December 4, 2014 â€¢ Volume: 2014-15, Issue 3
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Message from the Alumni Board

A Dedication to Richard Cook

by Jack Hamlin ‘03

Richard Cook came to North Cross in 1972 as a middle school history teacher and to start a Soccer Program. North Cross got much more than they could have ever possibly imagined. This academic school year will be Richard Cook’s last year teaching at North Cross. With 42 years behind the podium and on the sidelines, there are few people that have had a greater impact on North Cross School than Richard Cook.

I started at North Cross at the beginning of my 8th grade year in 1998. We had just moved to town and I wasn’t sure if I would like North Cross. I remember my mother, Colleen Hamlin ’77, speaking about how much North Cross meant to her. She mentioned teachers like Margaret Grayson, Jim Muscaro, Gates DeHart, Hugh Meagher, David Calvert, Donna Satterwhite, and specifically Richard Cook. I think she knew back then that he and I would be just as close as the two of them were. I quickly realized that what made Mr. Cook a great teacher, mentor, and coach, was his approachability and demeanor while maintaining a passion for his job. He simply enjoyed teaching and coaching, and he showed us that every day. Even then it was pretty incredible to me that I was being taught by many of the same teachers that taught my mom.

Today Mr. Cook teaches U.S. and World History in the upper school. Until recently, he taught with the same yellow legal pad full of notes that he taught my mother with. He was tough but always fair. Most of you reading this will remember the president quizzes and the sign in his room that said, “All complaints can be directed to the Cook.” I can remember his teaching methods making students feel comfortable in his class room. He always seemed to have a respect for his students and players and was able to push them to expect more out of themselves.

At North Cross, the soccer program’s success is a constant, in large part due to Coach Cook. Richard Cook started the team in 1972 and they had a record of 1-6. Since then there has only been one other season with a losing record. He won 18 Virginia Independent Conference Championships in 36 years. He ended his coaching career with an almost unbelievable record of 458 wins, 112 loses, and 58 ties. In 2007, North Cross decided to move the varsity soccer from a spring sport to a fall sport, which for the first time gave Richard Cook and North Cross the chance to win a state title in soccer. They won the state title and Mr. Cook retired from coaching the soccer team.

While at North Cross, I was lucky enough to be a part of a few of Coach Cook’s great teams. We won lots of games over my four years in the upper school. When I was a junior we were having a particularly successful season and my father asked me what I thought made Richard Cook such a great coach. I remember not being able to explain it exactly. We always wanted to win, but not just for the celebrations or the accolades. We knew that Coach Cook had an expectation of excellence, and he instilled that into us. We wanted those wins because we knew that Coach Cook believed and expected that from us, not because if we lost we would be running ‘the box’ the next day. When a coach/teacher like Richard Cook, for whom you have so much respect and admiration believes in you, as an individual and as a team, it brings out the best in you. 

We have decided as part of his retirement celebration this spring that we would like to collect your favorite memories of Mr. Cook and put them into the Richard Cook Top 10. Please send all submissions to Whitney Aldridge at

Alumni Soccer Game and Oyster Roast 

On Saturday, November 29, over 150 alums and their families gathered on Thomas Field for the annual Alumni vs. Varsity Soccer Game. More than 25 alums, led by Coach Cook, came out to play, and dominated the varsity soccer team 7-2. Goals were scored by Trinity Kaseke, Fortune Sibanda ’14, Ezra Zigarwi ’14, Joey Curran ’08, Molly Steele ’05 , and scoring two goals and taking home the title of MVP of the game was Ian McDade ’91.

The game was followed by an oyster roast at the Headmaster's Home behind Hooper Field. Click here to see photos from the event on Facebook.  

Campus Update

The Richard and Nancy Cook Athletic Field 

Chris Proctor, Headmaster, announced at the Alumni Oyster Roast last Saturday, that the school is beginning a campaign to raise $360,000 to build the Richard and Nancy Cook Field. The Campaign for Cook Athletic Field will be used exclusively for soccer and field hockey. The new field will be comprised of Bermuda sod, an irrigation system, scoreboard, bleachers, and perimeter fencing. Thomas Field has been the home to all Varsity, JV, and middle school matches and is too narrow, has a crown, and the high volume of games being played on its surface make it difficult and expensive to maintain. A first rate athletic field can transform a student’s educational experience. Cook Athletic Field will put us on par with the best programs in the region.

In his remarks Dr. Proctor said, “Richard has been involved with 42 of our 51 graduating classes as a teacher and coach. We want to build upon the success’ of our programs in soccer and field hockey.  The North Cross community needs to recognize this man’s contribution to his students and players by coming together and building this field in his honor, we will need everyone’s support.”

