2019 Commencement Weekend Recap [Senior Video + Photos]

CommencementThe 2019 Northwood School commencement weekend began, as is tradition, with the Senior Dinner on the night of Friday, May 17th. This is a highlight activity of the weekend as families and friends gather under the tent, spending some quality time together, sharing a meal and celebrating their special graduate. Graduates often invite their friends and favorite faculty/coaches to join them at their table. A few awards are distributed and the Cum Laude Society is recognized.

P1044053The main attraction, however, is always the Senior Video. This year, senior Sarah Bennett directed the video, which was widely praised as the best senior video ever.

The Northwood School Class of 2019 commencement ceremony took place on May 18th, 2019. This was the one hundred-twelth commencement ceremony in Northwood School history.

Following the ceremony, the graduates proceeded to ring and walk under the Victory Bell and receive their Northwood Alumni pin. This is another one of Northwood’s beautiful traditions. It signifies the transition from high school to the greater world and entry into the great family of Northwood Alumni.





Morgan Broderick
Lake Placid, NY
Attended Northwood School for five years.
Click here for a transcript of Morgan’s speech


Isaac Newcomb
Lake Placid, NY
Attended Northwood School for three years
Click here for a transcript of Isaac’s speech



Barbard Dill and Dr. Richard Smith





James Herd Fullerton graduated from Norwich University in 1930 and joined the faculty at Northwood School in 1932. During his Northwood career, Jim would serve as a math and science teacher, hockey, baseball, and football coach, crew coach and Director of Athletics.

Throughout his more than thirty years at Northwood (1932-1955), Jim Fullerton established a reputation as a caring, compassionate teacher and an innovative, thoughtful coach. But it was through sheer force of his character that Jim Fullerton had the greatest influence on a generation of Northwood graduates. There are countless stories of Jim coming to the aid of a student or player in need of some sage advice, a pat on the back or some firm direction. Mr. Fullerton passed away in 1991.

The Fullerton Prize is awarded annually to a faculty member who has demonstrated the most significant professional growth and/or had the deepest impact upon the overall character development in the student body during the academic year. The winner must embody the qualities of honesty, integrity, compassion, and love of students so valued by Coach Fullerton. The prize is intended to enhance the professional and personal growth of the faculty recipient.

I am pleased to award this year’s Fullerton Prize to Noel Carmichael, who embodies the qualities that still live through the legend and legacy of Jim Fullerton. Noel, please come forward to receive this award.




Dr. Vanderlyn R. Pine is a native of New Paltz, New York and graduated from Northwood School in 1955. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1967 and his Master’s Degree in 1969 from Dartmouth College. Dr. Pine earned his Ph.D. from New York University in 1971.

While at Northwood, Van Pine excelled in athletics as a member of the ice hockey, football and track teams. In addition, he was the first Editor-in-Chief of the Mirror, the school’s newspaper, and was involved in the total life of the school as he served on a wide variety of committees. Two of Dr. Pine’s children, Brian, Class of 1981 and Daniel, Class of 1982, graduated from Northwood. Dr. Pine was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1986. In the fall of 1997, he was elected Chair of the Board and assumed his current position of Emeritus Chair in 2014.

The Pine Award, an engraved Boston Rocker chair, is given to the faculty member who: “Demonstrates dedication to his or her students; exudes energy and enthusiasm for learning; fosters respect for scholarship and provides a consistency of preparation and classroom delivery which stimulates students to want to learn.” The members of the Northwood student body select the faculty winner through nomination and vote.

This year’s winner is Ben Runyon


Ira Flinner served Northwood School as its headmaster from 1926 to 1951. During his long and legendary service, he fostered excellence in academics and character. His influence is with us today, and it lives on through the achievement of this year’s recipients of the Ira A. Flinner Award: Isaac Newcomb and Joanna Rosenbluth.


Harry MacDonald served behind the scenes at Northwood School for thirty years. The award in his name honors a student for whom giving is more important than receiving and who puts the greater good in front of his or her own interests. For all she has done for the greater Northwood School community, we extend our gratitude to: Morgan Broderick.

