December 9, 2016 • Volume: 2016-17, Issue 17
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Our Recent Accreditation Visit

From Deborah Jessee, Assistant Head of School for Academics

As described on the VAIS website, the VAIS process of accreditation is based on a regular, professional peer assessment of the degree to which the school supports its stated mission in a thoughtful, sustainable, and responsible manner. Schools receiving full accreditation meet the standards of membership and have successfully completed a self-study and evaluation by VAIS. Full membership is granted only upon approval by the VAIS Board of Directors based on the Accreditation Committee’s recommendation.

The VAIS Accreditation Committee appointed a Visiting Team for our ten-year accreditation visit to receive the North Cross School report, curriculum, and other pertinent information in advance of the December 4-6 visit. The process began months ago as all divisions and departments began the task of gathering and organizing all of the necessary documentation. Jennifer Landry, my partner in this process and the Steering Committee Chair, spent a great deal of time on the project – it could not have happened without her careful attention to every detail.

During their on-site visit, the team examined NCS through interviews with representatives of all constituent groups, classroom visits, and observations of campus life. We organized a Curriculum Fair which was held in the CAC this past Sunday, December 4th. This was a one-stop showcase for all of our classroom teachers as well as co-curricular programs and resources such as the Hancock Library, musical theater and drama, clubs, CrossWalk, Global Studies, and Extended Day. Everyone was able to show off their syllabi and the hard work of our students; it brought our entire program to life in an engaging and dynamic way.

Once they had finished their work on campus, team members voted on NCS having met VAIS membership standards. I am happy to report we passed all standards!

Campus Update

It's How They Roll

Massey Semler '17  (lower right) is our "repeat" champion in the 3rd Annual Upper School Bowling Event held last Saturday night at Lee-Hi Lanes!  55 students and 6 faculty members joined the fun, ate lots of pizza, and showed some serious bowling skills! Even Upper School Director Mark Thompson came to show off his skills (upper right).

Holiday Gathering - New Location

Due to high winds and low temperatures, our Holiday Tree Lighting is scheduled for tonight at 6:00 until 8:00pm in Lemon Dining Hall for family fun, music, food, and visits with Santa. 

Remember: The festivities are free but we do ask for a donation of a new, unwrapped toy. If you didn't have a chance to donate new, unwrapped toys to our Holiday Toy Drive to benefit CHIP and Turning Point, you can bring your gift to the gathering. Just look for the festively decorated box.

Last Chance to Get Discounted Tickets

Please join us for a special North Cross Ice Hockey Night with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs on Friday, January 6th at 7:05pm at the Berglund Center! 
Ticket forms must be returned by Wednesday, December 14th with a check made payable to NCS for the total amount of the tickets. You may turn them in to your Division Assistant or to your child's homeroom teacher. Tickets are a discounted to $11 each, and for each ticket sold, the NCS Parents' Association will donate $5 to support the Arts Program at NCS.  

Witnessing More

A note from David Lake, parent and Director of Admission

In my recent interactions with families visiting our school, I’m pleased to hear about all the things they notice. They remark on the orderly demeanor in our classrooms, they hear and see our faculty engaged with our students, they are impressed with our lower school students’ cursive handwriting and comfort with Spanish, they appreciate Mrs. Hamlin talking about getting along with others, and they notice the smiles on the faces of our students. They comment on the diversity of our student body and our safe campus feel. Because of a robust website, each comes to our school with an appreciation of the many things that happen here and each has walked away with a favorable impression of what they have experienced. It’s fun showing people around and sharing why we think this place is so very special.

Academic Update

Senior Speeches This Week 

Laney Fralin ’17 and Caroline McGimsey ’17 can cross one thing off of their senior bucket list: their presentation to the Upper School. Laney Fralin ’17 presented her topic this Monday morning on service and therapy animals and the unique benefits they provide to those who are differently-abled, physically and/or emotionally. Along with her, Tide, a dog trained by St. Francis Service Dogs, and his handler demonstrated some of the physical tasks these animals can accomplish so that those they serve can remain independent.

