May 22, 2015 â€¢ Volume: 2014-15, Issue 37
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The next issue of Crossties will be emailed on Friday, June 5.

Message from the Headmaster

Wednesday saw an interesting development in the world of high school athletics.  Liberty Christian Academy settled a lawsuit against the Virginia High School League (VHSL), the public school athletic league, a settlement that allows private schools to play in the public school athletic league.  This lawsuit was primarily about football, as the program at LCA has grown so large they are forced to travel to three states to find games. I bring this up because a local television station asked me whether North Cross School anticipated leaving the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association (VISAA) for membership in the VHSL.  My reply was that we had not thought about this in the past and did not anticipate that we would be making a move in the future.
Unfortunately, I was quoted as saying that we would choose to play smaller schools, and this implied the reason for our decision to remain in the VISAA was a competitive reason.  For the sake of our athletic program, let me state:
“We regularly compete against schools much larger than us.  In all sports but football, we play home and home series with LCA and win as often as we lose.  We are a VISAA Division IV football team that chooses to play VISAA Division III football, and the bulk of our football conference is made up of VISAA Division II private school teams. Last year, our boys basketball team defeated Herndon, the largest public school in the state of Virginia, in the Chance Harmon Classic. We are quite sure that we would be very successful in 1A public leagues.”
What we are choosing, and what I tried to convey in our discussion, is to maintain our competitive relationship with schools of like mind.  We choose to play schools that have as their number one mission, college admission.  We choose to play schools that are run by Heads of School, school leaders that maintain collegial relationships and similar philosophies.  And finally, we choose to play in an organization that reflects the different types of schools found in the independent school world.  
I am not sure what the future in private school athletics may bring and was interested to hear that Catholic is actively considering membership in the public school league.  We will continue to monitor the situation and will do what is best for North Cross School.  For now, I am comfortable associating athletically with the very best of the Virginia independent school world.


Campus Update

2015 Yearbook Dedicated to Liz Holt

For the second time in her 29 year career at North Cross School, the Compass yearbook was dedicated to Liz Holt (right, with Sarah Boxley Beck ’98 and William Beck ’29). The dedication was presented Thursday afternoon in the Carter Athletic Center by yearbook editor Mary Kate Graeff ’16 and yearbook adviser Becky Sharkey.

Fat Pencil Awards

Congratulations to the 14 members of the Class of 2015 who received the Fat Pencil Award this morning. The award, created by Liz Holt in the 1980s, recognizes the accomplishment of completing 12 years at North Cross School. Each recipient receives a fat pencil from a student in the Early Childhood Program.

Click here to view photos posted on our Facebook page.

Eagle Project Benefits Bandroom

During assembly on Wednesday morning, Walter Mann ’16 (right) was recognized by Mr. Andrew Miller, director of choirs, for the completion of his Eagle Scout Project.  His project was to design, build, and paint a wardrobe and bookshelf for the choral department. The wardrobe was built large enough to store all of the choral concert wear, some theater costumes, and other accessories. The bookshelf was made to continue the choral music library in the music storage room between the band and chorus rooms. 

Mann needed to complete the project prior to his eighteenth birthday on April 29. He spent fifty hours on the planning and building, and was responsible for fundraising all of the money to fund the build. Walter’s fundraising was so successful that he donated the remaining $350 to Friends of the Arts. “Walter has always been an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the choral department.  I have always thought highly of him,” Miller said, “but when I saw the hard work and effort he put into his Eagle Scout Project, I was truly impressed!”  Mann’s Eagle Scout Project was completed with the help of his fellow boy scouts and family – a true community effort!

Click here to see photos posted on our Facebook page. 

Bridge Builders Updated

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Annual Fund as a Bridge Builder. Click here to view the current list of givers, through May 21, 2015.

Academic Update

Upper School Academic Awards

On Monday morning, Upper School Academic Awards and Cum Laude Induction took place in Fishburn Auditorium.

Click here to see a complete list of students recognized at the event.

