Update: Northwood’s School Safety Plan

On December 12, 2018, Kevin Quinn 19’ published an essay in The Mirror about how Northwood should prepare its students in an event of a school shooting. Quinn had suggested that Northwood adopt the same safety measure used by Oakland University–to equip all students with hockey pucks so that they can throw the pucks at the shooter. Now, of course, this is a bit of a long shot, but any plan is better than no plan at all. So what steps has Northwood School gone through to assure the safety of its students? To figure this out, I sat down with the Assistant Head of School Tom Broderick.

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Assistant Head of School Mr. Tom Broderick (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

My first question for Mr. Broderick was what he thought about the idea of students at Northwood carrying around hockey pucks. He said, “What I’ve learned over my time studying the Fort Hood massacre, studying Newtown, and studying other active shooter events, is that when students flee, they often have a greater chance at survival.” He added, “Also if you are confronted with an active shooter, distraction is a major thing. In reality, though, you don’t need to carry around hockey pucks to create a distraction for the shooter. Any object, say, a stack of paper, can be enough of a distraction to disrupt a shooter’s accuracy.”

I then asked Mr. Broderick if there is a reason why Northwood has never conducted drills to prepare for the possible event of a school shooting. He replied, “The school has tried to come up with the best way to run an active shooter drill. The problem is that right now, our school does not have at its disposal a warning system for this sort of thing. Northwood’s safety task force has been looking into purchasing an appropriate warning system.” He continued, “We can’t use the fire alarm for this sort of thing because a shooter might use it as a way to access more targets all at once. And since we are so efficient with fire drills, within two minutes an active shooter could have all the students and faculty out in the field. So using a fire drill would actually put people at greater harm. We are going to have some meetings with students as we go into the spring to talk about these sort of things, and hopefully, determine our plans of action rather soon.”

fire-alarm-systemFinally, I asked Mr. Broderick what current steps the school is taking to secure school buildings. He said, “At this point, the school has been authorized to secure most of the [entry] doors in the Allen building, in Bergamini, and in the Uihlein classroom building, and the Friedlander science center. Next year, when students return to campus, all students will be required to carry around what is called a fob, which is a small electric key that can open doors. They will not be able to enter school buildings without one.”

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The school safety plan will call for more locked doors, which may mean more keys and fobs (Photo: Kyle Bavis ’19).

“Now, all this being said, Lake Placid is a very safe place. I still leave my house unlocked. I still leave my car unlocked. The problem with the age that we live in today, though, is that we can not assume our safety. And so that is why these new measures and many more still to come, plan to be implemented here at Northwood School,” Mr. Broderick said.

We are living in a dangerous world. With the recent rise in the number of school shootings, school safety has never been more important. But with many school faculty like Mr. Broderick looking out for us, the Northwood community can all breathe a little bit easier.

Black History Month at Northwood

black-history-month-2017-imageBlack History Month started in 1926 after Carter G. Woodson, the leading scholar of African-American life and history at the time, called the second week of February the “Negro Week.” Black History Month is a celebration of the accomplishments of Black Americans. In the United States and Canada, Black History Month is celebrated in February. In the United Kingdom it is celebrated in October. Mr. Woodson’s goal with this celebration was to not only commemorate Black people’s accomplishments, but it was also to show White America and the world how important the Black race is to the founding and history of the United States.

Black History Month is celebrated in multiple ways, depending on who is celebrating. Some schools have plays or watch movies about some major Black historical characters. Nike and other clothing brands even release signature Black History Month Collections.

The new Black Student Union has taken the lead on celebrating Black History at Northwood and hopes that the celebration of Black history will continue all school year. Director of Multicultural Affairs Kelvin Martinez said, “At Northwood, our Black Student Union utilizes film as a means to bring community members together to view and discuss. Recently, BSU sponsored the viewing of Selma, which resulted in a meaningful conversation with members of our community. Next will be PBS film series “The Rise of Jim Crow” and a speech by Dr. King titled “Your Life Blueprint,” one of his rare speeches directed to school-age students. BSU does not intend to restrict this celebration to February, and I am in full agreement with their stand.”

 

How To Prevent And Treat Frostbite

frostbite-treatment-featured-image-1-750x420It may be the end of February, a month that saw the famous groundhog see his shadow indicating an early spring, but Lake Placid is still in the grips of winter. The Adirondacks is one of the coldest regions in the United States. Both locals and tourists enjoy outdoor activities here in Lake Placid even when it’s freezing. But spending many hours in the cold increases the risk of getting frostbite, which can not only interfere with your winter fun but also damage your body.

Frostbite is a condition in which the tissue below the skin freezes. Since humans are composed mainly of water, when exposed to cold for too long, cells that make up our skin tissues can actually freeze solid, leading to both pain and possibly permanent damage to the tissues.

