Burk Learns Game Design with C++ in Independent Study

Northwood offers a space for students to pursue their niche interests through its independent study program. People like Liam Burke ’24 are taking advantage of the opportunities and pursuing their passions. Liam Burke’s Independent study is on game design using C++, one of the most common and versatile programming languages.

As he progressed and built his first few computers, his interest changed. “When I was 14, I became interested in building computer hardware,” Burk said. “After I built my first few computers, I became interested in the software aspect of it.” Burk realized that programming languages were the foundation of computer software, and it “made me feel like a creator,” he said.

Liam’s passion for programming eventually led him to explore game design. This, in part, was due to Liam’s uncle, who works as a game designer for Realities.io and is producing a game that will be released on PlayStation. Liam’s old school did not support independent projects, so he pursued game design at Northwood as an independent study. He felt that game design would be a perfect independent study and “A way to do something I like and get credit for it.” He worked diligently and taught himself C++, and once he felt comfortable with the programming language, he enrolled in a course that specialized in using C++ for game programming.

Throughout his project, Liam met with his teacher, Ms. Carmichael, to check his progress and stay on track. This helped him to stay motivated and focused on his goal of designing a game from scratch. Liam began the design process by brainstorming ideas and creating a general outline for his game. Next, he started programming, breaking the process down into four distinct steps.

“I started by designing the game world, creating the character and implementing the input movement, implementing the game mechanics, and finally, tweaking the lighting,” Burk said.

After many months of hard work, Liam has completed the first level of his game, which equals approximately 20 minutes of gameplay. This is an impressive achievement for a high school student. Liam’s game is a third-person playable on PC, demonstrating his expertise in C++ and his ability to apply that knowledge to create a fun and engaging gaming experience.

Humans of Northwood: Lucca Campagnani ‘23

“I am from Panama City, Panama, and I am a PG at Northwood. I am 19 years old. For my whole life, I have lived in Panama. I am also a high-level athlete; my main sport is soccer. I come from a family of three: my mother; father; and I, which makes me an only child. My mother is from Columbia, and she has been living in Panama for 25 years. My father is Panamanian and it’s just us three at home.

“During my time in Panama, I played some American football for fun, and I did it for 3 years. I played as a running back and my memories of playing American football are filled with joy since all my friends played with me. Another fact about me is that I represented Panama at the youth level of U16 and U17 for soccer and represented them in a Concacaf tournament in Florida.”

As told to AJ Etunmu ‘25. Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge.

Girls Champs, Prep Runner Up in Northwood Tourney

The Girls Hockey Team with the championship trophy at the 2023 Northwood Invitational Hockey Tournament (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge).

The 43rd Annual Northwood Tournament was held February 10-12 at the Lake Placid Olympic Center. The tournament was held over three days and consisted of a Girls’ division, a Varsity division, and a Prep division. Northwood had three teams compete in the tournament, one in each division. Below are the division orientations for the tournament.

Girls Division


Boys Prep Division


Varsity Division


The Varsity team went into the tournament riding high off a 4-1 win the previous weekend. Even better, goaltender Drew Donatello returned from his bout with Mono to attempt to backstop them to glory. This would not be the case. The first game was a 6-5 barnburner, resulting in a Northwood loss. Two 4-1 wins would put the Varsity team back in the running for a championship berth, but they would ultimately lose 1-0 to C.P. Dynamo to cost them their berth in the finals in a game that was decided late after almost 40 minutes of no score. In Varsity’s division, Stanstead College’s U16 team won it all, defeating South Kent in the finals to secure the hardware. Captain Cam Abel said this about his team’s performance: “It was pretty good for us. We came out strong, but we lost our first game by 1, so that was tough, but overall we played some pretty good hockey. We struggled with scoring, but we had a pretty good tournament overall. Obviously not the result we wanted, but it was a good experience to play in front of our friends and family.”

Tournament Photo Album

The Girl’s team fared considerably better than Varsity. Sure, it may have been a light schedule, but the Huskies’ girl’s crew probably set some records in terms of what utter domination could look like. It started with an 11-0 rout in a game where they switched to a running clock as a mercy rule. The next two games were smooth sailing, resulting in 3-0 and 7-1 wins against Thetford and Nichols, respectively. Then, in the semifinals, they won 4-2 against Winchendon White, before facing Nichols again in the Finals and winning 4-1. The Girls’ team was the only one of the three Northwood teams to win hardware from this tournament, bouncing back from last year’s shootout loss in the finals to the same Nichols team.

Tournament Photo Album

The Prep Team, meanwhile, looked to be on track to winning the title at first. It went a perfect 4-0 through the group stages, with wins against Thetford (4-1), Mount Academy (5-1), the Little Flyers (5-3), and Nichols (4-0). However, another team had an undefeated record; their buddies from down south in South Kent. They also went 4-0, and the finals game was a good look at what happens when an almost unstoppable force meets an immovable object. They were defeated 3-2 in a game that felt nowhere near as close. South Kent’s defense was suffocating, and for a team that relied heavily on dump-and-chase, the Huskies sure got beaten to a lot of pucks.

