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April 25, 2021

Dear Families,

The students had a Dress Down Day on Friday in support of the Travis Roy Foundation. As most of you know, Travis attended NYA and went on to achieve his lifelong dream of playing Division 1 hockey for Boston University. Tragically, 11 seconds into his first shift as a Terrier, Travis suffered a serious spinal injury that left him paralyzed. He committed his life to helping those with spinal cord injuries and raising awareness and funds for spinal cord research. He remained a true friend of NYA, regularly visiting with our students. When Travis passed away this past fall, he left a legacy and the work of his foundation continues. Jason Currier, NYA ’95, Travis Roy Foundation board member, and friend of Travis, spoke to the students via Zoom regarding the foundation’s work and answered questions.

Students and faculty recognized Earth Day on Thursday, April 22. Earth Day was established in 1970 as a way to educate society on environmental issues, and the classes continued this tradition. The festivities began with a virtual visit by author and NYA alumnus David Griswold ’03. David discussed climate change and his book, Fur & Feather Stand Together. David is also assisting the NYA Environmental Club reach their goal of a campus-wide conversion to LED lighting by donating a copy of his book to all who make a gift of $50 or more to the Club’s effort. Light bulbs that use LED technology are more environmentally friendly, consume less power, reduce greenhouse and carbon dioxide emissions, and generate less heat while also offering dramatic energy savings. NYA has received over $18,000 in gifts from seven families to support a campus-wide conversation to LED lighting. The conversion work is already well underway. To make a gift and secure your copy of the book, please visit

In addition to Mr. Griswold’s talk, we celebrated Earth Day in many different ways around campus. The following are just a few examples:

Ms. Karen and Ms. Jen’s Toddler classroom have been exploring the basic elements that make up Earth with their land, air, and water jars! They have also enjoyed Schim Schimmel’s book The Family of Earth as well as singing their spring songs. One of the children’s favorite songs is about welcoming the daffodils!

Miss Kathi and Miss Kassi’s Toddler class celebrated Earth Day by closely observing nature, planting grass, painting an Earth puppet, and playing with their Earth ball!

Ms. Leslie’s and Ms. Cindy’s Primary B class has appointed themselves to the Green Team! Each day last week, they  looked for ways to take care of our Earth. They discovered how they are change-makers when we turn off the lights in the bathroom, water the plants, recycle, and be peaceful with all bugs!

The kindergarten friends began a botany study of flowers. They dissected flowers and labeled all their parts before making window art with them. They planted tulip bulbs outside off their classroom deck. The children were so excited when they saw the first blooms of spring, so this felt like a very fitting project to get their hands in the earth on Earth Day. In recognition of David Griswold, the kindergarteners fashioned this Earth Day poem inspired by Fur & Feather Stand Together.  They focused on rhyme and alliteration and spent the last few weeks studying poetry as a part of their shared reading times.

Inspired by David’s actions, Middle School and Lower School classes made ribbons for the Climate Ribbon Project and displayed them around Griswold Quad.

The fifth graders collaboratively researched, brainstormed, and categorized actions they can take to protect the Earth. Students then chose an action to commit to and persuade others of its importance by creating and displaying PSA posters.

The seventh grade met with David for the first time to discuss what inspired him to write his book.

In the Upper School, the AP Environmental Science Class is coordinating some Royal River clean up with the Town of Yarmouth.

The Upper School athletic seasons are in full swing, with competitions in all sports set to be “under our belts” this upcoming week. It’s been wonderful to welcome a small number of home fans to the sidelines. Coaches will send weekly event sign-ups and details to team rosters. We are incredibly appreciative of our community’s continued commitment to new COVID guidelines and our Return to Campus plan. The Panthers love the spectator support!

With the likelihood of various schedule changes this season, be sure to sign up  for schedule updates under the Notify Me link on the website. Follow our Athletics social media accounts for specific program updates and highlights.

Middle School teams continue to train and refine their sport skills in the absence of interschool competitions. We are constantly impressed with the creativity of our coaches and the dedication of our Panthers!

On The Bright Side:

On Friday, April 16, the sixth grade held their annual Geo Expo, with the fifth grade in attendance as a live audience.  This year’s focus was on Asia, and Ms. Grady and Mrs. Piper led the students through the research and presentation creation. A special thank you goes to Mrs. Bartick, who worked with several groups in the Innovation Lab. Using PowerPoints, podcasts, and even green screen technology, students presented on topics including current events in Hong Kong and Myanmar, traditional Southeast Asian sports and clothing, and China’s Top Ten Inventions that changed the world. Students enjoyed a taste of Asia with a lunch catered by Veranda Thai. We look forward to next year, when parents can again be in the audience, but a link with a recording of this year’s Expo will be sent home to families for an at-home viewing party.

National Poetry Month festivities continue this week, with Poem in Your Pocket Day. On Thursday, April 29, students are encouraged to write their favorite poem on a piece of paper, place it in their pocket, and recite it on request. Take a look at this reading from Friday Forum last week.

Communication has certainly been dominated by COVID-19 over the last 12 months. Because there is such a large volume of information, we have decided to consolidate the most important information on NYA’s COVID-19 page, in the form of an NYA COVID-19 FAQ. This list of FAQ’s provides a “one stop” for information on topics like vaccines, when to stay home, contact tracing, travel, etc. Everyone age 16 and above is now eligible for a shot in Maine. You may find more information on where and how to schedule an appointment through this link.

Not Just Blowing Smoke: Vaping, Marijuana, and Youth Use: On Wednesday, May 5, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., NYA will host a presentation on tobacco and vaping. Hawa Shir and Beth Blakeman-Pohl, of Casco Bay CAN, will share information on adolescent use of tobacco and vaping products, marijuana use with vaping products, and marketing tactics by tobacco companies. This will be open to faculty, staff, and families. We will share a  Zoom link in advance. Thank you to NYA School Counselor, Cindy Hould, for organizing this virtual event.

Remember to sign up for the Spring Egg Hunt on April 28. The sophomore class is organizing an egg hunt for Middle and Upper School students as a class fundraising event. To sign up, students should fill out this form as soon as possible and bring $3 to the Middle School office or Main Office no later than the morning of April 28. Participants will hunt for eggs in a designated area of campus and then turn them in for candy and prizes (including gift cards valued from $10-$50). Lower School students will also join in on the fun with their own class egg hunts in their classrooms, on the playground, or out on the turf field (no need to sign up). Thank you for supporting the sophomore class!

Reminder:  we are seeking host families for the 2021-2022 school year. We are always looking for potential homestay families to host our international and out of state students. You don’t have to be a current NYA family to host a student. A monthly stipend is also provided. The school will be responsible for facilitating COVID screening on the student’s arrival to Maine. There is more information here. Please email us (Sagaree Sengupta and Eliot Grady) at for specific details.

You are cordially invited to the NYA Soirée on Friday, June 4, 2021. Don’t miss this opportunity to come together under a tent on campus or virtually from the comfort of your living room to enjoy a live auction, music, and fun while supporting NYA. Learn more and RSVP at I hope to see you there!

The seniors only have one more week of classes left! Join us in celebrating the terrific Class of 2021.

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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