December 2, 2016 • Volume: 2016-17, Issue 16
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An Opportunity to Reflect

Last year, we introduced our first anonymous online parent survey. The survey, hosted and analyzed by a third party (Independent Education Services), gave us, the Board, a unique insight into the strengths and weaknesses perceived by our families and helped us prioritize our goals for the institution's advancement.

Last year you told us that more than 90% of parents felt that their experience at North Cross was positive, 94% of parents were satisfied with how they were treated by school personnel, 92% of parents are proud to tell people their children attend North Cross School, 92% of parents believe North Cross School provides an academically rigorous curriculum, and 94% of parents believe their children are encouraged to think analytically. The comments about campus and facility issues are being considered as part of a master plan for our buildings and campus and several items of concern have already been addressed.

As planned, we are reissuing the survey this year and ask that you participate. The responses allow us to track our progress and acts as a "scorecard" for North Cross. This year, the survey will be available for a longer period, beginning Tuesday, December 6, and closing Friday, December 16.

We sincerely appreciate the time you took to complete the survey last year and we always welcome your comments. If you are a returning family, please don’t feel the need to spend as much time answering all the comment-oriented questions if you expressed everything you wanted us to hear last year. As we consider ways to build upon our progress and evaluate our opportunities for improvement, we will pay close attention to the feedback we receive this year while also incorporating the comments provided in the past.

Each year, we lose 40+ families to graduation and another 30+ leave us for various other reasons; 70-80 new families join us, so hearing from our entire community gives us a holistic perspective on our performance as we grow and change. We look forward to hearing your thoughts as we move into 2017.

With great appreciation,

Frank Russell Ellett, ’84
Chair of the Board of Trustees


Campus Update

“The Battle” is Back

From Director of Lower School Victor Lamas

“The Battle” is the term that refers to an event in the spring that became, over time, a sort of tradition in the Lower School. Starting in 2004, the fifth grade students reenacted some action-packed event from the ancient world, be it a battle between Romans and Carthaginians, a gladiator display, the Trojan War story, or a shield wall fight between Vikings. It was something fun to do because of my love for history and because North Cross, as an independent school, allowed me the freedom as a young teacher to experiment with some projects for the students that might not have been approved in a public school. The first performance was a march of Spartan hoplite soldiers; it wasn’t even a battle. But after a year or so, I grew more ambitious, and we staged a choreographed battle. From then on, it was something we did for the whole school in the spring, either on the grass in front of the Carter Athletic Center on the game field.

Toy Drive Extended

The Holiday Tree Lighting and Bonfire has been postponed until December 9 and as a result, we've extended the time for our toy drive. The Parents' Association will bring donations of new, unwrapped toys to Turning Point, a shelter for families escaping domestic violence, and to CHIP (the Child Health Investment Partnership), both in Roanoke. Boxes are stationed in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools (brightly wrapped in holiday paper, so there's no missing them!), and will remain there until our Holiday bonfire (weather permitting) and tree lighting on December 9 (NOTE THE DATE CHANGE). If you are unable to bring in a donation prior to that day, you may also bring items to the bonfire that evening. Thank you for helping us serve families most in need of a happy holiday.

Grandparents Day in the Lower School

Friday, December 16; 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

This annual event set aside to honor Lower School NCS students’ Grandparents and Special Friends includes an estate planning seminar, refreshments, classroom visits, not to mention the Holiday Performance by the Lower School. Pictures will be taken in New Slack Hall this year and are sponsored by Lifetouch Studios. Photographers will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. 


8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Estate Planning Seminar: “Planning for the Future” sponsored by Hometown Bank
Grandparents may pick up grandchildren from their classes to head over to Lemon Dining Hall at 8:30 a.m.

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Photographers available for photos in Lemon Dining Hall

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Light breakfast in Lemon Dining Hall

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Classroom visits in Lower School

10:30 – 11:30 a.m
Lower School Holiday Performance, Carter Athletic Center

NCS Night Hockey Game - 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. 

The NCS Choir will sing the National Anthem and our Cub Scout Troop will present the Colors to begin the evening. 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.  
* Please note: if your child is a member of the choir and is singing, or one of the Cub Scouts, you will use a different order form that will be given directly to your child.