Click here to view photos posted on our Facebook page.

World Language Awards

The American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) announced that Meghan McDonnell ’15 received a 2015 AATF Outstanding Senior in French Award. The award is given annually to a senior who has completed at least three years of French study, demonstrated excellence in the study of French, and shown exceptional commitment to the French language. Recipients must be non-native speakers of the language.

World Language awards were announced on May 11 at a ceremony in Fishburn Auditorium.

Click here to see a list of award recipients.

Spanish Honor Society

Fourteen new members were inducted into the Spanish Honor Society chapter at North Cross on Thursday morning. The Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica (SHH) is an honor society for high school students enrolled in Spanish and/or Portuguese, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).
Students inducted in the North Cross SHH chapter Flor de Maga must maintain a 90% or higher in Spanish, uphold the Honor Code, and continue their studies of Spanish throughout their years at North Cross to remain active members. In promoting the study of the Spanish language, SHH Flor de Maga supports the initiatives of the Horace G. Fralin Program for Global Studies.  In addition, SHH Flor de Maga works closely with our sister organization in the lower and middle school, Sociedad Hispánica de Amistad ¡Viva el español!, by mentoring younger learners of Spanish and setting an example of global citizenship. Students can earn distinctions and scholarships through active membership in the SHH Flor de Maga.
AP Spanish
Madison Bloomfield ’15
Cipriana Azar ’15
Jack Cranwell ’16

Spanish 4
Areej Hashmi ’17
Albert Newberry ’17
Zack H’Doubler ’17
Helen Schmedtje ’17

Spanish 3
Neil Evett ’18
Heba Imam ’18
Nathan Seidel ’18
Dylan Lowe ’17
Caroline McGimsey ’17
Naima Rasul ’17
Morgan Sturm ’17

Teacher Feature: Jennifer Sanders

Did you have a mentor when you started teaching at North Cross?
Definitely, Gates DeHart. Gates was actually my high school English teacher and has always been really supportive and inspiring. He retired after my first year of teaching, but he really made me feel at home and gave me a lot of great advice that first year. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work with him.   

Click here to read the full feature.

Photo: Jennifer Sanders' senior portrait from the 2003 NCS yearbook and her school picture from last year's yearbook. 

Teacher Feature will resume at the beginning of the next academic year.

Art Update

Spring Instrumental Band Concert

Instrumental band students, under the direction of Jimmie Donnini, performed their spring concert in Lemon Dining Hall on Tuesday evening. Seniors (from left in photo) Leo Zheng ’15, Harrison Macher ’15Sage Vilgats ’15, and Sarah Shaff ’15 each had an opportunity to thank Ms. Donnini for her guidance during their time in her class.

Click here to see photos posted on our Facebook page.

ITS Induction

At the induction ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, Jane Ward ’16, Bailey Sanders ’16, and Zack H’Doubler ’17 qualified to become members of the North Cross troupe of the International Thespian Society. Students earn points by participating in theatrical productions.

Athletic Update

Boys’ Tennis Wins State Title

For the first time in school history, the Boys’ Varsity Tennis team brought home the VISAA Division II crown. The Raiders defeated top seeded Highland School 5-2. The team finished the season 13-1 and will return their top six players next year.

Click here to read the article from

Spring Athletic Awards

Tuesday morning in Fishburn Auditorium, athletic teams were recognized at the Spring Athletic Awards Assembly.

Click here to see photos posted on our Facebook page.