Luckily, frostbite is easily recognizable. The skin first turns pink and then red. Once the tissue actually freezes, the skin turns white. If the frostbite is serious enough, it can even turn black, meaning that the skin tissue has actually died. If you think that you have frostbite, let your body warm up naturally. Never put warm or hot water on the area affected, as this will further damage the tissues.

However, frostbite can be avoided by simply wearing hats, gloves, scarves, and warm boots, as it usually occurs on areas of open skin, such as fingers, ears, necks, and on extremities.

Even though you may not look “cool” wearing layers, if you stay safe and warm, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to enjoy the winter of the Adirondacks longer.

Northwood’s Favorite Super Bowl Commercials

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Well, the Super Bowl came and went this past Sunday, and by all accounts, the game itself was very boring to watch. Even the Halftime show felt strangely stale. There was one saving grace that night, though: the commercials. Some were funny, some were exciting, and some were touching, but there is no doubt that they were entertaining. Here are some Super Bowl ads that Northwood students found most appealing.

[Read more…]

New Play Explores “One of the Most Relevant Issues of Our Time”

NOTE: dues to a coming snowstorm, performances dates and times have changed. Showtimes are now Wednesday, February 13 at 7 pm and Thursday, February 14 at 10 am.

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On Wednesday, February 13th, Northwood Drama presents Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous) at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. As a modern retelling of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” the play tells the story a young refugee called Anon is separated from his mother and journeys through the United States, encountering a wide variety of people — some kind, some dangerous and cruel — as he searches for his family. From a sinister one-eyed butcher to beguiling barflies to a sweatshop, Anon must navigate through a chaotic, ever-changing landscape in this entrancing adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. [Read more…]

Essay: Social Media and the Pressure to Conform

Like any teenager, when I’m bored, I check Instagram, go to the search option, and see what the app has to show me. Often there are posts regarding dance, feminism, comedy, and fashion. But sometimes a thread pops up saying things like, “Get the perfect body!” or “How to make him want you!” and “How to be irresistible!” With kids spending so much time on social media, both girls and boys are prone to be molded into social norms from an early age. For instance, a girl has to dress up, act dainty, and be sweet, whereas a guy has to be macho and mysterious.

These days, women play a big role in society. Some of the best-known figures around the world are women who own their own businesses. Despite all of this progress, women are still paid less in workplaces and are expected to conform to gender norms.

For girls, the pressure is mostly appearance-based. You can’t show too much of your stomach, back, or anything without the outfit coming off as “slutty.” You can’t wear as much makeup as you want because if you wear too much, you’re “hiding something.” The need to impress boys has become so woven into the culture of teenage girls today.

An “ideal” man must always be muscular, athletic, and the list goes on. On Instagram, I see some guys posing in front of an ocean, shirt off. Just look at the models of Calvin Klein and Abercrombie and Fitch on billboards and magazine ads.

Following these norms doesn’t make you a bad person. Social media has put these “standards” out, and it’s your choice to follow them or not. But these expectations certainly are hurting today’s society as people receive unwanted attention and comments by the way they appear.

Many Students Want Border Security – Few Support Trump’s Plan

U.S. President Trump participates in tour of U.S.-Mexico border wall prototypes near Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California

President Donald Trump participates in a tour of U.S.-Mexico border wall prototypes in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Donald Trump just gave his second State of the Union speech, which included a forceful call for a new wall along the nation’s southern border with Mexico.  The country just faced the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States because of the President’s dispute with Congress over funding for the wall.

The Northwood School community, like America, is divided over President Trump’s plan. Many students support the idea of border security and a border wall, but there isn’t much love for Mr. Trump’s strategy to achieve his vision. Owen Pierce ‘21 asked students their opinion. Here’s a collection of student voices on the topic:

 

“I think [the wall] is outlandish, but it does bring up the question of border security.”
– Noah Pittman ‘21 (New York)

 

“Securing the border is important, but the way Trump is doing it is not effective.”
– Olivia Paul ‘21 (New York)

 

“It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but the issue lies with the lack of funding and government support.”
– Peter Tcheleshev ‘21 (Connecticut)

 

“It’s the U.S.’s fault that they are in this situation, so instead of trying to fix the problem with the border they should first try to fix the problems in their own government.”
– Rintaro Akasaka ‘20 (Japan)

 

“40% of immigrants fly in on planes, and most don’t cross the border, so the wall is pointless.”
– Charlie Purcell ‘21 (New York)

 

“I think it’s unnecessary to shut down the government, although the idea behind the wall and border safety is a good one.”
– Cisco Delliquadri ‘20 (New York)

 

“Honestly the wall is unnecessary. Most immigrants are just coming to seek asylum.”
– Morgan Broderick ‘19 (New York)

 

“I think it’s nonsense because there are many other ways immigrants can come into the States. A wall isn’t going to prevent them. Plus, Mexicans aren’t the only immigrants.”
– Fran Castillo ’19 (Dominican Republic)

