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By Campbell Lake and Emma Cartledge
One of life’s most difficult tasks is figuring out what career to pursue and Symposium gave students an opportunity to learn from experts in different fields of work, while also exploring fun workshops.
“My favorite session was The Burial, the painting with Mr. Crawford,” said Grace Wenk (’19), who enjoyed her first experience at Symposium. “I learned that you can interpret one painting to say so many different things.”
Symposium consisted of four 45-minute sessions, each session had a local expert discussing what to expect from their field of work – everything from cardiac surgeons to wilderness therapy.
“This year, I really liked the Viva la Cupcakes session,” said Blake Willis (’17). “I learned a lot about the art of cupcake making. Like, cupcakes go bad after two days and most stores throw them out. Baking is something I’ve never thought about as a career, but I really liked it so who knows.”
Students were exposed to things that they may have never thought they would be interested in. It gives the younger students more direction and ideas of things they might want to do. It gives the older students the opportunity to see things that they could study in college or do in the near future.
“My first session was an architecture class,” Kevin Bao (’18), who also attended a self-defense class led by police. “The most interesting thing I did was learning how to defend myself if someone were to attack me.”
Many parents spoke at Symposium. Lucas (’17) and Vincient (’16) Arnold’s father is a cardiac surgeon, who came and spoke about his profession. Sterling Moskal’s father, an orthopedic surgeon, discussed how doctors strive to stay on the cutting edge of their fields and how anyone can apply that mentality to their careers. Victoria Riegodedios’ (’19) mom spoke about her field, epidemiology. Jack Fishwick’s (’16) father spoke about being a trial lawyer.
“All of the different sessions I went to were really cool,” Ansleigh Graeff said. “It made me think about what I want as a career because it’s not as far away as it seems.”
The Symposium sessions were a great success this year, thanks to the hardworking staff members.
With 34 speakers in 32 different sessions, the student staff along with teacher-organizers Jennifer Landry and Emma Greenwell had their hands full in terms of preparation. Landry and Greenwell teamed up in the fall to send out preliminary save-the-dates to previous speakers, and around Christmas time sent out the official invitations to old and new prospective speakers. The duo then had to find a keynote speaker to kick off the day. Then came the t-shirts, usually designed by a creative student – in this case it was Sam Sawyer (’16). Once all students signed up for their desired classes, Landry and Greenwell spent a large amount of time organizing each presenter into an available session.
Landry noted that she came to campus on the Wednesday prior to Symposium for seven hours as she organized class schedules and made last minute adjustments.
“Overall it’s a very long process,” Greenwell said, adding that “this year was different due to the snow.”
On top of the faculty’s tireless efforts, Symposium wouldn’t happen without the student volunteers each year. This year’s staff included 13 members whose main tasks were following up with the speakers and answering any questions they had to ensure a smoothly run day. On the morning of the fun-filled event, the staff arrived to campus early to complete last minute tasks. One specific and important job of the staff members is to meet the speakers upon arrival and help them with anything they need, from carrying props and supplies to setting up a computer to project the speaker’s presentation.
Senior Madison Bloomfield has dedicated her time to the Symposium staff for three years and loves the experience.
“I think it’s really neat to be on the staff,” Bloomfield said, “and it is also a great time meeting the people when they arrive first thing in the morning.”
The 13 student staff members contacted 34 speakers - about three speakers per person. It is the students’ responsibility to make sure the speakers are well prepared.
Kerin Daly (‘15) is a four-year participant and was very enthusiastic about her involvement as a staff member.
“It was cool to participate and help out behind the scenes,” Daly said. “I enjoyed welcoming the speakers in the morning because it is so generous that they would give their time to North Cross.”
Nate Richardson (‘16) joined the staff for his first time this year and was glad to help out.
“I got to meet speakers that I wouldn’t have the chance to talk to otherwise,” Richardson said.
The staff was overwhelmingly appreciative of Landry and Greenwell’s hard work this year, considering the stress and pressure with the weather that put a damper on their progress.
“It was nice to help Mrs. Greenwell and Mrs. Landry after all they do to get everything ready so that Symposium can be the best experience possible,” Daly said.
By Meagan Pruitt
From Utah to Virginia, Nani Moskal (‘08) has traveled over 2,000 miles, bringing change to children’s lives.