You will be receiving information very soon on how you can make a contribution to support Mr. Cook, and Cook Athletic Field.

Evidence Supports "Why North Cross School"

Headmaster Message from Chris Proctor, Nov. 14, 2014

I was recently asked by a parent, “Why should I send my child to North Cross?” I am asked this frequently, and I usually reply with any one of a number of stock answers. For some reason this time, I chose to say that I felt North Cross was the only school in the Valley that is focused primarily on preparation for college—not the kind of answer that allows you to slip away and talk ACC basketball with someone else. I spent some time explaining that we did not have religious education as a goal, nor did we have basic minimum state standards as a goal. From the day our students are welcomed onto our campus, our teachers and curriculum are focused on the college admissions process. Obviously, other schools in the Valley send students to good universities, but I stand by my thesis that we are alone in our primary focus.

Of course, it always helps to have some evidence to back up a thesis. Last week I received some evidence in the form of an article from the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

Click here to read the full message.

Follow Us on Social Media

Alumni Crossties only comes out once a month, but following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a great way to stay connected to daily activities on campus. 

Follow us on Twitter at "@NCSRaiders" and on Instagram using "@northcrossschool". Please also "like" the North Cross School and North Cross Alumni Facebook pages. 

CrossWalk Program Featured in Local Media

The November issue of The South Roanoke Circle featured an article on the newly expanded CrossWalk program at North Cross School. The article, titled â€œThe CrossWalk Program: Helping Learners Find Their Way,” discusses how the program gives students with learning differences the tools to become successful students in the classroom. Local families in South Roanoke recently received their issue of SoRo Circle, but others can click here to download a pdf of the issue. The article appears on page 6. 

Click here to see another great story on the growing program that was featured Tuesday, December 2, on WDBJ7. 

Academic Update

DeHart Presentations 

Senior speeches, now called DeHart Presentations in honor of former faculty member Gates DeHart, are a long standing tradition at North Cross School. The class of 2015 started their presentations on October 31, 2014.

In the photo above, Katie Sayers ’15, presented her project 
titled “What is Art and Why and How is it Valued?” Other topics presented so far this year includethe correlation and connection between mathematics and music, the image of the female body and how it is influenced by the media, and the kinds and causes of skin cancer. Senior speeches are approximately 12-15 minutes long and include a multi-media component. Director of the Upper School, Mark Thompson, states, “The senior speech is a great tradition at our school; and it illustrates that learning and education take many forms, including students teaching their classmates and teachers and families about an important topic that they are passionate about sharing.”

Chestnut Trees will Help Science Classes 

On Saturday, November 15, Mr. Ed Dickenson and Ms. Sandy Patterson worked with students from all three divisions to prepare a chestnut tree grove on campus. The group made cages to protect the trees, then went to the site and set posts to support the saplings that will be planted soon. In photo above, students prepare to set posts with a post driver after carefully measuring the distance from nearby posts. The grove, located along Groundhog Trail (behind Eaton Hall), will serve as a study platform for our science classes. Once planted, North Cross School will be the only school in the area with American Chestnuts, Chinese Chestnuts, and two types of experimental hybrid chestnut trees.

Teacher Features


Lee Ann Farley

Instead of my traditional interview and interview questions, Ms. Farley invited me to her classroom to learn about her first hand; and trust me, I learned a lot by just being there. When I walked in she had a group of students in her room for study hall. I quickly took advantage of the opportunity and asked what they thought about Ms. Farley. Their answers varied, but all had a similar tone. “She is the coolest teacher in the school,” said one student. Another said, “She teaches us without teaching” and another said, “I’ve always felt really welcome when I come to her class.” Just from that alone it was easy to see that the students loved her and her class. Click here to read the full feature.

Betsy Cook

Betsy Cook grew up in Oil City, a small town in Northwest Pennsylvania. Her mother is from Roanoke and her father was from Front Royal. She spent her summers visiting grandparents in Virginia and fell in love with the area. She choose to attend the University of Virginia where she studied English Literature. During her college years, Betsy worked at many restaurants and found that she had a love of cooking. After college she decided to cook full-time. In fact, she spent 14 years cooking in various restaurants, including a year and half in London, where she attended cooking school, and five years in Tuscany. Click here to read the full feature.

Melanie Harrison 

How was the move from JK4 to kindergarten?

Dawn Hollandsworth helped make my move to kindergarten smooth and simple. She was a great mentor for me and taught me all about the Montessori approach. One of her great gifts is teaching children how to read, which inspired me and is one of the things I love most about teaching children this age. Other great teachers like Julie Grove, who started the Kindergarten Solar System Program, and Carolyn Corswandt also helped make my transition seamless. Click here to read the full feature.