 

“The reason behind immigrants bringing guns, drugs, and ammunition into the country is Americans demand for them. Before fixing the border problem we have to fix the problem with our citizens.”
– Kyle Bavis (Ohio)

 

“I believe Trump is incongruent in his statements. His ambitions are too far off from what the U.S. represents as a nation.”
– Mateo Rodriguez (Mexico)

 

10 Things You Might Not Know About Lake Placid

Welcome

The “Welcome to Lake Placid” signboard in front of the Lake Placid Horse Show Grounds (Photo: Whiteface Mountain)

1. Northwood is actually not in Lake Placid. Most of what we consider “Lake Placid” is actually not in the small lakeside village of Lake Placid, but rather in the surrounding town of North Elba. Northwood School’s property line is a few hundred yards outside the Village line. [Read more…]

Opinion: A Plan to Throw Hockey Pucks at Shooter is Better Than No Plan

On March 2, 2018, The Mirror published an editorial on gun violence and its effects on our nation. The article called for Northwood School to create a school safety plan in the event of an active shooter. It has been nearly 300 days, and there is still no plan. There have been no emergency drills — other than basic fire drills — in at least 5 years. In the drill more than five years ago, students ran into the surrounding woods upon hearing the victory bell ring. No current students have had an active shooter drill. [Read more…]

2nd Avenue in Blue Hill in Cape Town


canneryrowThe “Cannery Row Assignment” is a legendary writing exercise in Mr. Reed’s Advanced Composition and World Literature (Senior English) class. Here’s the prompt:

“After a careful examination of the opening pages of Cannery Row, choose a place you know well and describe it using the opening of the novel as a model. You should try for a sentence-by-sentence parallel to Steinbeck’s style. For example, when he writes, “Cannery Row in Monterey in California” you could write “Northwood School in Lake Placid in New York.” The idea is to carefully mimic Steinbeck. Find similar characters in your place to those Steinbeck mentions in Cannery Row.”

Every year he gets some outstanding work and one of the best pieces is published in The Mirror. This year, we loved senior Alex van Schalkwyk’s response, an intimate look at his hometown of Cape Town, South Africa.

2nd Avenue in Blue Hill in Cape Town is a novel, a war, a wreck, a stench, a prison, a playground, a reflection, a home. Lavender Hill is the old and dirty, glass and tin and plastic and broken concrete, cracked road and bottle caps and soggy cigarettes, crates of beer bottles with chipped edges, corner stores, game shops, and drug labs, and small busy markets, and burger stands and portable toilets. Its people are, as the boy exclaims, “gangsters, rapists, thieves and bastards,” for whom he meant everyone. Had the boy looked through a different lens he might have said “Mothers and fathers and teachers and honest people,” and would have meant the same thing.

lavender hill

Lavender Hill in Cape Town, South Africa.

In the afternoon when the merchants give their orders, the drug dealers expand rapidly to street corners while whistling. Dirty hands drop off bags 10 meters away from where regular customers secretly pick them up. The process is strategically chosen, for if they were passed from hand to hand the bags, at least the ones sold to regular customers, would appear more obviously. Then gangsters’ whistles screech and all over town teenagers and children run home to safety. Then the brave make the corrupt thieves weary: police officers, vigilante, neighborhood watch who come disperse into the streets.

Then from town pour prostitutes and tramps and drug addicts, men, and women in ragged t-shirts and torn pants. They come running to steal and buy and sell the drugs. The whole street cries and grumbles and coughs and shakes while the bullets of their guns race out of chambers and the chambers empty as more bullets are released. The guns cry and grumble and cough until the last enemy is grazed and wounded and shattered and killed and then the whistles screech again and the dirty, vile, putrid prostitutes and tramps and drug addicts, men and women, stumble out and drag over the bridge into the town and 2nd Avenue becomes itself again – peaceful and safe. Its normal life returns. The young who hid away in fear in their small homes come out to play in the polluted playground in the common park. The boys from Cozy Corner come out for a bit of sun if there is any. The professor walks from the state university and crosses the street to Blue Bottles Pub for a few drinks. Chris the handyman scans like an eagle through his chaotic garage for a screw or a nail that he can use to put up a window. Then the sun starts to disappear and the street-lights turn on in front of Cozy Corner – the bulb which makes beams of luminous light in 2nd Avenue. Students arrive at the state university to see Professor, and he walks across the street for a few more drinks.

How can the novel and war and the wreck – the stench, the prison, the playground, and the reflection – be set down alive? When you catch insects there are certain spiders that are so alert that they are almost impossible to catch, for they scatter and spring at the sight of movement. You must let them creep and crawl of their own into your trap. And maybe that could be the way to write this novel – to open each passage by letting words crawl in by themselves.

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