since you have graduated Northwood?

I have been playing hockey in the USHL for the Chicago Steel. [Ed. note: Jack’s being modest: he was also drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL and represented the United States in the World Junior A Challenge in December]

How does the hockey compare to Northwood last year? [Read more…]

Humans of Northwood: Sarah Bennett ’19


Sarah Bennett ’19 (Photo: Magnus Sheffiled ’20)

“I’m a Junior. I’ve been at Northwood since freshman year. I’m a ski racer. I am from Montreal, but I currently live in Stoneham. My favorite memory would have to be the powder day we had last year after training was cancelled, and the whole team was free skiing. The biggest piece of advice I can give an incoming freshman would be make friends outside of your athletic group. The first year you’re at Northwood can be the hardest when you are training six times a week; going to classes after can be tiring, but everyone here is pushing you to be your best self. When I’m not skiing, I enjoy mountain and road biking ,walking into town, and trying new things. This spring I want to do more hiking and get more involved in college preparation. In my free time I enjoy running with my dog and eating fajitas.”

– As told to Magnus Sheffield ’20

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015 by the Staff of The Mirror
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