Art Update

Art Competitions Make Students Stronger

Entering outside art competitions is an important step in the development of a young artist. Art teacher Annette Pfaeffle requires her students to enter three art shows during the course of the school year. “By entering shows and competitions, the students get the opportunity to experience the life of a working artist by putting their work out for others to see, plus they get a chance to see how their work stands up against other artists,” she said. â€œIt also helps their working portfolio for future college applications, especially when it comes to extracurricular activities and being looked at as a well-rounded student,” she added.

In early November, the students in her Portfolio class put the final touches on their entries for the Medical Avatar Time Machine exhibit by artist Virgil Wong. The show was in the Perspectives Gallery at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute through November 20. Students submitted three self portraits—one as they appear today, one as they will look like in twenty years if they took up a bad habit, and one as they will look in twenty years if they do not take up the bad habit. Most of the students selected sleep deprivation and excessive stress as their bad habit. â€œThe students only had two and half weeks to complete their portraits, so they learned about the realities of working on a show deadline.” Click here or the image above to view larger samples of the student work. 

Athletic Update

Boys’ Soccer Earns State Title

On Saturday, November 8, the Boy’s Varsity Soccer team earned a VISAA Division II state championship. The team defeated Highland School 2-0 on the strength of goals by VISAA Player of the Year, Kennedy Nwabia ’15 and Christian Entleitner ’15. The team finished 23-1-1 on the season. Congratulations to Coach James Brown who was named VISAA Coach of the Year, and his terrific team! 

Cross Country “Makes Some Noise” at State Championships

Competing on Friday, November 7, at the VISAA state championships at Woodberry Forest, the Boys’ Varsity Cross Country team finished 5th overall (up from 25th last year) and the Girls’ Varsity team finished 8th. Both teams competed in Division II. Coach Ed Dickenson was proud of the commitment and determination displayed by his team. 

Akaela Feng ’19 (left in photo) backed up her BRC Conference championship race (second overall) with an incredible sixth place finish. Chester Pruitt ’18 (right in photo) was the top boys’ finisher for North Cross. He completed the course in 19:27 and earned a 38th place finish.

Field Hockey Plays Hard in State Final

The Girls’ Varsity Field Hockey team advanced to the state finals on Saturday, November 8, but came up short against a tough Fredericksburg Academy team. The Raiders lost 3-1 when Fredericksburg sealed the victory late in the game with their third goal. Avery Sturm ’15 (who was named BRC Player of the Year) brought North Cross to within a score midway through the second half. Four years ago, the team did not win a single game. Thanks to the strong leadership of seven seniors (photo above), this team advanced farther than any field hockey team in the history of the school. Congratulations to the Raiders, and BRC Co-Coach of the Year, Katherine Kelly ’98, for an outstanding season. 

Old Dominion Football Conference Honors Announced

Max Revercomb ’15 (left in photo) finished his illustrious football career with most of the North Cross single-season and career passing records firmly in his possession. On Wednesday, he was named the Old Dominion Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year, as well as a First Team All-Conference linebacker. Revercomb finished this season with 205 completions on 347 attempts for 2,712 yards and 32 touchdowns. Over his career at North Cross, Max totaled 463 completions, 6,152 yards, and 74 touchdown passes.
For the third consecutive year, Jordan Lowery ’16 (right in photo) earned First Team honors. He caught a school-record 53 passes for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns. Lowery also earned First Team defensive honors at defensive back, where he recorded two interceptions and eight pass break-ups this season.
Ryan Dent ’15 was also named to the First Team as he caught 40 passes and had 53 rushes totaling 923 yards of offense and 12 touchdowns in 2014. Brett Jones ’16, a three-year starter at center, was a First Team selection at offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Davis Call ’16 joined Lowery and Revercomb on the defensive First Team list. Call totaled 70 solo tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, and an interception returned for touchdown to follow up an All-State sophomore year in 2013.
Isaiah Harris ’15 earned a spot on the All-ODFC Second Team as a running back. Despite an injury-plagued senior season, Harris rushed for 341 yards, caught 25 passes, and scored seven touchdowns in his final season. Tyler Slash ’18 also earned Second Team honors as he burst onto the scene with 24 catches and four touchdowns from his slot position.
Defensive lineman Joe Houston ’16 earned Second Team honors with 50 solo tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks in his first season at North Cross. Maurice Garrison ’18 was an Honorable Mention defensive selection after an outstanding rookie campaign including three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and five pass break-ups.