A $4,000 Scholarship, $1000 per year for four years, is awarded to a student who has achieved outstanding performance in academics, demonstrated excellence in a co- or extra-curricular activity, and who is attending a four-year college or university next year. This year’s co-winners, sharing in this scholarship, are: Aiden Smith and Chelsea Smith.


There’s an essence to Northwood School that cannot be put into words. Instead, it shows itself in the actions and character of its community. For thirty-four years, no one displayed this essence better than Anne Edwards. Inspiring community service, offering a maternal shoulder to students in need, even teaching hockey players to knit, Annie wasn’t just an instructor. She was a living personification of the school itself. This year’s award goes to that student who, like Annie Edwards, understood and fully lived the Northwood experience. Our thanks to Zhuoxian (Simon) Ou.


The Judith K. Good Student Council Award is given in honor of Mrs. Judith Good, who served the Lake Placid community as a mediator and conflict resolution specialist for more than twenty years. The recipient is chosen and the award is given by students themselves in recognition of the qualities of character they see, knowing that student better than any faculty member possibly could. To Aimee Headland – your classmates thank you for being yourself so truly and giving to others so generously.




This plaque is awarded annually to a member of the Senior Class who, over their last three years at Northwood, has shown the greatest academic growth through their hard work and determination to succeed. The award is given in memory of Mr. Roland Urfirer of Lake Placid, who served on the school’s Board of Trustees from 1973 to 2014. We are pleased to recognize Lanxin (Jessica) Lin for her achievements.




This prize is awarded to the student or students in the graduating class who, in the opinion of the headmaster, advised by the faculty, is an individual who has, through his/her character and enthusiasm, contributed in a positive way to enhance the culture of Northwood School. This year, the winner is: John Biechler.

The Senior Scholastic Awards, honoring the two graduating seniors who have achieved the highest academic averages over the past year.

The second highest ranking scholar – Joanna Rosenbluth

The highest ranking scholar – Chelsea Smith


The School Seal is the visual representation of what we are and what we stand for. The annual prize is awarded to the senior who best lives up to the high ideals of our Core Values: Responsibility, Courage, Compassion, Integrity, and Respect. Just as the School Seal represents our school, so does the work and influence of this year’s winner embody all that we aspire to be. This year’s recipient is: Lanxin (Jessica) Lin.


This plaque is awarded to the senior who has shown through influence, character, and service to be the outstanding citizen of the school community, embodying our highest ideals and offering a consistent willingness to work for the betterment of his/her classmates and school. This is Northwood’s highest award. This year’s winner is: Matthew Shanklin.




This plaque is presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in academics and in women’s sports. The recipient is chosen for her accomplishments and enthusiasm in developing both her intellectual and physical being. The winner is: Sarah Coombs.




This is an award given each year by Mr. & Mrs. F. Stillman Hyde and family, in loving memory of Tim Hyde, who graduated from Northwood in 1962. It is given to the hockey player who, in the opinion of the coaches, best exemplifies Tim Hyde’s love of the game and his “never quit” attitude; no matter how stiff the opposition. The winner is: Andrew Gilbert.



Charlie Holt served as a teacher and coach at Northwood School from 1955 to 1962. After Northwood, Charlie was hockey coach at Colby College and the University of New Hampshire. Considered one of the “true gentlemen” of the game, Charlie Holt embodied the best qualities the game has to offer. A plaque is awarded annually by Northwood School to the members of the boys and girls hockey squads who have shown the best sportsmanship in practice and in games. The winners are: Cole Leal and Aimee Headland.

The permanent trophy was given by the late Herbert L. Malcolm, former Headmaster of the Lake Placid School now Northwood School, and the individual plaque is awarded each year to the male and female students who, in the opinion of the faculty Athletic Committee, have shown the best sportsmanship in athletics throughout the year. The award recognizes qualities of character that enhance the excellence of the teams on which the individuals participate and that reflects positively on Northwood as an institution during athletic competition. The winners are: Alex van Schalkwyk and Jane Baumer.


Mark Driscoll, Class of 1970, was the complete skier, competing in cross-country, jumping, and alpine events. His legacy is one of extraordinary enthusiasm and dedication. As an athlete, a student, and a student leader, Dill was one of the school’s most positively influential characters. The school named the premier ski team award in his honor. This year’s winner is: Sarah Bennett.


