March 27, 2015 â€¢ Volume: 2014-15, Issue 29
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Message from the Board of Trustees

Each academic year the Board of Trustees meets an average of seven times. We usually take one of these opportunities to have a day-long retreat to review the state of the school, make sure we are complying with the mission of the school, and to build and strengthen our Board. This past Wednesday seventeen of our Board members spent the day at the Grandin CoLab doing just that. We were honored to have two very experienced consultants join us for the day: George Conway, President of Independent Educational Services (IES) and former Headmaster of St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville; and Nancy Cable, President of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and former Director of Admission at Davidson College. Dr. Conway and Dr. Cable have been independently doing research and gathering information since this past November.  They were tasked with reviewing financials going back 10 years; speaking with current and past parents, faculty, and board members; and making several trips to campus to see how things run at North Cross. I am pleased to announce that both consultants believe that North Cross is heading in the right direction from both a financial perspective and a program perspective. Last year we had an operating surplus at year end. Based on the most recent financials and the projections of the business office, we believe we are on track this year post a larger operating surplus. These surplus’ are used to repay debt and fund deferred capital needs. The consultants also spoke about the continuous growth of our academic programs. New, innovative offerings like Singapore Math, electives in STEM-D, and a school-wide Global Studies program allow North Cross to continue to produce the best and brightest students in the Roanoke Valley. None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our community; the faculty, staff, and parents that are committed to this school and continue to make it one of the best independent schools in Virginia. Although things are looking up, Dr. Cable mentioned the growing need for private institutions to continue to look for alternate sources of revenue to grow the financial model without large increases in tuition. Our Board was very productive in brainstorming and will continue to strategize and prioritize to make North Cross School the best school in Virginia.  

Russ Ellett ’84
Chairman, Board of Trustees

Campus Update

Big Flea Tomorrow

Remember, tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. the doors of the CAC will be opened for the Big Flea sale. A small army of volunteers has prepared the space for an anticipated crowd of nearly 3,000 shoppers. Click here to see a few preview photos on our Facebook event page.

Spring Long Weekend

As a reminder Thursday, April 2, will be a snow make-up day. School will be closed for the Spring Long Weekend on Friday, April 3, and Monday, April 6. 

Girls’ Night Out

Tickets are now available for “Girls’ Night Out” on May 14, 2015, from 6:30–8:30 p.m., at the home of Jeanne Fishwick.

Join “Jeanne’s Pool Boys” for an evening of food, fun, and flip flops. Tickets are $50 per person. Email Jennifer Burtch at to reserve your space at this fun event to support the school.

Bridge Builders Updated

Thank you to everyone who joined the Annual Fund Bridge Builders by making a gift or pledge. There are many Ways to Give to the Annual Fund—any gift of any size at any time helps and supports every current student at North Cross School.

Click here to view the updated “Bridge Builders”

SCA Sponsoring Blood Drive

In conjunction with Virginia Blood Services—the sole provider of blood to Carilion Clinic and VA hospitals in the state of Virginia—the North Cross SCA will be hosting a blood drive on Friday, April 17 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. in the Carter Athletic Center. Donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 with signed parental consent) and may schedule an appointment at All donors will receive a free t-shirt.

Click here, or on the image, to download a flyer with more information.

Academic Update

Winter Academic Awards

On Thursday morning, 200 students in grades 6–12 who earned First and Second Honor Roll were recognized at the Winter Academic Awards Assembly in Fishburn Auditorium. In his remarks, Ed Dickenson, Director of the Middle School, told students that the world is full of people who start well, but reminded them that finishing well is equally important. Director of the Upper School, Mark Thompson, was unable to attend; but in his remarks read by Dr. Proctor he told students that for many successful people, failure is part of the learning process  and often encountered on the road to success. He illustrated his point with the story of Chinese CEO Jonathan Lu of “The numerous failures he encountered on his path to success did not deter him from reaching his goal.”

Click below for the list of Honor Roll students

Trout Release

On Tuesday, the trout team went out to Roaring Run to release the trout raised in Ms. Sandy Patterson’s classroom this year. The trout arrive as fingerlings at the beginning of the year. The team is responsible for monitoring the water in the classroom tank, feeding the trout, and cleaning the tank, all to make sure they are ready to be released in the spring. Special thanks to Olivia Bloch ’19 for the outstanding photos!

Members of the trout release team included:

Class of 2019:
  • Olivia Bloch
  • Renee Leger 
  • Audrey Lemon
  • Claudia Morgan
Class of 2020:
  • Tobi Bankole
  • Yazmeen Imam
  • Caroline Lystash
Class of 2021:
  • Jadon Bjurmann-Birr
  • Sofia Hanson
  • Mashall Rasul
  • Amisha Sahni

Click here to see photos on our Facebook page.

