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A Letter of Appreciation to Northwood School

During the Legacy Family recognition, Ross Bartell ’80 (who competed in hockey with Head of School, Mike Maher) read a letter he composed as if his parents had written the piece. In the letter, the Bartell parents expressed their appreciation for all that Northwood had done for many in the family and who have prospered as a result of their experiences at school.

Here's Ross’s letter:


June 9th, 2023

Dear Northwood School’s Administration, Faculty, Support staff, Coaches, and Alumni:

To simplify, I’ll refer to our 9 Bartell alums as “our kids”.

Jean and I want to take a moment to thank each of you for your part in developing our relationship to what it is today.  As a result, our kids received an outstanding well-rounded education and advanced athletically.

To the administration, thank you for being honest with us during the admission phase.  You made no promises while opening the door for each of them to prove their worth.  Our kids experienced great leadership from Headmasters John Friedlander and Ed Good.  And the school is in great hands with Mike Maher at the helm. 

To the faculty, thank you for your guidance via the hands-on approach to bring the best out of each one of our kids.  A special thanks to those involved in guiding the 8 boys, and Sara and Leslie through the college selection process. And to Reno and Coach Delventhal for intercepting and confiscating the MANY cookie-care-packages from my wife…. Poor Ross thought his mother forgot about him when the cookies abruptly stopped arriving after 2 weeks.  Reno gained 10 pounds and Coach D. eventually had a jersey to fit Ross….

To the support staff who silently made life at Northwood more enjoyable for our kids.  Whether it was a meal, a light bulb, a ride, or a friendly face, you made a difference to our family.  Nurse Mary Hardy and Herbie from the maintenance team – wonderful. And good ‘ol Chief, the famous night watchman. Boy, was I happy to pass the household reins to him…..

To the coaches, we thank you for teaching our kids that attitude and effort make a difference and that no one athlete is bigger or better than the team.  I just wish you could have taught Max, Josh, and Ross how to stay out of the damn penalty box….

Finally, to the alumni whose contributions make the school a better place and provide the foundation we enjoy today.

ROI (Return on Investment) - - - - coming from a business-minded family it’s always an important topic.  ROI – is usually a financial term, but in Jean’s and my eyes, the return on our investment was how our kids developed and benefitted from their time at Northwood, what they did with their new-found post-Northwood self, and if they embraced the PAY-IT-FORWARD traits so important to assisting next generations.  We are so delighted with our ROI.

A note on each of OUR KIDS and how Northwood proved beneficial to them:

  • Son Jeff – in true Jeff fashion, he put himself on the accelerated schedule at Northwood and continued that pace graduating from Clarkson Engineering in a quick 3 ½ years.
  • Cousin J.R. – excelled at Northwood and had a great career playing for Plattsburg.  Jean and I had such great fun on Northwood hockey trips with his wonderful parents, Doc and Rose.
  • Grandson Josh – followed Ross to Northwood and Clarkson where he had a great career playing for Mark Morris (Northwood alum and Northwood coach), J.B. is currently Assistant Athletic Director at Clarkson and father to 4 hockey playing boys…. Grandma Jean feels for Josh’s wife Meg!!
  • Granddaughter Sara – she proudly showed the boys that there IS another GREAT WINTER SPORT as she excelled as a competitive skier at Northwood and Clarkson where she captained the team her senior season.
  • Grandsons Dan and Mike – both excelled at Northwood where they developed a love of the Adirondacks. Mike nurtured that passion and moved to Adirondacks years ago after playing for Oswego State.  Dan’s passion for the Adirondacks - I remember him once saying, “Grandpa, there’s nothing better than getting out of the car at Northwood and inhaling that first blast of Adirondack air.”  Dan’s wife Julie attended Northwood’s soccer camps as a youngster. Who knew she’d grow up to become part of our Northwood Legacy!!
  • Grandson Max – truly engulfed the Northwood spirit, went on to junior hockey and then a playing career at  Utica College.  Max has a lot in common with his father Ross….  Odd, they’ve both lead every team they’ve played for in penalties….. I think they must take after their mothers….
  • Grand-daughter-in-law – Leslie Usherwood – marched through Northwood with her normal vibrancy and pounded her way to a successful collegiate tennis career at Oswego. Leslie showed her TRUE Northwood and BARTELL colors two Saturdays ago by marrying our grandson, Max, becoming Leslie Usherwood Bartell, such a wonderful addition to our family. By the way, Leslie and her sister Lauren and father Lou also played hockey at Northwood. If Leslie doesn’t misbehave too badly, maybe we’ll let Lauren and Lou into the B-Northwood clan in due time.
  • And finally, Ross, interesting that his wife Debra sent a few of her children to the Northwood Soccer camps as youngsters, well before knowing a single Bartell!!  I once heard my daughter-in-law politely complain about doing 5 consecutive loads of laundry without a single non-Northwood item, only to look at piles 6 through 10 seeing only Clarkson apparel…. After Northwood, Ross played for and graduated from Clarkson.  It’s nice to see that he finally grew up to be the tallest, most handsome, polite, weight conscious, referee-loving member of our clan!!!!!!!

Northwood, I’m certain our kids graduated as better individuals than upon their arrival.  And I hope our family left Northwood a better place than we found it.  From the bottom of our hearts, Jean and I sincerely THANK YOU Northwood School.

Signed:     Lester and Jean Bartell