This award is given to the student athlete of the North Country who best displays Tim Smythe’s leadership and courage and who inspires their teammates to rise to any challenge. The winner is: Will Arquiett.


The English award goes to a student for whom literature is a passport to all lands and ages, for whom writing is an opportunity to convey worthy ideas with passion and grace. The winner this year is: Aleksei Rutkovskii.


The Science award is given to a senior who has demonstrated both interest and achievement in the field of science. This student has a strong desire to understand scientific concepts and has an inquisitive mind. In addition, this student thinks about the topics beyond the scope of the classroom and completes every assignment with diligence and effort. This year’s winner is: Isaac Newcomb.


The Mathematics award is made to a student who combines talent with hard work, and whose curiosity and creative thinking provide a lively model for maximizing learning in mathematics. The winner this year is: Joanna Rosenbluth.


The Language prize is awarded to the student who passionately pursues skill in the speaking, reading, and writing of a foreign language. For French, this year’s recipient is: Sarah Coombs.


The Social Science award is presented for excellence in the appreciation and understanding of issues in the Social Sciences. This year’s winner is: Lanxin (Jessica) Lin.


Creativity, passion, energy, and a zest for artistic excellence are qualities that describe the recipient of this award. The Arts Department Prize goes to: Yuqi (Jessie) Li.


The English as a Second Language Prize is given to the senior who has excelled both in English language fluency as well as cultural fluency. This student, through hard work, patience, and involvement, has enriched the Northwood community. The winner this year is: Pedro Paggi Simoes.


The Deo B. Colburn scholarships are awarded to students of Essex and Franklin counties who have demonstrated good scholarship and strong character during their years in secondary school. The grants come from the foundation established by Mr. Colburn, Northwood’s long time neighbor. This year, the following student has been selected to receive this award: Kevin Quinn.


Ten Students Inducted into Cum Laude Society


Ten students were inducted into Northwood School’s Cum Laude Society at School Meeting on Friday, May 10. They join four seniors who were inducted to the honor society last year. The Cum Laude Society is Northwood School’s highest academic honor.

Founded in 1906, the Cum Laude Society is dedicated to honoring scholastic achievement in secondary schools. The founders of the society modeled Cum Laude after Phi Beta Kappa and in the years since its founding, Cum Laude has grown to 382 chapters, mostly at Independent schools in the United States.

The 2019 class of the Cum Laude Society inducted on May 10 includes Jane Baumer ’19, Lanxin Lin ’19, Beth Fisher ’19, Alex van Schalkwyk ’19, Courtney Fairchild ’20, Zachary Ellsworth ’20, Aleksei Rutkovskii ’19, Rachel Rosner ’20, Erin Hooper ’20, and Rintaro Akasaka ’20. They were joined at the ceremony by Cum Laude Society members who were inducted in 2019: Isaac Newcomb ’19, Chelsea Smith ’19, Aiden Smith ’19, Joanna Rosenbluth ’19.

“The 57 Bus” is Next All-School Read


The 2019 All-School Read is The 57 Bus, by Dashka Slater, pictured here with other recent All-School Reads (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

At School Meeting today, Assistant Head of School Mr. John Spear announced that The 57 Bus will be Northwood School’s 2019 All-School Read. Written by Dashka Slater and published in 2017, The 57 Bus is a true story that centers on the lives of two high school students in Oakland, California. [Read more…]

Student Wins Grant to Install Solar Charging Stations on Campus

JJ and TE

Mr. Tyler Eaton presents Su Hae Jang ’20 with the $1,000 grant award to help build solar-powered charging stations on campus.

Junior Jessica (Su Hae) Jang applied for and received a mini-grant from The Wild Center’s Adirondack Youth Climate Summit towards her solar-powered charging stations project for phones and laptops. Her effort is part of Northwood’s Sustainability Committee.

Last February, Jessica Jang, Braelyn Tebo, and Imani Rodriguez went to the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit in Tupper Lake. Back then, they discussed how they could apply what they learned to their community at Northwood School, and that’s where their idea came: charging station powered with solar energy.

