Editorial Team

Located in the picturesque Flambeau River region of northwest Wisconsin, Ladysmith is a beautiful destination that is worth visiting throughout the year. North Cedar Academy (NCA), situated in the heart of Ladysmith, is not just a school but a transformative experience that transcends traditional classroom learning. NCA’s philosophy is centered on cultivating well-rounded individuals who have a passion for learning and a sense of global responsibility.

NCA is guided by the principles of respect, integrity, and responsibility, which serve as the foundation for the educational journey. The objective of NCA is not only to prepare students for college but also to equip them with the skills they need to lead meaningful lives and make significant contributions to society.

What makes NCA even more special is its close-knit relationship with the Ladysmith community. It’s not a school separate from the town; it’s woven into the very fabric of local life. Students don’t just learn about the community; they actively participate, discovering the joy of making a difference through volunteer and service opportunities.

Now, picture the NCA campus—a vast 96-acre canvas painted with greenery, hugged by the gentle curves of the Flambeau River. It’s not just a setting; it’s an integral part of the learning experience. Nature isn’t just observed; it becomes the classroom. Science isn’t confined to labs; experiments unfold by the river. Biology isn’t just theory; it’s exploring the wildlife in the nearby woods. Physical education isn’t limited to indoor spaces; it takes advantage of the natural terrain.

NCA isn’t your typical school. It’s a blend of education and nature, seamlessly woven together. Every corner of the campus tells a story, and every lesson extends beyond the classroom. This is where education is a journey, and each step shapes not just knowledge but character.

Activities That Define the NCA Experience

As the vibrant leaves fall and autumn takes hold, NCA transforms into a bustling hub of outdoor activities. Sand volleyball, 3v3 basketball, kayaking, and ultimate frisbee paint the landscape with the hues of physical fitness, teamwork, and camaraderie. The Flambeau River, a gentle companion, offers a tranquil backdrop for kayaking adventures, while the competitive swimming program, in collaboration with the Flambeau Area Swim Team (FAST), unfolds at the indoor Ladysmith High School pool.

When winter blankets Ladysmith with snow, NCA doesn’t hibernate. Instead, it embraces the winter wonderland with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and thrilling trips to Christie Mountain for downhill skiing and snowboarding. The 9-hole disc golf course remains a year-round challenge, a testament to the academy’s commitment to outdoor fun.

But winter at NCA isn’t just about cold adventures; it’s a time for cozy indoor pursuits. Hydroponic gardening, cooking, and art clubs provide creative outlets. Bands and choirs harmonize, and personal fitness, pickleball, badminton, weightlifting, and yoga sessions ensure a blend of physical and artistic engagement throughout the colder months.

As spring breathes life back into the world, NCA reintroduces outdoor activities reminiscent of the fall. Students delve into raised-bed gardening, connecting with nature and learning about sustainable food production. Memorial Park echoes the sounds of racquet and court sports, bringing vibrancy back to the sports facilities.

Regardless of the season, NCA offers a diverse suite of indoor activities. The High School Esports League, coding and gaming clubs, and the Eagles Makerspace provide spaces for students to unleash their creativity using textiles, 3-D printers, and robotics kits. The local pool opens its doors for training and recreation during open swim hours.

These activities aren’t just pastimes; they are threads intricately woven into the fabric of holistic development for NCA students. Physically, students build fitness, coordination, and resilience. Intellectually, creativity and critical thinking blossom through clubs and innovative spaces. Socially, friendships and teamwork flourish, while emotionally, a balanced lifestyle is cultivated, contributing to stress reduction and emotional well-being.

The seasonal ebb and flow ensure continuous engagement, preventing monotony and encouraging adaptability. Each activity, whether under the warm sun, amidst the winter’s chill, or within the welcoming walls of NCA, contributes to the rich tapestry of a well-rounded education—a journey where growth knows no bounds.

Nature as an Extension of the Classroom

NCA leverages its picturesque natural setting to seamlessly integrate nature into the academic curriculum, creating a learning experience that transcends traditional boundaries.

Science Beyond Walls: Science classes embrace the outdoors, conducting pH testing along the Flambeau River and studying plant life cycles in the campus gardens. Real-world applications bring environmental science and biology to life, making learning tangible and exciting.