Celebrating 70 Years

Naming Eaton Hall 

Three schools were combined in the early 1960s to create North Cross School. One of the schools was the Eaton School, which was founded by Mary Hammond. She felt there was a need for a small private school in Roanoke that could provide students in junior high an academically rigorous program of study without the distraction of large classes. Mary, and a board of directors, leased and renovated a house in South Roanoke—at 2201 Carolina Avenue. The school, which she named after her youngest son David Eaton Hammond, accepted students in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades when it opened in September 1960.

After less than a year in operation, the school realized it needed substantial capital improvements to fulfill their mission so the board unanimously voted to merge with North Cross Country Day School for the 1961-62 school year. Eaton Hall, shown in photo from the 1963 yearbook, was named in honor of the school that helped form North Cross School. The building housed upper school students until Willis Hall was completed in 1985. It's only fitting that Eaton Hall, named for a school for middle schoolers, returned to it's roots and today houses our middle school students.

From “Living Gallery” to “Logan Gallery” 

When it was dedicated in 1973, Slack Hall housed Hancock Library, art studios for students, administrative offices, and Fishburn Auditorium. The entrance area was called the “Living Gallery” and was designed to be an ever changing and growing space for local artists to exhibit their work, an idea championed by Doris Church.

Since it was opened, many artists have displayed their work in the gallery. But In 1977, the space exhibited thirty-six paintings by one of the most important artists and fine arts educators in American art history, Thomas Eakins. Two years of planning were required to put the exhibit together. Funding was secured through a Virginia Commission of the Arts and Humanities grant, security was arranged, and catalogs were printed. Over five thousand people viewed the exhibit, including Lucy and Wilbur Hazlegrove (in photo above).

When the space needed renovation in 2003, the Logan Family stepped up to ensure that the space will remain a vital link to local artists. In honor of the family, the space was renamed Logan Gallery. Their desire was for the gallery to serve as an ongoing exhibition of local artists and a place for students and the community members to appreciate artwork in a variety of forms. Last summer, Ellen McGimsey and Ellie Proctor rearranged the space to make it more inviting and serve as a formal space for local artists and our annual student art shows each May. The slate of artists, arranged by Ellen, to be on display in Logan Gallery this year is impressive and worth a visit to Slack Hall. Click here for more information about Logan Gallery and the shows taking place this year.

Mr. Carter’s Gift to the Community

After Willis Hall was completed and  dedicated in 1985, the campus finally had accommodations for all three divisions. Focus soon turned to athletics and creating a space on campus to meet the needs of a growing program. Beirne Carter (top left photo), a member of the Board of Trustees from 1962-1988, announced in 1985 that once the academic needs of the school were met, he intended to leave the school enough money to build an appropriate athletic center. Two years later, ground was broken on the Carter Athletic Center site. Mr. Carter was in attendance, but unfortunately passed away before the building was completed. 

The building, named in Mr. Carter’s honor, received rave reviews when it opened. It featured a six-lane swimming pool, basketball courts, and an indoor track. At the dedication in 1989, college basketball coach â€œLefty” Drisell (top right photo) was on hand and told the students to consider themselves lucky to have such a lovely facility.” Former Athletic Director Donna Satterwhite said, "The CAC made a difference in our athletic programs. We have benefitted not only in practice space for our indoor sports, but because of the fitness center our athletes are much stronger".

Current Athletic Director Eric Lawrence, who was hired in 1989 as the CAC was nearing completion, wrote in the 1990 yearbook that “Mr. Carter’s gift has enabled North Cross to meet all the physical education needs of its students. In addition to that primary achievement, the CAC is becoming a place where families come together for fun and exercise.” 

Class News & Notes

Please send your updates for Class Notes to Whitney Aldridge at If you wish to include a photo, please attach it to your email.

Mike Corswandt ’02 and Caroline Gough were married on October 18, 2014 outside of Richmond, VA. The wedding party included Bobby Mountcastle ’02, Stephen Morse ’02, Jack Hamlin ’03 and Gray Hamlin ’06. Stephen was unfortunately unable to attend because of the birth of his first child.

Katey Houck ’05 started a new online business called Forever the Bridesmaid, where you can buy and sell new and used bridesmaids dresses. You can shop and sell at or follow them on Facebook at

Wes Bonelli ’13 is the drummer in a new band called The Smiling Islanders. The band members met last year at O Records, a student-run record label/musician's networking group at UVa. The band has started playing at local venues in Charlottesville and is hoping to break into the downtown mall scene. They recently recorded a 6-song EP, and are hoping to release it in late December or early January. For more information you can visit the band's website at or on Facebook at
Copyright © 2014 NORTH CROSS SCHOOL, All rights reserved.

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