The Sustainability Committee got the support for the project from Head of School Mr. Michael Maher in February. After drawing a sketch and deciding the location, the committee submitted it for a second approval from Maher who was totally impressed and proposed to build two instead of only one. Environmental science teacher Mr. Tyler Eaton is going to assist the students with this project as well as the robotic program.

The Sustainability Committee is trying to involve as many students as they can to help with this project. It is a very expensive project; the cost total would be around $1,200, including the 300-watt solar panels. Fortunately, the Wild Center in Tupper Lake is supporting this idea and made a donation of $1,000 to help the school fund the project.

The solar panels are going to be provided by a local company, called Crust Solar, who is going to help to install the panels because it is very complicated. The two phone charger stations will be located in both of the academic building, right under the stairs. Students will be able to charge their phone while they are in class. Thirty phones can be charged at the same time, fifteen phones per station. These stations will be set up for the beginning of next year.

If this project is successful, the committee is thinking about installing one in Northwood on Main and also in the main building.

Renovations Begin at Northwood on Main

For more than three years, Northwood on Main has been somewhat of a mystery to Northwood students. The empty building in the center of town, purchased by Northwood in late 2015 and vacant since long before that, finally has some activity in it. Renovations began earlier this spring on the old building formerly known as With Pipe and Book.


Photo: Adirondack Daily Enterprise (Chris Knight)

According to Assistant Head of School Mr. Tom Broderick, “Northwood School on Main is an extension of the school’s campus and educational philosophy to engage students in the active pursuit of knowledge through exploration and inquiry. Our extraordinary location rooted in the Adirondacks combined with the school’s highly talented faculty and diverse academic programming enhances our goal to provide experiences that create confident, globally-minded students ready to innovate and adapt to our ever-changing world.”

Broderick added, “Programs like Entrepreneurial Studies, Innovation + Design, Robotics, Aviation Science, and Olympic Physics will expand with the addition of this new facility allowing Northwood School to offer an interdisciplinary approach to education that emphasizes active learning and creating, challenging students to become resilient, independent thinkers.”

The facilities are set to open during the first trimester of the 2019-20 school year. Local newspapers have reported on the story, including The Lake Placid News and Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Small Dorm Room Fire Quickly Extinguished

Less than halfway through first period on Thursday, students heard the familiar sound of the school’s fire alarm. Considering there was a false alarm the day before, and numerous others this year, many students thought nothing of it and some were happy to get out of their first-period class.


Photo: Jack LaDuke (Plattsburgh Press-Republican)

As students assembled in their appointed location to be counted, it became clear that this wasn’t a normal false alarm. As fire trucks arrived, they laid thick, heavy hoses on the school’s driveway. One of the firefighters donned an air pack and ran into the building with a fire extinguisher. As faculty and firefighters scrambled around the first truck to arrive on the scene, it became clear that this was a real emergency. A dorm room on Third East was on fire and smoke was in the hallway.

Kyle Bavis ‘19 is one of the two students who resides in the room affected by the fire. Bavis was in class at the time, but his roommate was sound asleep in the room and was woken up by the alarm. “I came out of class thinking nothing was wrong and it was a regular fire drill, but my roommate came out and said our room was on fire I was both shocked and worried.”

Bavis’s roommate was treated for a minor burn on his foot. Both roommates have been moved to other dorm rooms while the affected room is cleaned and repaired.

First period was rescheduled to the end of the day. Second-period classes normally held in the main building were canceled, but otherwise, the academic day went on normally.

Head of School Mr. Michael Maher sent this announcement to the community later in the morning:

To the Northwood School Community:

I am writing to inform you of an incident at Northwood School this morning. During first period, the school’s fire detection and alarm system was activated, and the school was evacuated according to our usual procedures. All Students, faculty, and staff were quickly accounted for and safe.

Faculty and maintenance staff found smoke and a small fire in the affected dormitory room and extinguished the fire.

The Lake Placid Fire Department arrived shortly thereafter, and by third period, all classes resumed normally. One student suffered minor burns and was treated at the scene and is back in class. Parents of the students in the affected dorm room were immediately notified.