Students Attend Columbia Convention

For the first time in five years of traveling to New York City for Columbia Scholastic Press Association, North Cross sent its literary magazine advisor, Michael Schaefer, and editor, Olivia Hanson ’16. They attended nine sessions over two days at the 91st Spring Convention of CSPA and collected impressive samples of literary magazines that might serve as models for Calliope. The Compass and Willis Hall Herald each sent five students with Herald Advisor, Robert Robillard, and first-year yearbook advisor, Becky Sharkey. Beyond the conference, students explored the 9/11 Museum, walked the High Line, watched Les Miserables, cheered for the Knicks, and ate plenty of pizza.

Click here to see photos on our Facebook page.

Teacher Feature: James Brown

Did you go to school to be a science teacher?
I was recruited by Roanoke College to play soccer, but the reason I chose to go there is because I was really intrigued by their academic offerings. Math and science were my best classes in high school, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study at the time. Once at Roanoke, I decided on Sports Medicine and education, which really was a combination of my two passions. I knew I wanted to be a teacher but wanted to combine it with athletic training.

Click here to read the full feature.

Photo: James Brown with his wife, Emily, and their three children (from left) Spencer ’21, Sophia’24, and Julia ’19

Art Update

Cast and Crew Working Hard to Succeed

With only ten rehearsals remaining, the cast and crew of the spring musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” is closing in on production week—which begins on Sunday, April 9. But the road to success on stage has presented some challenges for the cast and crew.

Director Andrew Miller says the biggest challenge for his students is balancing rehearsal time with their other school commitments. “Right now we are rehearsing three hours a day,” he said. “For some, that means coming to rehearsal after SAT prep, dance practice, or an athletic event. It's hard to tell a student that they need to miss another event if they want to remain in a scene.” Each rehearsal requires Andrew to juggle the schedules of his students to make sure each actor and crew member is fully prepared. Often that means he has to fill in and rehearse with the actors. In photo, Andrew rehearses a scene with Tristan Johnson-Hodges ’16 and Gabby Peppers ’18.

The shows begin on Friday, April 17 with a performance for students during school followed by performances at 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday evening.

Athletic Update

Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse Drops Opener

In their first game of the young season, the Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse team lost to rival Roanoke Catholic 8-7 on Wednesday afternoon. With the game tied 7-7, the visitors scored with only 30 seconds left in the contest. Isaiah Harris ’15 scored three goals and three assists for the Raiders. Gray Pollock ’18 added two goals.

Girls’ Varsity Wins

On Tuesday afternoon, the Girls’ Varsity Soccer team hosted Fresta Christian. The Raiders shut out the visitors 7-0 on the strength of thee goals by Sarah Mauer ’16 and two by Madisen Charles ’18Lissa Smith ’16 and Anna Robison ’15 each added one goal for the Raiders. Campbell Lake ’16, Akaela Feng ’19 (in photo), and Shaida Campbell ’17 provided assists and Katie Sayers ’15 had one save in the shutout.

Middle School Baseball Splits Two

Davin Hansen ’19 (in photo) took the mound on Wednesday for his first start of the season for the Raiders against Lucy Addison Middle School. He pitched two solid innings and turned over a 10-5 lead to reliever Elliott Kennard ’19 at the top of the third inning. The game was called after the Raiders went up 10 runs in the bottom of the third. The final score was 15-5.

On Thursday afternoon, the team ran into a tough Carlisle squad. While both teams played well, with pitcher Andy Benson ’19 (in photo) keeping the Raiders close, a few plays made the difference and allowed the Chiefs to open the door to a 4-1 win. The loss drops the team to 2-3 on the season.

Celebrating 70 Years

Big Flea: From Fun to Funds

In the days before the Big Flea and Field Day were operated as separate events, the school had a giant Field Day and White Elephant sale (top photo) on the campus grounds. The focus in the early years was on fun. Field Day was an event where each class had a money-raising project. Students could participate in tug of war, relay races, and teacher dunking booths. The hope was that the two events would provide a day of fun and camaraderie among parents and students while raising a few thousand dollars for the school.

In 1997, ECP teacher Jennifer Luckay became involved in the event and was part of the transition from the White Elephant Sale to the Big Flea we know today. For the first few years she organized the clothing portion of the White Elephant Sale. At that time, the sale was held on two separate weekends—about a month apart—in the old game gym. Field Day was a completely separate event held after the sale. “It was basically a big garage sale” she said. “We were not as picky about what we sold back then. We took in pretty much anything. There was not a lot of furniture like there is today, it was mostly clothing” she said. Despite the fact that items were not priced as carefully as they are today, both weekends still combined to raise about $15,000 for the school. Having the event on two weekends was hard on the volunteers, so the decision was made to combine it into a single weekend.

Several years later, Maureen Stellato, the wife of Headmaster Paul Stellato, suggested the committee change the name to the Big Flea and give the event a fresh look. She even had an upper school student draw a picture of a flea (bottom left photo) that was used as part of the logo until a few years ago. The event was moved to the CAC (bottom right photo) and became so big that co-chairs were needed to run the event.
Copyright © 2015 NORTH CROSS SCHOOL, All rights reserved.

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