Art and Physical Education Al Fresco: Art classes draw inspiration from the outdoor environment for lessons in painting and perspective. Simultaneously, physical education takes a dynamic turn with activities like cross-country skiing and hiking, infusing energy into fitness routines.

Informal Learning Spaces: Bonfire nights and outdoor sessions for courses like Contemporary World Issues create informal learning spaces, blending academic rigor with the tranquility of nature. Discussions and lectures unfold against the backdrop of the great outdoors, enhancing student engagement.

STEM in the Open Air: STEM subjects come alive with outdoor experiments. Physics classes launch rockets and conduct egg drops, bridging theoretical concepts with practical applications.

Mind and Body Wellness: Mental wellness takes center stage with Esports classes incorporating outdoor mental health journaling and yoga sessions, finding a serene backdrop in natural settings.

Recreation and Team Building: Recreational venues like the 9-hole disc golf course and sand volleyball court become more than just sports spaces. They serve as hubs for impromptu breaks and team-building exercises, fostering a strong sense of community.

Unique Expressions in Mathematics and Creative Writing: Even seemingly conventional subjects like mathematics and creative writing find a unique expression outdoors. Geometry classes measure the campus area and perimeter, while creative writing sessions draw inspiration from the tranquil surroundings.

Empowering Academic Excellence

NCA is committed to providing an education that goes beyond conventional boundaries and meets the unique academic needs and aspirations of its student body. To achieve this goal, they offer a variety of programs that cater to different interests.

For students seeking intellectual challenges, NCA provides Advanced Placement (AP) courses that allow them to explore college-level classes. These courses prepare students for AP exams, which can earn them college credit and potentially reduce future coursework and costs. Participation in AP courses demonstrates a student’s readiness for college-level work and fosters a deeper understanding and passion for learning.

NCA also celebrates diversity and promotes inclusivity through its ESL/EFL/ELL programs, which focus on improving students’ language skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The aim is to ensure seamless integration, enabling students to actively participate in all aspects of academic and campus life.

NCA’s University Pathway Program (UPP) offers a unique learning experience beyond the classroom. High school students, particularly in grades 11 and 12, can attend university courses and earn up to 60 university credits. They attend classes at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire: Barron County campus, gaining early exposure to the college experience and academic rigor. The credits earned through this program contribute to their university degree and significantly reduce the time and cost of higher education.

For some, the University Pathway Program serves as a stepping stone to graduation with an Associate of Arts and Science degree. NCA has partnerships with esteemed universities like the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Middle Tennessee State University to ensure a smooth transition for Pathway Program graduates into higher education.

Collectively, these programs demonstrate NCA’s commitment to providing a versatile, challenging, and empowering educational environment. From enhancing language proficiency to offering advanced academic challenges and facilitating a seamless transition into higher education, NCA’s curriculum is designed to help students excel in every facet of their academic journey.

Guiding Paths to Higher Education

NCA is dedicated to providing personalized college counseling to students. The school takes a student-centric approach that is tailored to individual needs and aspirations. The program offers customized guidance throughout the intricate process of college selection, application, and admission.

NCA’s college counseling approach is centered around one-on-one sessions with dedicated counselors. The counselors work closely with students to understand their academic interests and career goals. This personalized attention allows for customized guidance and ensures that students receive the support they need to succeed.

NCA provides extensive support to students preparing for college applications. They offer workshops and seminars on crafting compelling essays, preparing for interviews, and understanding the nuances of applications and financial aid. The counselors also offer resources and strategies for standardized test preparation, including exams such as the SAT, ACT, and others.

Besides, the institution draws on the strength of its alumni network to provide invaluable insights to current students. These personal accounts offer real-world perspectives, guiding students through the intricacies of the college admissions process.

For students enrolled in the University Pathway Program, NCA takes the counseling approach a step further. Through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire Barron County campus, Pathway Program students receive additional guidance from a dedicated counselor. This specialized support extends to class selection, placement, and advice on future college and career goals beyond NCA. This dual counseling approach ensures that Pathway Program students are well-equipped not only for their current academic endeavors but also for the educational and career pathways that lie ahead.

Cultivating Skills Beyond the Classroom

At NCA, a holistic education extends beyond traditional academics. The academy embraces a diverse range of extracurricular activities that not only sharpen specific skills but also foster critical life skills essential for personal and professional growth.