Academic Update

Fall Academic Awards–Honor Roll

This morning, the middle and upper school students, families and teachers came together to honor the oustanding work achieved by our honor-roll students this past semester. North Cross School has two honor rolls: First and Second. Second Honor Roll students must hold at least a B average during their entire semester, and have no grade lower than a B-, while First Honor Roll students maintain an A average over the semester, with no grade lower than an A-.

Library Now Offers Digital Magazines

Hancock Library is excited to announce a new digital online magazine subscription service. Flipster is a next-generation magazine service that allows people to browse digital versions of the latest issues of popular magazines, courtesy of our library. Magazines can be downloaded to Android™ phones and tablets, Apple® phones and iPads, and Kindle Fire tablets for offline reading anytime, anywhere.

DeHart Senior Speeches Back Underway

Back from Thanksgiving break, our Upper School community was treated on Tuesday to Bruce Farrell's DeHart Speech on the extraordinary and remarkable life of Nelson Mandela. The research was inspired by his own trip to South Africa and conversations with Denis Goldberg, the third accused in the Rivonia Trial, which convicted Nelson Mandela and others active in the anit-apartheid movement of sabotage and was also a member of the Spear of the Nation arm of the African National Congress. Goldberg was given four life sentences and served 22 years in a prison for white political prisoners. Bruce reflects: "I spent a day with him learning about Nelson Mandela's walk to freedom. Denis Goldberg may be one of the most inspiring and genuine men I've ever met. He was the inspiration behind my DeHart Project."

Snapshot: Grad Shares His Lofty Ambitions

Sam Sawyer ’16 took the time awarded by his Thanksgiving break from the University of Colorado to visit the Upper School science students in Mrs. Landry's class on Monday. Sawyer talked about different engineering careers and their everyday applications. He also shared details of a class he took at the University of Colorado this semester called Gateway to Space in which he led a team of seven other students in constructing a small satellite that was sent to the edge of space on a high altitude weather balloon. We love it when students return, especially with cool projects to talk about! Thanks, Sam.

Teacher Feature: Joe Harris

Pictured: Joe with his son Isaac ’20 and at orientation this past fall with his wife Suzanne.

Current Position: History Teacher, Upper School
Education: Morehouse University—B.A.
​Syracuse University—M.A.
Year Appointed: 2015
Hometown: Salem, VA

What's one thing your students don't know about you? I am a Artist/painter and I was awarded 17 Who's Who Among American Teachers awards in 5 years teaching at Garinger High School which is one of Charlotte, NC's most infamous and dangerous inner-city schools. 


Arts Update

Hands-on Experience

A group of Upper School intermediate and advanced art students went to Skin Care Consulting on Wednesday for an uncommon field trip. We tied the students' interest in make up to art-related elements like color mixing and matching, studying the contours of the face, and realistic representation through permanent make up. It was especially interesting for the students to meet Jordan because she recently graduated from VCUarts where she received a BFA in Painting and Printmaking and studied medical illustration. While Melinda focuses on skin care and make up, Jordan is certified to perform permanent eyebrow and eyeliner procedures. In the next few months, she will become certified for lips, brows, 3-D areola (after breast reconstruction), and scar/burn camouflage. We were able to see several interesting ways to put an art degree to use, and each student got a mini-makeover!

So, what's it like to be a NCS football player?

Charlie Card ’17 recently made it his creative mission to answer that very question, and the answer: lots of passion and hard work (for him and them!). Watch this energetic and dynamic video he put together chronicling the training and dedication our Raider Football Team practice every day of the season. 

Athletics Update

Alumni Return for Post-Thanksgiving Soccer Match

The day after Thanksgiving, past soccer players and other alumni gathered on campus for the Annual Co-ed Alumni Soccer Game. The alumni continued their domination of the varsity in a very close contest, winning 5-4. John Logan ’93 was selected as the alumni team MVP. Beyond the game, it was a great time to catch up with old friends while everyone was home for the holiday. A special thank you to the North Cross Alumni Board for coordinating the event and to Ethan Cook ’89 for refereeing.

Slam Dunk on All Fronts

Men's and women's varsity basketball teams defeated Holy Cross last night, 73–29 for the men and 47–13 for the women. Visit for more photos.

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