By Gracean Ratliff '23
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word student is defined as a scholar or learner, especially one who attends a school.
Although we are all here at North Cross to attend school, go to class, do homework, study hard, make good grades, graduate with honors and go to college; we are all much more than who we are perceived to be in the classroom.
When I walk into each of my classes, my mind tends to place each of my classmates into categories of “Hard Worker”, “Class Clown”, “The Shy Kid”, ect.. However, the more I listen to their stories and hear the way people talk about them, they are all put into the category of “More Than I Perceived Them To Be”.
Once the 3:10 bell rings, all of the students change into something more. Athletes, Artists, Interns, Musicians, Fans and many many more. We all dedicate ourselves, our time and our effort into more than just our academics.
More than 71% of the students participate in varsity athletics, either as a player, manager, or assistant coach. We have brought out teams to many victories, state championships and a great record for the Raider athletics. Some of the students go above and beyond in improving their athletic abilities by participating in club and travel sports. Their efforts not only make their teams better but also improve their game even more.
One of my favorite things about our sports program, both playing and watching, is the Muscaro Maniacs student section. For most of the games, the bleachers always have fans there cheering the players on. Even after their studies and their own practices, they will find themselves at Willis or Cook fields cheering on a team. They give the players more motivation, more energy and more firepower to do the best in their game.
Mrs. Jackson’s and Mrs. Sledd’s classrooms are filled with many talented artists. They have taught us to put our creative and wonderful minds to use in the classroom, but some students have a passion and love for what they are taught and they show the world what they can do. They take what they do and make masks, stickers, jewelry, crochet clothing, then become business men and women and sell them. There has always been a person in at least one of my classes who is always doodling on their worksheets. Those people have always stuck out to me because they are always doing more art outside of the art room. With or without a passion for a future in the arts, we are among some of the most talented artists who are always striving to do more.
During the summer, we have so many opportunities to participate in internships for many local businesses in Roanoke. Even during our longed for break away from being a student, some of us take those opportunities and get to experience what we’re passionate about in the real world. We become architects, medical “professionals”, interior designers, construction workers, set builders, biologists, designers and physical therapists, along with many more. The summer internship program really gives us a great chance to put the word “more” to use. Once we age and become eligible, a lot of us become a part of the working class. With having shifts before school, after school, on weekends, on holidays and even picking up a shift on days when we aren’t in school; we are always looking for more ways to spend our free time. We are babysitters, lifeguards, hostesses, waitresses, sales associates and so much more. Some spend two days out of their week working and others find the time to work every day after school. A lot of our student workers, along with having loads of AP assignments, extracurriculars and spending time with their families and friends; keep working even while their sport is in season. With as much stress that comes along with working, on top of the other stress brought on by school, sports and other activities; we find time, energy and eagerness to do more.
Mrs. Doninni and Mrs. Capellaro are lucky to be able to teach such talented musicians, and in some cases have taught them for as long as they have been musicians. Hearing some of my peers play their instruments outside of the bandroom, learning to play new instruments just for fun and having a passion to sing off of the stage; is music to my ears. I have been surprised by many to hear that they know how to play a completely different instrument than what they play in the band and that they are involved in All District or State Choir. The band and choir rooms are filled with many musicians who strive to do more.
During activity period, we are offered many different clubs to participate in. Some of those have made such an impact on us that we take what we learned from the club and use it outside of school. After a crocheting club was offered, Willis Hall became filled with chrocheres who are constantly working on a new hat, scarf or stuffed animal. Guitar Club has helped many beginning musicians learn how to play and often go home and practice even more. With our amazing opportunities during activity period, we have an even broader horizon for learning and doing something more.
Other than our efforts in expanding what we learn from extracurricular activities, we still prove to be more. During Spirit Week, everyone dresses up everyday and makes homecoming week even more fun. We have opened up our homes to the dorm students and Argentinian students to learn more about their culture and to give back even more. Willis Hall is filled with people who do and are much more than what may be perceived.