Girls JV Lacrosse

  • MVP: Nathalie Lemon ’20

Varsity Golf

  • Coaches Award: Harrison Macher â€™15
  • MVP: Ty Olinger ’16
  • All Conference (VIC): Ty Olinger â€™16 (1st team), Nathan Seidel â€™18 (2nd team)

Boys Varsity Lacrosse

  • Coaches Award: Max Revercomb â€™15
  • MVP:  Will Perry â€™16

Girls Varsity Tennis

  • Coaches Award: Helen Schmedtje â€™17
  • MVP: Emma Cartledge â€™18
  • All Conference (BRC): Emma Cartledge â€™18 (1st Team), 2nd Team: Helen Schmedtje (2nd team)
  • BRC Singles Tournament Champion: Emma Cartledge â€™18
  • BRC Player of the Year: Emma Cartledge â€™18

Varsity Baseball

  • Coaches Award: Edwin Saunders ’15
  • MVP: Justin Jensen ’16
  • VISAA Div III All-State: Josh Greenway â€™17 (1st team), Justin Jensen â€™16 (1st team), Edwin Saunders â€™15 (2nd team)

Girls Varsity Soccer

  • Coaches Award: Avery Sturm â€™15
  • MVP: Sarah Maurer â€™16
  • All Conference (BRC): Sarah Maurer (1st team), Avery Sturm â€™15 (1st team), Lissa Smith (2nd team), Hope Pollock â€™15 (2nd team), Anna Robison â€™15 (2nd team), Katie Sayers â€™15 (2nd team)
  • BRC All Tournament Team: Sarah Maurer, Lissa Smith, Katie Sayers â€™15, Avery Sturm â€™15
  • VISAA Div II All-State: Avery Sturm ’15 (1st team), Sarah Maurer â€™16 (2nd team)        

Boys Varsity Tennis

  • Coaches Award: Jack Fishwick â€™16
  • MVP: Joseph Cartledge â€™16
  • All Conference (VIC): Joseph Cartledge â€™16 (1st team), Michael Fleming ’16 (1st team), Jack Fishwick ’16 (2nd team)
  • VIC Player of the Year: Joseph Cartledge ’16

Mark Higgins Excellence in Sports Award

  • Avery Sturm ’15

Turn in Your Uniforms

Next Wednesday, May 27, will be the designated uniform collection day! All uniforms must be turned in to the coaches of each sport on or before this day. The athletic department and coaches will be available in the CAC lobby near the squash court to collect uniforms. The roster of each team will be available to check off all the uniform items you have in your possession. All school issued articles must be turned into the athletic department. If you were charged for a t-shirt, of any type, by your team this year, you do not need to turn in that item. That is yours to keep and wear proudly.
Items can be turned into your designated area before the start of the school day until 4:15. Eric Lawrence, Tracy Schaefer, and Blair Calvert will be available throughout the entire day and all available coaches will be present from 3:15-4:15 to finish the afternoon. Please put this on your calendar. All uniform articles should be brought back clean and ready for storage. Thank you and have a great summer.

Celebrating 70 Years

Fat Pencil Award

“After my first year working here, I realized the school had no way of recognizing seniors who had been here all the way through,” Liz Holt said when asked why she created the Fat Pencil Award for seniors. The thought behind calling the award Fat Pencil was that when students start at North Cross, they learn to write with a special fat pencil. The award became a way to honor students who attended North Cross for 12 years, and the youngest students in the school are the ones who present the award to the seniors. The award is slightly different from the Ellis Cup, which is given to seniors with at least 12 consecutive years of attendance at North Cross. 

Since starting in the spring of 1988, the award has become one of the school’s longest and most cherished traditions. At the ceremony, each senior recalls their time in the lower school and lessons learned along the way. For Blair Thurman ’14 (bottom photo), receiving the award last spring served as a symbol of completion and preparation for the next part of her education. “When you arrive and when you leave they give you a fat pencil. And in between they teach you every thing you need to know to succeed in life. The fat pencil was a symbol that I had everything I needed to take my next step in life,” she said.

Deborah Jessee, Director of the Lower School, believes the award represents an important awakening for recipients. “It is a big moment of maturity. At the point of leaving our campus, the students realize the significance of the foundation and caring they have received as they head off in the direction they choose,” she said. “Students recall the little moments that impacted them, like a well-timed hug or a moment of correction from a teacher. The award is an ‘ah-ha’ moment for them.”

Copyright © 2015 NORTH CROSS SCHOOL, All rights reserved.

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