LAKE PLACID - North Country School hosted its fifth annual Community Pancake Breakfast May 9 on the grounds of its 200-acre North Elba campus. The dining room served close to 450 pancakes, smothered in maple syrup made from the school's own trees, to approximately 225 visitors who came to campus despite the less than hospitable weather.
"I'm so pleased that so many people made the effort to come," said event organizer Kelli Culpepper. The breakfast was intended as an open house, to allow areas residents to see and learn more about the school.
"Many people have lived here their whole lives and drive past our sign every day-but they've never had an opportunity to see what we do," Kelli noted. "This is our chance to be a good neighbor and to say thank you to all the community members who support us throughout the year," she said.
Just last week, for instance, NCS eighth graders spent several days apprenticing in local retail stores and businesses as part of the school's annual Career Days program. Throughout the year, other area vendors donate prizes and awards for special school events like the annual Title Trek reading challenge or the Crag-a-thon rockclimbing competition.
After the complimentary breakfast, attendees enjoyed tours of the school's facilities, including the barnyard, organic gardens, and quirky main building that features an indoor climbing wall and "floating" staircase. Visitors also were treated to a sneak preview of the set design, still under construction, for the coming theatre performance of James and the Giant Peach, to which the public is invited on Thursday, June 4 at 7 pm.
Activities for young children featured face painting and other arts and crafts, braiding the horses' tails and decorating their manes with flowers, and planting seeds in the greenhouse. A ski sale and book give-away rounded out the morning's offerings, which lasted from 9:00 until just before noon.
North Country School students-children in grades four through nine-provided the bulk of the labor for the morning's events. Student coordinator for the breakfast, eighth grader Ayanna Morel, recruited more than 70 of her peers to volunteer and organized them into work teams that made and posted signs, helped direct parking, greeted guests, worked in the kitchen, waited on tables, and led tours and other activities for visiting children. Student guitarists provided background music during breakfast.
"Ayanna did an amazing job of motivating the other kids to get involved," said Kelli Culpepper. "It was a wonderful morning from start to finish, and we're so glad that we had such a great turnout."