On Wednesday, Caroline McGimsey ’17 presented a thoughtful perspective: The Perception of America through Pop Culture. She discussed how many of the films we produce, which may have nominal success here, are quite popular abroad and gross quite higher numbers than on American soil. With the predominance of the Internet and social media channels, such as YouTube, the media readily available to foreign cultures paints quite a different picture of Americans than reality would portray.

Dec 9  Sulan Yan, Globalization
Dec 12  Blake Marvin, Law Enforcement and Its Impact on Community Relationships
Dec 14  Margaret Lawrence, Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response

Photos and audio can be found on the Featured Content section of onCampus.

If These Walls Could Talk, Part Two

Now that the Lower School students are almost half done with their year, we've started to notice some more intricately creative projects lining the walls. Here's a peek into what our youngest scholars have been up to lately.

Staff Story: Sharnice Mayo ’11

Pictured: Sharnice with her sister, Sha'kia, left, and her mother, Monique.

Hometown: Roanoke
Current Position: Assistant to the Director of the Upper School
Year Appointed: 2014

What is your hometown? Roanoke, Va 

What’s your passion here? What motivates you to do what you do? I have enjoyed working with all of the students and my wonderful coworkers at North Cross. Luckily for me, I have had the chance to work with all ages, which is a great experience. Also, it's a wonderful feeling to wake up and be happy to go to work, because I know that some people are not able to say that. I tell people that I have two families—the family who raised me and my work family. 

How has North Cross changed compared to when you were a student here? Two people who I wish we had when I went to school here are who I call "The Susans." Susan Wenk and Susan Card have helped add "the fun" back in the upper school. I am just amazed at all of the hard work that they put into each event to amp up our school spirit. We did not have the extravagant pep rallies like the students do now nor the chance to be nominated and vote for homecoming king and queen. They are AWESOME! 


Arts Update

Choral Concert Was a (Baby) Grand Affair

This Tuesday the Lower School Chorus, Middle School Concert Choir, and the Upper School Chorale performed seasonal selections for a packed house in Fishburn Auditorium. However, they had to share the spotlight with the newly installed Yamaha baby grand piano that had been delivered earlier that day. Albert Newberry ’17 christened the instrument with his accompaniment for several pieces as well as "welcome music" for the audience as they found their seats. Ocean Ding ’18 accompanied the Middle School performers on one of their pieces, and Victoria Riego de Dios ’19 sang "Believe" (made famous by the movie "The Polar Express") between the Middle and Upper School Programs.

Student Artist Recognized at Local Show

Students in Upper School art classes are required to do weekly assignments outside of class. They choose from a variety of options, such as drawing in their sketchbook or visiting a gallery. Another option is to enter an art show. One show promoted in class this fall was Carilion Clinic’s first patient art show. The juried exhibit is an initiative of the Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Program, conducted in partnership with the National Arts Program®, and includes artwork from all ages and abilities with classifications of Youth, Teen, Adult Amateur, Adult Intermediate and Adult Professional. Freshman Midora Firebaugh entered a watercolor painting entitled Why Can’t I Have That? She is a student in Introductory Art class at NCS and takes private lessons with Whitney Brock. At last week’s reception to announce winners, Midora not only won first place in the Teen Category, but she also won the LinDor Arts People’s Choice award out of all the pieces in the show! 

Athletics Update

Athletic Awards

On Thursday, Middle and Upper School students assembled for the Fall Athletic Awards. Each varsity and JV team recognized MVP and Coaches' Awards recipients. A full list of students who earned an athletic award is posted on the Crossties Blog. Coach Lilly Judge (field hockey) and Coach Amy Bagliani (girls tennis) were each named BRC Coach of the Year, and Coach Bagliani was also named State Coach of the Year. Congratulations to all of our athletes and coaches on a remarkable fall season!

Photo credit: Emmy Graham '19
:: MVP and Coaches Award Recipients


JV boys basketball lost to Patrick Henry in a close 48-43 game.
The girls swim team finished the four-team dual meet with 3 wins and 1 loss.
The boys swim team finished the four-team dual meet with 2 wins and 2 loses.
Boys varsity basketball won 70-51 over Fishburne Military School.
JV boys basketball scored a close 37-35 win against Fishburne Military School.

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