The Northwood School community is grateful for the fast response and professional service of the Lake Placid Fire Department and other emergency services that responded.

Should you have any questions, please contact John Spear, the newly-appointed Assistant Head of School Life (spearj@northwoodschool.com and 518-302-5123).

Michael Maher
Head of School

David McCauley Named Director of College Counseling

McCauley Replaces Spear, who Takes on New Role


F. David McCauley, Jr. (Photo: Berkshire School)

Head of School Michael J. Maher has announced the appointment of F. David McCauley, Jr. to the position of Director of College Counseling for Northwood School, effective in early July. David will bring years of experience in college counseling and admissions to his new responsibilities.

McCauley replaces John Spear ’88, who has served as Director of College Counseling since 2011 and will take on a new position, beginning in July, as Assistant Head for School Life. In that role, Spear will be focused on managing the internal life of the school, including student affairs and overseeing the execution of critical projects and initiatives.

Currently, McCauley is the Director of College Counseling at Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. While there, he has provided college-related guidance and support for students and their parents, transitioned professional relationships with college admission officers to best serve students in the college admission process and originated visit programs for college admission deans and vice presidents to showcase academic programs and overseen office staff. A member of the residential faculty, he also has been an advisor and assisted with residential program duties.

Prior to his work at Berkshire School, McCauley spent four years as Director of College Counselling and Assistant Registrar at Beijing High School No. 4 and Beijing National Day School in China. He has also worked as an admissions officer at Hamilton College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Creighton University and Siena College.

David has served as a source of secondary school and college admission information and has been quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Lawlor Review.  McCauley has consulted the undergraduate admission offices of nearly 100 colleges and universities including: Brown, Boston College, Bowdoin, Colby, Colgate, Johns Hopkins, and UPenn.

A graduate of Colby College with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, and St. Lawrence University with an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, McCauley is active in numerous professional associations.

David and his wife Marleny and their son Sean, will be joining the Northwood community this summer.

“I am thrilled to welcome David McCauley and his family to the Northwood School community,” said Headmaster Michael J. Maher. “David’s extensive experience on both sides of the college admission desk and his student-centered approach will serve Northwood students and their families well as they navigate the college search and make the best matches for their lives after Northwood School.”

Northwood to Adopt Block Schedule Next School Year

Most colleges students have classes that last about an hour and meet fewer than five times per week. Next year, so will Northwood School students.

Beginning in the 2019-2020 academic school year, the class schedule will shift from every class meeting every day for forty minutes with five minutes of passing time between periods to five of seven classes meeting each day, for fifty-five minutes and with fifteen minutes of passing time between periods. The longer passing time in the new schedule will allow for shuttles to transport students between the classroom buildings on campus and Northwood on Main, which will open in the fall.



The New Block Schedule of Classes will begin next school year. Underclass students will try out the new schedule later this spring.


The academic day will start at 7:55 and end at 2:50 and will include a dedicated time at 10:40 am for “Community Meetings,” which on some days will be school meeting and other days would include advisory, class, and club meetings at 10:40. Additionally, there will be designated shuttle runs to the classes that will be taught at Northwood School on Main and two flex periods.

keep-calm-new-schedule-coming-soonThe new schedule was announced by Mr. Jamie Welsh at a recent school meeting. Welsh is part of a faculty committee that worked on the new schedule. Welsh also explained that between December and April, classes will continue to be held in the afternoon. During the winter months. athletics will still meet in the mornings and classes in the evenings.

Underclass students will have an opportunity to give the new schedule a try. The school will run a trial of the new block schedule after LEAP and before final exams. Students will have many opportunities to offer feedback and suggestions on the new schedule during the trial.

More information about the trial will be shared by Dr. Laura Finnerty Paul in the coming weeks.