After graduating from the University of Mary Washington, Moskal moved to Wyoming to make strides concerning her passion for psychotherapy. For the last two years, Moskal worked with at-risk kids at Second Nature, a wilderness therapy camp in Salt Lake City, Utah. These individuals received group and one-on-one therapy with the counselors, while they engaged in schoolwork. They learned wilderness and camping skills; they also developed respectful communication skills and how to cope with their struggles from home.
“It’s really cool to see them come together from different issues and challenges,” Moskal said, “and to see them work through that.”
While she enjoyed being wilderness counselor in the West, it came with some sacrifices --one of which was the living arrangements. With an apartment two hours away from camp, Moskal lived two separate lives. When she was working, she stayed up to eight days at a time at the camp. During this period, she had to give up being in contact with her loved ones back in Virginia.
Due to this inconvenience with her schedule, Moskal decided it was time for a change. At this same time, Sarah Hill made the switch from the school’s Guidance Counselor to working in a similar department at Carilion Clinic. After Headmaster Dr. Christian J. Proctor mentioned the open position to Moskal’s mother, she realized this was the chance to change from her nomadic lifestyle to the one she was more familiar with.
“Knowing that I was looking at grad schools for something similar and that I had been doing a lot of therapeutic work out in Utah, I wondered if that was something I’d be interested in,” Moskal said. “And it just worked out perfectly with the timing. I had to quickly move everything from Utah to here, but it just worked out really well with my schedule. I couldn’t have pictured anything else to work out better, so it just happened by fate I think.”
At the beginning of February, Moskal began to teach a guidance class in the Lower School and health education for 6th graders. Currently, the lower schoolers are learning whether or not they should handle certain things on their own and the magnitude of tattling. The young middle schoolers are discussing the importance of time management between sports, musical rehearsals and other extra-curricular activities. They have covered electronics use, since iPads have become a key learning tool at North Cross, and how to behave appropriately in all types of relationships, specifically teacher-student relationships.
“It’s different having her back home. She has been gone for the past six years so it’s kind of weird having her back home,” said Sterling Moskal (‘15), Moskal’s second youngest brother. “I don’t ever see her at school so it’s not any different than it was before she started working at school.”
Because of her history in Utah, she has been able to share those life tools and teach them with students here on campus. Moskal’s main goal is to achieve respect: for everyone to get along with one another and to communicate respectfully.
“As humans, we all have that ability to improve how we talk to each other,” Moskal said, “or how we interact with each other on a daily basis.”
While she is mainly a teacher for the lower and middle school, she is available for the upper school as a counselor too. She is usually present at assemblies and meetings as well. For people who need someone to listen to her, she is available in the mornings: Monday and Wednesday at 8:30-10:15 and Thursday and Friday at 10:15-11:30; as for afternoons, she’s available on Monday and Thursday at 2:30-3:30 and Wednesday through Friday at 1:30-3:30.
At Second Nature, drug addictions was one of many issues teenagers were dealing with. With her history in assisting people with these issues there, Moskal is able and willing to help teenagers, so they don’t have to move out West.
“To any students involved with or struggling with drug addiction, first and foremost I would say I can only offer advice to those who are open and ready for help,” Moskal said. “For those seeking advice, you are not alone. And no matter what drug, how long, or how severe the addiction, there is always a way out (and someone to help). Never, ever be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.”
By Meagan Pruitt
Although the Tutoring Club actively aids young students on a weekly basis, they took on a special project for one month during the students’ club time to sponsor a journalism program for the Community Youth Program (CYP) students at St. John's Episcopal Church.
Since September, members of the Tutoring Club have been arriving at St. John's nearly every week. On the Third floor, there is an activity room that students across the Valley come to for help with their academics, get some food and support in general. Volunteers provide assistance until 5 p.m., which is when dinner is served. Shortly afterwards, the remaining students journey off into their clubs: art or journalism.
For five weeks Willis Hall students have helped CYP children develop their own newspaper, and these 15 children did so by working on 18 computers in the computer lab. This improved their typing skills, according to some of the children.
"We get to talk about other people's lives and how they feel and what they do," said Sadichchha Sharma, who is a 5th grader at Wasena Elementary School, and has been involved with CYP for two years. "We get to be creative."
When asked why she loves the CYP program, Sharma talked about the access to computers, and the benefits of some assistance with their homework. While they do get to play games and go on field trips, she also acknowledges that the program is educational.
Some of the tutors involved in the journalism club are Chase Overton ('17), Sulan Yan ('17) and Ocean Ding ('18). One of the deadlines for the children's newspaper required interviewing these students. In this process, tight-knit friendships were formed.