The High School Esports League at NCA is a cutting-edge platform where students immerse themselves in the fast-growing world of competitive gaming. Beyond honing gaming skills, participation in HSEL cultivates critical life skills such as strategic thinking, teamwork, and effective communication. This league isn’t just about gaming; it provides a pathway to explore potential careers in the esports industry, fosters a sense of community among gamers, and promotes a competitive yet collaborative environment.

For those with a passion for physical sports, NCA offers participation in the Flambeau Area Swim Team (FAST). Students not only enhance their swimming skills but also learn the value of discipline and team spirit as they compete in various events. Similarly, Ultimate Frisbee at NCA provides a blend of physical exercise, strategic gameplay, and team dynamics, all within the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play. On the other hand, the 9-hole disc golf course on campus serves as a perfect outdoor setting for students to engage in a fun and challenging sport while enjoying the natural beauty of the academy’s surroundings.

Complementing these athletic pursuits is the Eagles Makerspace, a hub of creativity and innovation at NCA. This dynamic space provides students with access to tools and resources for a wide range of creative projects. From 3D printing to robotics kits, students delve into hands-on experiences that enhance their understanding of STEM concepts, foster problem-solving skills, and ignite a passion for innovation and design. Particularly beneficial for students interested in engineering, technology, and the arts, the Makerspace offers a collaborative environment to bring imaginative ideas to life.

Cultivating Holistic Development

Nestled amidst nature, NCA provides a peaceful and serene environment that serves as an integral part of the learning experience. The picturesque surroundings of the academy are utilized to maximize the development of the whole self through various initiatives. These initiatives include hands-on outdoor activities such as kayaking and exploring wooded trails that extend beyond traditional classrooms. The campus also offers activities like outdoor sports, yoga, and fitness clubs that promote physical and mental well-being. Additionally, the academy fosters creativity and reflection through art, music, and writing clubs that benefit from the tranquil setting.

NCA also prioritizes core values that shape the character and mindset of its students. The academy encourages natural curiosity and a passion for continuous learning. Kindness and compassion are woven into the fabric of the academy, creating a community where empathy and inclusivity thrive. The values of goodness and integrity are instilled, promoting moral and ethical behavior. Thoughtfulness and reflection are integrated into the curriculum, fostering mindful individuals who consider the impact of their actions.

Furthermore, NCA emphasizes personal responsibility and accountability, teaching students to take ownership of their learning journey and actions. Resilience and perseverance are also cultivated, preparing students to face life’s challenges with determination. The emphasis on collaboration and teamwork ensures that students not only excel individually but also appreciate the collective strength of collaborative efforts.

Continuing Growth and Innovation

As the NCA (New Century Academy) continues to evolve, its commitment to excellence remains unwavering. The academy’s vision for growth encompasses several exciting initiatives, reflecting the dynamic nature of its approach to education. One notable expansion is the plan to add another 9-holes to the existing disc golf course. This time, it will wind through the wooded trails, enhancing recreational opportunities and integrating the natural surroundings to provide a unique and engaging experience for students. In the realm of athletics, there are plans to augment existing facilities, ensuring that students have access to state-of-the-art resources for physical well-being and sportsmanship.

Renovations are in the pipeline for the third floor of the dormitory to create additional space for students. This initiative aligns with the academy’s dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive residential community.

The Eagles Makerspace, a hub of creativity and innovation, is poised for upgrades. The addition of a Cricut machine and the establishment of a creation/multimedia lab/streaming studio will empower students to explore and express their ideas across various mediums. Furthermore, the expansion of gaming stations in the Esports lab underscores NCA’s commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements.

A distinctive aspect of NCA’s growth strategy is its responsiveness to student interests and needs. The academy places a significant emphasis on involving students in the decision-making process, ensuring that campus offerings align with their aspirations and requirements.

As NCA continues to shape the future of education, these plans for expansion and enhancement reflect a commitment to providing an unparalleled learning experience. The academy remains not only a center for academic excellence but also a dynamic community that evolves in tandem with the aspirations and interests of its students. The journey of growth at NCA is not just a testament to its progress but also a promise of an even more enriching and innovative educational environment for the years to come.

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