The Commencement Issue
June 19, 2013
 • Volume: 2012-13, Issue 36

A Great Year

We had a beautiful day for our graduation ceremony that was a fitting end to a great school year.  For those of you that know me, I am not prone to retrospection as I prefer to think about what lies ahead, nor do I frequently use the adjective great to describe school years.  But in this case, we had a great year and it deserves a little reflection.
This past year saw a renewed commitment to foreign languages with three new teachers and a dynamic lower school Spanish program.  Jenny Bousch and Mariana Hermosilla did an exceptional job in creating and implementing the first five-day a week lower school foreign language program in the city.  Not only did they have to create curriculum for children from three years of age to fifth grade, they also taught in such a manner that our students were engaged and enthralled.  The hiring of Emma Greenwell and the return of Ed Dickenson to the classroom on a part-time basis re-energized our French program and raised the level of expectation to a level consistent with a top independent school.  Our goal remains fluency in a second language for all of our graduates. 
Our increased emphasis on fluency in a second language dovetails nicely with the second significant introduction to our curriculum.  This past year marked the initial year of the Horace G. Fralin Program for Global Studies at North Cross School. Under the leadership of Mark Thompson and Robert Robillard, this new program established an aggressive academic track for upper school students wishing to examine our role in an interconnected world.  More than new course offerings, the Global Studies Program raised the level of intellectual conversation across the upper school.  Speaker series, public interest blogs, community service opportunities, Harvard Model United Nations, and international travel all have a higher profile on our campus as a direct result of our emphasis on global studies. 
Connectivity among nations and to a vast warehouse of information is a reality of the world our students will inherit as adults. We made great strides in adding technology to our classrooms, additions that will allow our teachers and students to fully access the Internet and to use its accumulated knowledge in the classroom.  Last year, we raised more than $300,000 in our mini-campaign for classroom technology.  We made the move to iPads and electronic texts in the upper school and will extend this to the middle school in the upcoming school year.  Admittedly, we have only scratched the surface but the effects of this new technology on our teaching and learning were incredible.
This coming year will see the continued emphasis on foreign language, global studies, and added technology in the classroom, but we will also take our initial steps in the area of computer science.  Partnering with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech University, our students will learn to attack novel problems by creatively using technology.  Initially focused on the middle school, we will rapidly move to a four-year sequence of computer programming at the upper school level.  Simply put, we will teach our students to write computer code, a skill identified by Bill Gates as the most important thing a school can teach a child growing up in the 21st century. 
It is really good to look back at what we accomplished to place it in the bigger picture of growth at North Cross School.  We recognize that our students must be prepared for an entirely different world, one in which they will need to make their own road, not just follow one that is less travelled.  Our vision of North Cross is that of a global student, technologically savvy, possessing a broad knowledge base, and the communication skills necessary to put that knowledge base to work.  This past year showed us all the capacity of our faculty and staff to make great strides in a short amount of time and I get excited about what our collective future holds.
Enjoy your summer and rest up for our future. 


2013 Commencement 


June 1 was a beautiful day for the 2013 Commencement Ceremony at North Cross School. Over 500 friends and family members of our 35 graduates came out to support the Class of 2013! Click below to see pictures from this memorable event. 

Slideshow from Commencement 

In addition to the beautiful weather we also had some very memorable speeches.  Please click the links below to read them:

Pastor George Anderson - Baccalaureate

Dr. Proctor - Commencement

Guest Speaker Mr. Bert Hudnall - Commencement

Valedictorian Shariq Hashmi - Commencement

Donna Horak Retires After 27 Years

Donna Horak has retired after 27 years at North Cross School. Mrs. Horak has been a faculty member in the lower school for all 27 years.  Currently a second grade teacher, Mrs. Horak spent most of her years teaching third grade and is best remembered for her love and enthusiasm for history and special third grade events like Colonial Day and the field trip to Monticello.

In addition to receiving this year's yearbook dedication, Mrs. Horak also received a special farewell and standing ovation at the Commencement Ceremony on June 1.  She was also presented with several gifts from the school and her coworkers, including a framed picture of the original lower school at NCS and an engraved wooden chair with her name, the school logo, and her years of service, at the End of Year Faculty Party.

Donna is beloved by all of her students and fellow faculty members and she will be missed!

2012-13 Division Awards

Click the links below to view the academic and division awards.

Monday, May 20:
Upper School Awards

Friday, May 31:
Middle School Awards

Still time to enroll in Summer Programs!

Sign up now for North Cross School Summer Programs. Click the image above to download the 2013 Summer Programs Catalog and application. 

Summer Reading Selections

Click the image above to download the 2013 Summer Reading List. 
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