Overton, who has been coming to CYP since the start of the winter term, participates in both the journalism club and tutoring. During this time, he has grown particularly attached to a fifth grader named Jeremiah, who he describes as his little buddy.
"It gives you an edge to help people out," Overton said. "And it makes me feel smarter."
Depicted as fun, talented, funny and someone who likes to explore stuff, according to Jeremiah, Overton simply adds to the fun by exposing his buddy to new music and hip hop artists such as Chance the Rapper.
Another tutor, Yan, has made significant strides by being involved in the program. Having arrived from China to attend North Cross in the fall, she wanted to do something that would touch others beyond the high school walls. After listening to student announcements, she was able to achieve this through the Tutoring Club.
"I realized that tutoring is apart of American society," Yan said, "so I'm here.”
For five weeks, Yan has had a duel extra-curricular schedule between JV basketball practices and tutoring. However, for the last three weeks she helped with the journalism program at CYP.
In the process, she has had to overcome the challenges of teaching accented children as a newcomer herself. One memory that Yan recalled was teaching spelling. A Nepali girl, who Yan was studying with, inquired about the spelling of "geography." Unfortunately, Yan falsely answered the question. Even though it was an embarrassing moment for her, she described it as a really good memory.
What makes Yan's bold decision to tutor even more unique is her Chinese culture. Back in China, children are only tutored if they are in special need, according to Yan; people don't believe that they can or should tutor children, or anyone else for that matter.
One of the CYP adult leaders believes the journalism program to be strengthening the children academically and socially.
"I think it has helped them acquire more computer literary skills," LeAnn Frank said, "so it's helped them get on the computer. For some [it has] sharpened interviewing skills, and introduced them to people they haven't met before and learn more about them."
By Tanner Smith
Keeping in line with one of the themes of the 2014-15 school year, the winter pep rally was a major event that required cooperation from almost the entire school, highlighted by a dance by students and teachers to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.
“Our choreographer from Hidden Valley, Maddie Dodd, did all the magic and we just followed her lead,” said Isaiah Harris (’15), one of the lead dancers. “We practiced about three times a week and then everything came together and it was fun.”
While all of the dancers had hats and sunglasses on, Harris found a way to make the outfit all his own with a tie.
“I wanted to go for the independent school by day,” he said, “and gangster-by-night look.”
The music choice of Uptown Funk was debated among the SCA members, but Shamani Jackson (’17) thought it was an inspired choice.
“I loved the music,” she said. “I liked that it wasn’t boring and it was somewhat relatable to us younger people.”
Joseph Cartledge (’16), who was the MC for the swimming team’s skit, enjoyed the dance.
“The music extravaganza was my favorite part,” he said. “I didn’t know that Mr. Belderes could do a cartwheel; that was pretty impressive.”
Belderes initially had even grander plans for his entrance.
“The initial plan was to do a cart-wheel and then a backflip,” he said, “but it has been about 10 years and two knee surgeries since I’ve done that so that wasn’t going to happen.”
In a positive development, he is physically fine after his gymnastic display, which he was able to do despite no formal gymnastic training.
“I’ve got a little swelling in my left knee,” he said. “I think that was primarily from getting hammered in the faculty-student basketball game, but it’s okay.”
Jackson thought Dr. Finney, who glided across the gym during the performance in fancy attire, looked the part of a Roman Empress.
“My favorite part was when everyone started dancing,” Jackson said. “I loved Dr. Finney’s strut; she looked fabulous.”
Other than the dance, the main events of the rally were the athletic competitions. One of the main competitions was the student versus faculty basketball game. While statistics were not officially kept, it can be fairly stated that Holley led the student team in fouls while Belderes led the faculty team in taunts from the bench. The game was the event that caught the attention of Dakoda Rose (’18).
“The teacher versus student game was my favorite part,” Rose said. “I liked how the ref was on the teacher’s side and the game ended up being a tie.”
Susan Wenk, head of the Parents Association, may have had a hand in the scandalous final score.
“The student-faculty basketball game was a lot of fun,” she said. “Can you believe it was a tie score?”
Bennett Holley (’15), who was an MC for the basketball competitions for the Lower School students, found a comfort level behind the mic.
“I like hyping up the crowd,” he said. “It was pretty fun doing the thing with the kids.”
