December 16, 2016 • Volume: 2016-17, Issue 18
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The Virtues of Character

From Christian J. Proctor, PhD, Head of School

This morning, I was reminded by a grandparent about my holiday Crossties article last year where I quoted David Brooks and wrote about eulogy virtues, résume virtues, and the development of character.  I re-read the article and still recommend his book, The Road to Character as a Christmas present.
That being said, the book speaks about individual character but in advance of the holiday season, I want to talk about corporate character which I will define as the character of a group of people or an institution.  Stay with me, as I realize the day before break is not an ideal time to get too deep into a subject. However, I do want to reflect a little on the eulogy and resume virtues of North Cross.
Frequently, I mention résume virtues in my remarks about North Cross, either written or spoken. College admissions, our number of AP Scholars, test scores, and honor roll status are frequent markers which we use to establish the quality of a North Cross education.  I continue to believe that these are the basics we must use to establish our bona fides for prospective parents. But, the reality is that the greatest benefit of a North Cross education lies in the eulogy virtues we teach. Following are a few examples, but it may be productive for you to think a little about your child’s experience at North Cross and come up with your own list of those which you have seen being imparted upon your child while they have been here.

Campus Update

Grandparents and Special Friends' Day

This Friday, students in the Lower School welcomed grandparents and special visitors to campus. Hometown Bank sponsored an estate planning seminar, students shared breakfast with their family, and they were treated to portraits by Lifetouch Photography. The morning ended with the Lower School Holiday Performance of songs and musical arrangements with an Island theme, featuring the Bahama Mamas, a local steel drum group.

Ye Olde Bus Trip

What do you get when you mix a bunch of fourth graders, some parents, two very patient teachers and an even more patient bus driver? A lot of fun, that's what. The entire fourth grade visited Colonial Williamsburg last Thursday and Friday for their first overnight trip as a class. They toured the government buildings, dwellings and shops of the former capitol and even did a spooky night tour with a storyteller as their guide. The next day brought them to Yorktown where they visited the battle's completely renovated museum and toured a simulation of military and farm life during that time. Thank you to Mrs. Lawrence and Ms. Cook for organizing this truly memorable trip and to all the parents who volunteered as chaperones. Your help was as priceless as that silver skull of Blackbeard's (you had to be there). 

Academic Update

Learning Doesn't Take A Sick Day

We have quite a few students who are out of school with various illnesses, but they don't have to miss class. Seventh graders Tanner Vogel and Reagan Karlen were at home sick today, but their classmates Shayla Kyle and Joelle Juneau were able to get their science labs done with their sick partners. They Face Timed Tanner who in turn Face Timed Reagan—you never miss a day of class in Eaton Hall!


Second grade students had some captivating visitors this week. Fourth grade and Science teacher Betsy Cook; ECP teacher and Extended Day Director DaRyan Horner; and Director of the Lower School Victor Lamas came on different days this week to retell a childhood memory. The stories are an effort to prepare the students for a special homework assignment over the break: using a guide, they will collect a story from a family member or friend from when they were a child, then when the kids return, they'll put these memoirs in writing. Above, Betsy Cook tells the students when she and her sister longed for a pony and how, eventually, their wish came true.

Senior Speech This Week 

What better holiday gift than to go on break knowing you're done with your senior speech? Margaret Lawrence ’17 completed her presentation this week entitled: Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response. The sound board is still experiencing technical problems so we were unable to record the speech in its entirety, however, there is a 15-minute clip from the speech in video in the Featured Content Section in onCampus. She did a fantastic job and we expect to have the problems sorted out by the time the students return.

ON THAT NOTE: If any student who gave a speech but whose recording failed and who would like to re-record their speech, please let Jessica Schindhelm know at, and she will set up a time. Please note, these recordings are for audio only.

Math so Fun You can Taste It

The kids in second grade showed great self restraint while practicing their math skills using holiday treats. They have just begun their unit on multiplication. The students used M&Ms to make number arrays, and used multiplication to find the number of various features on multiple gingerbread men. At the end of the lesson, all of the treats mysteriously disappeared. How's that for subtraction?

Staff Story: Shawn Lee

Pictured: Shawn with his son Tyler, left and wife Dee

What is your hometown? I was born in Abingdon, VA and spent most of my life in Wichita, KS and Smithfield, NC but found a home in Roanoke, VA.

What’s your passion here? What motivates you to do what you do? My passion would absolutely be my NCS family, including students, teachers, staff, and parents! Every day I look forward to my interactions with them all! Even though name is typically synonymous with whatever current disaster or emergency is at hand, I feel no less a part of it. My motivation is making this a great place to be.

What is one thing the North Cross community doesn't know about you? Probably, people don't know that I love art; but more then just art, the passion of why or how it was created. Growing up I wanted to be an artist and actually became very good at it. Unfortunately, I started focusing more on drafting and architecture and finally building and mechanical. But whenever I have a chance, it's always nice to just sit back and create something.   


Arts Update

The Holidays Never Sounded so Sweet

This Tuesday night in Lemon Dining Hall, the middle and upper school band students performed their Holiday Program for the North Cross community. Photos from the performance can be found by visiting the link below.

Banding Together

Here are the results from the High School All District Band auditions that were held last Satruday, December 10 at Franklin County High School. We had 10 NCS band students audition and 5 were placed. Congratulations! The following students will be representing North Cross School at the All District Weekend, February 3-4, at Cave Spring High School:

Helen Schmedtje -  (flute) 5th chair All District Symphonic Band
Kevin Bao (contra - alto clarinet) 2nd chair All District Symphonic Band 

Caroline McGimsey - (clarinet) 10th chair All District Concert Band
Brian Bao - (clarinet) 2nd chair All District Concert Band
Lauren Daniel - (clarinet) 18th chair All District Band

Christmas in the Islands

Despite below freezing temperatures, the audience in the CAC may have been tempted to pull out their grass skirts this morning. In keeping with tradition of presenting different themed holiday programs, Lower School Music Director Richard Rudolph worked with the Lower School students to arrange an amazing assortment of instruments (ukuleles to marimbas) and voices to create an Island Christmas performance. Songs from the Caribbean and Hawaii rung through the air of the CAC accompanied by the Bahama Mamas, a local steel drum band. Thank you for all who attended: grandparents, special friends and families. Enjoy this photo slideshow and check out the video on our YouTube channel. Happy Holidays from all of us at North Cross. We'll see you after the break!

Athletics Update

Athletic Awards - All Conference and All State

In addition to the MVP and Coach's awards given last week during the athletic awards assembly, several students and coaches were recognized at the conference and state levels. For a complete list, visit the Crossties Blog.


The most recent scores from our athletic contests can be found by visiting the Scoreboard feature of onCampus.

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