Skate it Forward Raises Money for 9/11 First Responders

Skate It Forward

The participants in Skate it Forward, the student-led fundraising for the Ray Pfeifer Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting September 11th first responders, firefighters and police, with medical needs not covered by insurance. (Photo: Mr. Tom Broderick)

To cap off a busy March filled with events like Winter Carnival and the end of the winter sports season, Northwood’s service organization CARE organized a hockey tournament fundraiser called Skate it Forward on March 24. Led by Senior Morgan Broderick ’19 under the guidance of faculty members Jeff Nemec ’05 and Aerie Treska, this year’s event raised funds for the Ray Pfeifer Foundation, a charitable organization started by a group of FDNY first responders, including alumnus Rob Serra ’97. Serra is a retired New York City firefighter whose first day on the job was at Ground Zero on 9/11. The organization works to raise money for 9/11 first responders with medical needs not covered by insurance.

Skate it Forward boasted 14 teams and countless volunteers this year. The event raised over $1,000 for the Ray Pfeifer Foundation.

This article originally appeared in the Northwood News newsletter.

Secret Mueller Documents Link Northwood Student to Russian Collusion

April 1, 2019 — The Mueller report is in, and Donald Trump has been found not guilty of colluding with Russia during his campaign. While the President claims to be cleared of all charges, a whole new scandal, with roots at Northwood School, has been unearthed in its place.

Hidden deep in the mountains of files collected by the Mueller investigation is a group of documents that connects a Northwood student to a bold scheme to illegally influence the election in favor of Trump. The documents were leaked to The Mirror anonymously, and the veracity of the files was confirmed by two independent sources close to the investigation.


Northwood sophomore Riley Biro allegedly colluded with Russia (photo: Facebook).

According to the leaked documents, someone with the username “RBMountianMan” has been engaged in numerous communications with high-level government officials in St. Petersburg, Russia, and may have even aided in Russian collusion to turn the 2016 presidential election for Donald Trump. The most troubling part of this news is that RBMountainMan’s IP address traces all the way back to Northwood School’s GPS coordinates.

Anonymous high-level sources close to the Mueller probe have concluded that Riley Biro, a Northwood School sophomore from Virginia, is the prime suspect in this alleged collusion scandal. The Mirror has also confirmed that Biro is the only student in the school with the initials “R.B.” and that he is a mountain climber of some renown.

Sources close to the story say Biro began colluding with Russia from his home in Virginia in the months before the election. Biro chose to transfer to Northwood because of the school’s strategic location deep in the Adirondacks. Intelligence experts believe that Northwood’s far northern location could allow Biro easy access to transmit radio signals over Greenland straight to Russia.

“The distance would be much longer if he had to transmit it all the way from his home in Virginia.  In a way, this treasonous plot by Biro was actually somewhat genius,” said Matt Donaldson, a Professor of Technology and Criminal Justice at Johns Hopkins University, when asked about the story following one of his classes recently.


The estimated path of Biro’s radio transmissions.

Furthermore, radio signals far north are hard to detect because there are very few American radars that are aligned to pick up signals directly over Greenland, not to mention the common blizzard-like conditions that impede American radar tracking.

The dense Adirondack Mountains also shield Biro’s radio signals from intelligence agencies south of the school, keeping both the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio unaware of his stealth actions. If he had continued this colluding with Russian back in Virginia, the radar at these stations would have most likely picked up his signals and have ordered Biro’s immediate arrest.

President Trump took to Twitter to distance himself from Biro, but deleted the post shortly after tweeting it:

Trump 2020
Digging into Mueller documents even further, it has even been found that in order to keep Riley Biro’s last name private, the Russians have used a Clever Title for Riley’s Slush fund, “The Riley Bureau of Campaign Funds.”

Most people at Northwood were shocked that their sleepy school in the woods is linked to a global news story. But not everyone is surprised that Biro is involved. Northwood’s Director of Technology and Robotics instructor Mr. Jeff Martin said he saw a warning sign. “I have always expected Riley to do something like this,” said Martin. “In fact, during study hall one night, I saw Riley downloading the Tor Browser which is often used for surfing on the dark web. But to this extent? Wow, just wow.”

School administrators refused to comment on this developing story, expressing concerns for student privacy. Saying that the Northwood community is shocked by these developments would be an understatement.

The Mirror will continue reporting on this breaking news story as new developments unfold.

The Mirror was established in 1927
© 2015-2019 by the Staff of The Mirror
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