In order to have a pep rally, an event that did not even last two hours, months of planning were required. The efforts were led by the SCA along with Wenk and Susan Card of the Parent’s Association. Wenk appreciates the efforts of many students that made this possible.
“The students have worked on this for months,” she said. “They put all the teams together and talked to all of the coaches, who came up with what each team was going to do for their skit. It was an amazing amount of student planning with the SCA and the upper school.”
Belderes sees the two enthusiastic ladies as the driving force behind the event.
“I give all the credit for the pep rally,” he said, “to whom I refer to as the Susans, Mrs. Wenk and Mrs. Card.”
By Emma Cartledge
As the wise Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
The community has a firm belief in the importance of proper education and is trying to introduce new ways to strengthen the system in the future.
On Jan. 29 a panel of powerful Roanoke educators will meet and collaborate on ways to better the future of education in the community. These leaders include North Cross alumna and TED speaker Katherine Fulton, Dr. Rita Bishop, Superintendent of Roanoke City Public Schools, Dr. Robert Sandel, President of Virginia Western Community College, and Dr. Christopher Howard, President of Hampden-Sydney College.
In a press release to the community Headmaster Dr. Christian J. Proctor said, “We are excited to have Katherine back on campus, and honored to host Dr. Bishop, Dr. Sandel and Dr. Howard. With the constantly increasing presence of technology in the classroom and an emphasis on creativity in the classroom, we are in the midst of an incredibly dynamic time in the field of education. Education: 2025 is a tremendous opportunity to hear from three insightful educators from diverse educational communities. Having these educators on stage with Katherine Fulton, a dynamic and imaginative thought leader, should make this an entertaining and thought provoking evening.”
“This all began because the North Cross Alumni Association felt we needed another way to acknowledge some outstanding graduates of the School,” said Director of Development and Major Gifts Chris Moore. “We have been giving the Alumni Service Award since 1999, and we regularly have alums that are nominated that don’t live in Roanoke and don’t have a lot of direct contact with the school. This was a way to acknowledge a different group of alums who have distinguished themselves since their graduation from North Cross.”
The topics of discussion at this forum will be mainly of the goals for 2025. These topics are the future of a liberal arts education, and how technology will continue to have an impact on the way the community learns.
Fulton, a graduate of North Cross School and Harvard College will be mediating during this event. Katherine is a director at the world’s largest consulting firm, Deloitte Consulting, where she leads the practice dedicated to nonprofits, philanthropy and social change. Her most famous talk, on the future of philanthropy, was given on the TED main stage, and her innovative course design at Duke University was featured in Time magazine.
By Campbell Lake
North Cross middle and upper school students experienced a taste of American history during the Martin Luther King Jr. presentation on Jan. 15.
Speakers including Community Outreach Coordinator Alex Hash, Upper School Director Mark Thompson, and Headmaster Dr. Christian J. Proctor spoke in celebration of the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Local NAACP President Brenda Hale also added her voice, which was well received by students. After the presentation, the halls were buzzing with positive comments and reflections about Hale’s wise words.
“What I liked most about Mrs. Hale’s speech was her passion,” Isaiah Harris (’15) said. “She gave me something to look up to and aspire to with my senior speech coming up.”
Each presenter took the time to voice their opinion on the matter, and Hale shared personal experiences that completely captured her audience.
Hash took the time to recite an excerpt from Dr. King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech in his moment on stage. He later went on to reflect upon King’s wise words.
“The power of a dream,” Hash said. “It wasn’t easy. Seeing your dreams come true is never easy.”
Hash went on to introduce the school to Hale, the reigning president of the Roanoke Branch NAACP since 2001. Her kind face and humble appearance seemed to grip the students, parents and faculty throughout the auditorium.
Hale’s speech touched upon both the hardships King faced and his accomplishments in his never ending struggle for equality for all races. Hale casually mentioned that she had the unique opportunity to meet King as a young high school student. King stopped by her small high school in Connecticut during one of his many tours to spread awareness and spark ideas of equality.
“It was so exciting to have someone of his caliber there,” said Hale of King’s unexpected visit to her school, “someone in the trenches that was out doing peaceful protest in the Deep South.”
In Hale’s account of the event, she explained how she was taken up on the stage and was given the privilege to shake the iconic figure’s hand.
“He [King] even pulled my pigtails!” she said. “It was a very special time, that’s something that you’ll never forget. Just like no one will forget the times he sacrificed so much for us. Everyone can still recollect exactly what they were doing when they heard the news that MLK was assassinated.”