North Shore Country Day’s first community gathering of the school year—known as the opening Morning Exercise or Morning Ex—took place on Sept. 10 and began with a reading of two poems, “Our Own Path” by Nikki Giovanni and “Dawn Revisited” by Rita Dove.
Students, faculty, staff and even a few parents spread out on the playing fields in front of the auditorium for the first in-person all-school gathering in more than 18 months. Head of School Tom Flemma welcomed and introduced new members of the school community—including 114 new students. Of those, 19 hail from outside the Chicago metropolitan area and seven are from outside the United States.
“It feels great to have our entire student body here with us and to start re-establishing the rhythms of the school year that are so important to all of us,” Flemma said.
The Class of 2022 boasts 12 “Lifers”—students who have attended the school from junior or senior kindergarten through 12th grade: Jamie Andren of Golf, Tommy Flickinger of Winnetka, Jibraan Ghazi of Glenview, Liliana Green of Chicago, Robert Hansell of Winnetka, Chris Johnson of Glenview, Zander Khan of Evanston, Laura Marshall of Evanston, Nick Potter of Evanston, Anna Ristic of Winnetka, Mason Roberts-Jones of Highland Park and Ellie Stevenson of Winnetka.
The Lifers addressed the crowd and talked about their experiences at North Shore over the years, recalling fond memories and giving advice to the younger students. After their remarks, they closed out the ceremony by each ringing the school bell.
The tradition of the entire school community gathering for Morning Exercise goes back to the school’s opening in 1919. In the early years, Morning Ex was held every day. Today, the event is held every few weeks and features all kinds of faculty, staff or student presentations, previews of upcoming musical or theatrical productions and guest visitors. During the coronavirus pandemic, the presentations have been pre-recorded or live streamed.
North Shore Country Day’s annual 10-minute play festival “Take 10” returned to the stage on April 13. For the first time in three years, students performed their original plays in front of a live audience with performances in the NSCD Auditorium.
All seven plays were written, produced and directed by students in the upper school directing class. Some were based on personal experience, observations and media events, while others stemmed from pure creativity. Once the scripts were finalized, the student directors held auditions, cast the roles and ran their own rehearsals.