December 12, 2021

Dear Families,

We are nearing the end of the first semester. It has been a successful one on campus, and I hope your child has had a productive first term. Now, twenty months into the pandemic, I remain very appreciative of the efforts of our families, students, faculty, and staff as we have navigated the guidelines and requirements. We have not been immune to the impacts of COVID, but I feel we have been fortunate to limit its impact thus far on our school community and keep our students in school and engaged in the activities they enjoy. Cases in our community have been fairly limited, and that is due, in large part, to our students and families working together and making responsible decisions. Thank you!

We still feel the best defense against COVID is getting your vaccinations and booster when available and remaining home when sick. Boosters are now recommended for children 16 and older. You may find more information on shots through the following website. We will continue with pooled testing after break and will have a specially scheduled day of pooled testing on Monday, January 3 (the day we return to classes) in addition to the regularly scheduled test on Thursday, January 6.

While continuing to manage this pandemic, we have also been inundated by a great deal of challenging news lately. The recent school shooting in Michigan, weapons brought to a local Maine school, and reports of increased stress and anxiety on individuals throughout society can be unsettling for children and adults alike. First, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of violence, their families, and those who are suffering. We are fortunate to have a caring and supportive community, but we also strive to be proactive in maintaining a campus that is physically and emotionally safe for our students. Teachers, advisors, and our school counselor, Ms. Hould, are here to support our students emotionally as they navigate their day. Because of our relatively small campus size, we are better equipped to identify students who may be struggling, but we take additional safety measures as well. To maintain a safe campus, we work closely with the Yarmouth Police Department. This includes periodic safety drills under the supervision of law enforcement, training of staff, and Alice Training coordinated by local law enforcement. Law enforcement and fire departments conduct their own training on school grounds in attempts to familiarize themselves with the campus. This is a small sampling of the measures we are taking to keep our children safe. We have also provided teachers with resources to support discussions in class. Attached are some resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network that might assist you in discussing these events with your children. Sometimes it is helpful to talk with your children about traumatic events first, prior to them discovering the news from other avenues. Here are some resources for you:

Talking to your Children about the Recent Spate of Shootings

How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings

Please always feel welcome to reach out Cindy Hould for help and support as well.

It is also very important for students to be able to stay engaged with activities that are important to them. That includes the holiday concerts to finish out first semester. The Middle School performed an exceptional show on December 8 in front of a live audience. Here is a link to that performance. The Upper School will follow up with their concert on Thursday, December 16 at 1:00 p.m. Following this concert, we will begin Winter Break. Thank you to music faculty members Linda Vaillancourt, Nora Krainis, Ian Ramsey, and Eli Gilbert for directing the students through their rehearsals. Thank you to our students for some exceptional performances. It was refreshing to gather again as a community for these performances.

Middle School art teacher, Mr. Cook, also prepared a virtual art show of the amazing work created by the Middle School students.

The end of the first semester includes a number of exciting events for our athletic teams. Middle School basketball and hockey teams round out their 2021 competition schedules with a handful of games this week before heading home to enjoy Winter Break. Our Upper School basketball teams started their seasons last week and, along with our hockey programs, look forward to a number of contests over the break. The indoor track and field and Nordic teams will keep preparing for their opening competitions set to take place in the New Year. Schedules can be found on our Athletics homepage. All home NYA events are open to spectators, so mask up and come cheer on the Panthers!

Boys hockey traveled to Boston University on Saturday for the Travis Roy Memorial Game vs. Tabor Academy to honor Travis’s alma maters and celebrate his legacy. Before going to BU, Travis played for both Tabor and NYA. The game was played in his honor at Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena. A pregame reception for families and alumni from both Tabor and NYA was held. The girls team will play Tabor in their Travis Roy Memorial game on Sunday, January 9, also at Boston University.

The girls and boys hockey season is off to a great start. The teams already had several contests, and our congratulations to the girls, who swept their way to victory in the Pingree Tournament last weekend. The girls defeated Pingree 4-0 in the championship game. Additional congratulations to Maggie Holt, named as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and Rylie McIntyre who was named to the All-Tournament Team. The teams both had recent wins over in-state rivals; NYA girls defeated Hebron 3-0 and the boys defeated Kents Hill 6-3.

🔦Mission Spotlight🔦  This week’s spotlight is on service:

NYA held a dress down day to support the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India. The Siddhartha School was founded by Buddhist Monk, Khen Rinpoche, to serve the region of Ladakh. The school now serves 450 students in grades K-10. NYA has a special relationship with the Siddhartha School as Siddhartha alum, Stanzin Angmo, attended NYA and graduated in 2017. Khen Rinpoche has visited NYA on several occasions and gifted a Tibetan Prayer Wheel to the school that is on display in the Curtis Building. No students are denied admission to Siddhartha based on ability to pay. Money raised from this dress down goes to supporting a student’s tuition for the year. We hope to welcome another Siddhartha alum in the future.

Kindergarten friends are becoming quite the authors during Writer’s Workshop as they complete simple pattern books. The children are planning out their sentences with spaces, sounding out words using their letter-sound knowledge, and have begun to use punctuation. Their illustrations are colorful, creative, and full of detail. The children are working hard in order to prepare for their first writing celebration where they will read their very own writing to their beloved third and fourth grade reading buddy. They can’t even contain their excitement.

Mrs. Trahan’s second graders are learning how to debate! While working on persuasive writing, students focus on adding reasons and examples to their work in order to make their opinions stronger. As added practice, they held informal debates this week in class. One person stood and spoke at a time, and everyone practiced giving their full attention (sitting tall, with knees and eyes pointed at the speaker). After debating the BEST snack, BEST season, and BEST movie, our second graders are getting pretty convincing in their arguments. (Sorry, parents!)

Sixth grade students are working on a Digital Citizenship unit in their Life Skills class. Students were assigned to recognize how much media they use, the types they use, and their online habits. Students were encouraged to make a connection between their online use and how their use made them feel by creating their own emoji. They identified their unhealthy online habits and set goals to change them. They also discussed online safety and responsible social interactions. By creating self-awareness and insight into their behavior, students were encouraged to develop a balance between their online use and offline activities.

Congratulations to our students who were recently accepted into the Maine All-State Music Festival! Students are accepted into this festival based on statewide auditions. This year’s festival will be held in May 2022 at the University of Maine.

BAND: Hans-Erik Jerosch, horn

ORCHESTRA: Madeleine Vaillancourt, cello (highest score in state for cello)

After a year hiatus, the NYA Parents’ Association hosted the Holiday Craft Fair. This year, we decreased vendor capacity to a little over 50%, but the event was still a great success. Thank you to Jess Lynch for all of her hard work making the Fair a reality. Thank you to all of the volunteers that supported this event.

Have a great week and a wonderful holiday with your families.


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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