We are not strangers to “judging a book by its cover.’ ‘It’s impossible to properly categorize someone just by how we see them, hear them, how we feel around them and overall how they come across. But I encourage you to change their category to “More Than I Perceived Them To Be” once that perspective has changed.
We are surrounded by fascinating and talented people who do more every day. Although by definition, we are “scholars and learners who attend a school,” we are so much more.
Afterall, more does happen here.
By Helen Hertz '24
For the past two months I’ve watched as my classmates have become comfortable enough to take off their masks, and go back to “normal,” as so many people like to say.
But what is normal anymore?
This might seem like a silly question, because of course “normal” is a world where people don’t cover half their faces, or avoid close contact, or create events around certain sets of rules. “Normal” isn’t even being entirely cautious with our health.
So I guess with that out of the way, my next question is; How does one return to a “normal” they never knew in the first place?
All of the adults I’ve spoken to lately have begun to encourage me to begin my “teen experience” now that COVID seems to have hit a slow patch. What the “teen experience” is to them I’m sure is much different than the modern “teen experience”, but nonetheless, how can I live a life that seems so different from the one I’ve lived for two years of my life?
I find a strange comfort in wearing a mask. I like the fact that people are more cautious with their health. I like that I’ve barely gotten sick over the past two years.
There are so many things I’ve liked about my lifestyle since March 2020, and I’m not sure how jumping off the deep end into a post-COVID world will sit with me.
I’m not going to throw statistics in your face about COVID’s effects on teenagers’ mental health, because as much as I’d like to, I’d like this to feel more like an honest discussion about what our futures look like than spewing information to prove a point.
Because adjustments are hard. Especially complete changes to one’s lifestyle.
I go to the grocery store now and I’m the only one wearing a mask anymore, I still turn down invitations to hangout with my friends because I don’t want to be in packed public spaces, and I still make an effort to keep my circle small, just in case one of them gets COVID.
I’ve gotten so used to doing these things that I look at pictures of myself in school from two years ago, and I don’t even remember what my “normal” life was like.
I know people are eager to live their lives. I know students are excited to have a normal prom, a normal graduation, and a normal summer. But maybe there is a way we can live those experiences to the fullest without becoming overwhelmed by a sudden surge of “normal.”
This transition period from “COVID life” to “after COVID life” isn’t going to be easy.
So I’ve created a list of things I suggest we as a community try and do, to be a little more careful with ourselves, as we adjust to a “normal” we haven’t lived for a while.
First, let’s try to be more sensitive to people who are going through the adjustment process.
I’ve been seeing a lot of pressure on students lately to completely dive into school-wide events, assemblies, and ceremonies. We’ve previously had a lot of Zoom options, but as of late the general consensus seems to be to lead everyone directly back into the large crowded rooms that are full of people.
Going from a 20 student classroom for assembly, to the entire upper school in the auditorium can be daunting. In being more sensitive to those who would like to slowly move their way to the auditorium, keeping Zoom in at least one classroom a morning can be a huge help.
Secondly, we as a community should both try to understand students who continue to wear masks, as well as be understanding of students who have chosen not to wear masks.
I’ve been hearing quite a bit of cross talk about students and their mask wearing status, when the truth is, we have no idea why they either don’t wear a mask, or still wear a mask.
Students who don’t wear masks might finally feel comfortable enough to not wear one to school. Students who still wear masks to school might have a reason to wear one we don’t know about, an elderly relative to protect, a sickly family member or friend whose immune system is weak, or they might just prefer to wear one for their own health.
We are a mask optional school. We should be comfortable with mask wearers, and non-mask wearers.
Last but not least, we should understand that when students do adjust to “normal”, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily possess the energetic, outgoing, and extroverted “North Cross” attitude that people have come to expect from the students.
With all this talk about “going back to normal”, I think we forget that “normal” looks different for everyone. One kid’s normal could be a quiet day, and another’s could be an energy-packed, high strung, chaotic day.
We need to expect and cater to both. As a school it is our job to make sure all students feel welcome, regardless of what their “normal” is.
We aren’t a community without different people. We aren’t a community without different opinions. Therefore, we shouldn’t be a school without options.
Gracean Ratliff '23