Tournament Photo Album

Overall, though, it was a good tournament for all 3 teams, as they gear up for the home stretches of each of their seasons.

Soccer Team Goes 3-1-2 in Albany Showcase

On February 6, Northwood’s soccer programs traveled to Albany to compete in a college showcase. Both the U17 and U19 teams participated in the event. This was a great opportunity to play on a full-length pitch since the players have been training on Northwood’s small indoor field for several months.

Calem Tommy ’22 in action at home on Northwood’s new turf field (photo provided).

Games were only 40 minutes long with only 2 minutes between games, which resulted in each Northwood team playing three games on Sunday.

The games kicked off when the U17 team played a hard-fought game against Quick Strike FC. This match ended 0-0 with strong effort from the young Huskies. Next up the U19s started their weekend with a demanding 3-0 win against the NY Alleycats. Goals came from Liam Doyle ’22 and Junior Happi ’23.

The U17s bounced back with a strong 2-0 victory with goals coming from Gonzalo Munoz ’25 and Saquiel Ming ‘24. Shortly after the older Huskies entered the pitch again to take on New York Elite. The final score was 4-0 in favor of the U19s, with goals coming from Calem Tommy ’22, Doyle and Noah Ledell ’23.

Each squad had now played two games with one remaining. Both teams would play against Hoosac school in the afternoon. For the U19s, this was a highly anticipated matchup, considering Hoosac had beat them in a friendly back in December. Unfortunately, U17s lost 2-0 but they did show strong character by playing until the last minute. The older squad played an extremely close game by they could not avenge December’s loss and the score ended with no score. Each team had plenty of chances to score but the most prominent example would be a Hoosac breakaway that Senior Aristide Gry saved.

This rounded out a strong showing for the Huskies who will now rest up before a busy spring schedule.

Haunted Classroom Brings Frights to Campus 

Illustration: Facebook (Northwood School)

In the spirit of Halloween, the student activities committee, in collaboration with student leaders, came together and organized an event where they decorated and transformed the Uihlein classroom building into a “Haunted Classroom”, which was open to the Northwood community. The student leaders planned the event the week before Halloween to accommodate the teams who were away for the following week.

For the first 15 minutes, the attraction was less scary, thus many faculty brought their children to give this challenge a try, or maybe they were too scared to go in alone. For those who dared, the scarier journey was afterward. A walk through the Uihlein building was no longer a pleasant one.

The students who volunteered to scare visitors dressed up as “clowns, ghosts, and costumes they made themselves,” Amanda Nelson ‘21 said. Nelson took part in organizing and participated as a “scarer.” A couple of others wore masks from the movie “Friday the 13th,” she added. The building was decorated with caution tape, spiderwebs, skulls, strobe lights, and a lot of other Halloween decorations to “make the building look spooky.” They then hid throughout the building in spots that were cleverly planned out to get the loudest screams from those who entered. 

“Watching and hearing the screams and laughs of people running out the building was hilarious,” Nelson added. 

Overall, the Haunted Classroom was a success for not only the students who organized it but also for the Northwood community who thoroughly enjoyed the event. 

Soccer Dominates Prep Foes in Showcase [Slideshows]

The Northwood soccer team traveled to Albany, NY to face some of the best prep competitions in the Northeast. Both the U19 and U17 teams participated in the NXT LVL showcase, at Afrims Sports Center, and the program made a statement by winning all four games they played.  

The U17 team, coached by Mr. Kelvin Martinez, faced much older opponents in both matches as they played U19 squads. The team collectively rose to the occasion winning their first match 1-0 against Kimball Union with a freekick goal from Saquiel Ming ‘24The U17s finished of the weekend with a decisive 5-1 win over Pomfret School with goals coming from Jeremy Tsang ‘23,  Saquiel Ming ‘22 (2 goals), Lokoah Paye ‘25, and Gonazalo Munoz ‘24. 

Slideshow from Kimball Union Academy match (photos by Mr. Michael Aldridge):

Northwood’s U19 team opened the weekend playing Phillips Exeter Academy under the lights at Afrims. The Huskies started with high energy and quickly went a goal up after Calem Tommy ‘22 sent a shot curling past the keeper after only a few minutes. The next goal came from senior Connor DeAngelis later in the first half. The team finished out the game with a 2-0 win in front of many notable college recruiters.  

Slideshow from the Exeter match (photos by Mr. Michael Aldridge):

The final game of the weekend was against Williston Northampton School, and the older Northwood squad finished with a 1-0 win. The lone goal was scored by Liam Doyle ‘22 in the opening half. Both teams have a solid week of training ahead followed by their first off weekend of the season. Their next games will be October 9th and 10th in Albany, NY.  

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