Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

February 28, 2021

Dear Families,

It is hard to believe we are one short week away from March Break. Next week, we will celebrate school spirit with a lineup of themed dress down days. The themes vary by division, and additional information will come from your teachers, Mrs. Markonish, Ms. Sullivan, and Mr. Austin. It will be a fun and festive week for the students. We won’t be hosting our normal spirit day activities due to COVID guidelines, but we will have an early dismissal on Friday, March 5, at 11:30 a.m. Safford will be open for breakfast and snacks through 11:30 a.m., but we won’t be serving lunch.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone for their efforts to keep our community safe and healthy. We still must remain vigilant, but we have come a long way over the last year. Our success thus far has truly been a team effort from faculty, staff, students, and families. I hope everyone is looking forward to some well-deserved time off during March Break. If your plans over break include travel, please remember these guidelines concerning travel. For travel to any non-exempt state (currently only VT and NH are exempt), you must either quarantine for 14 days or receive a negative test prior to returning to school (you will need to wait five days after you arrive back in Maine prior to administering the test). For international travel, you will need to wait seven days prior to administering a test. Please forward any questions regarding testing or quarantines to Ashley Moody. Please also forward copies of the test results to Ashley. Thank you.

In December 2019, the NYA Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Strategic Vision 2020, which calls for the Academy to preserve a tradition of excellence and continue innovating and building on strengths. While so much has changed over the last year due to COVID-19, the Board has recently reaffirmed the Strategic Vision as a critical guide to the future. We are in the early phases of reviewing our strategic plan and looking at potential campus improvements and investments. One component of this process is a community survey, which we will send to current parents, among others. The survey data will help to shape our message and prioritize goals. You will receive this survey in the coming days. I hope you will make time to respond, as your feedback will be valuable. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or input regarding the Strategic Vision, the survey, or NYA’s future plans.

Middle School athletic activities have concluded, and various small group celebrations will take place this week. We were very impressed by the creative ways coaches kept students engaged and with the energy that students brought to their activities despite the absence of competition. During March Break, coaches will email information about specific spring activities to students and parents regarding the start of the season!

Upper School athletic activities continue and have begun to include senior recognition nights. While these events look different than in the past, due to venue capacity and exposure limits, we are thrilled to celebrate our Class of 2021 student-athletes. Be on the lookout for social media posts highlighting these events! Due to the shifting winter seasons, we will move our virtual Upper School Recognition Night to Thursday, March 25 at 6:00 p.m. Login details will be shared by winter coaches closer to that date. We look forward to celebrating everything our Panthers accomplished this winter! At this time, Upper School spring athletic seasons will take place as normally scheduled. Pitchers and catchers are set to begin workouts on Monday, March 22, with the remainder of teams to begin training on Monday, March 29. During March Break, coaches will email information about specific Upper School spring activities to students and parents regarding the start of the season.

Our school photographer, Brian Beard, has been busy photographing NYA athletics, activities, and campus life. Photos are available to download or print via NYA’s SmugMug website, free of charge. Just go to and use the password: NYApanthers (Note: the password is case sensitive). If you have any questions, please contact Kristi Belesca. Check back often – we add photos all the time!

The NYA parent community has a closed Facebook group called the NYA Community Network. This is a great place to ask questions of other parents, find things like textbooks, sell that outgrown blazer, etc. If you’re a current NYA parent, send a request to join the group today!

Save the Date: Thursday, March 4, for a Virtual Morning Forum sponsored by the NYA Parents’ Association. This month’s focus is on the program throughout the divisions with special guest alumni presenters. Panelists will include Eric Austin, Head of Upper School, and Marissa Markonish, Head of Middle and Lower School. Mr. Austin and Mrs. Markonish will present on key aspects of the program along with initiatives in development. We will also be joined by Julia Bachelder, NYA ’04, Nate Isaacson, NYA ’06, and Jack Sillin, NYA ’18. The alumni will share stories about how their NYA experience was formative in what they are doing today.

Congratulations to Jack Hardy for his induction into the Maine Principals’ Association Hall of Excellence last Thursday. Mr. Hardy was the Athletic Director at NYA from 2012-2019. He has a long and distinguished career in education, including stints as AD, physical education teacher, assistant principal, and as an elementary classroom teacher. Jack retired in 2019; however, he will soon return to his roots as an elementary teacher as he fills in for Mrs. Turner in the third grade, who will be taking parental leave following March Break. We are very excited to have Jack back on campus for this role. Congratulations on this great and deserved honor!

On The Bright Side:

Lower School drama is back! First through fourth graders will have the opportunity to participate in drama club this spring. They will be working on the play “Folktales for Fun,” by Carlos Perez. This is a compilation of stories from around the world, including tales such as the German story, “The Bremen Town Musicians,” and the Egyptian tale, “Rhodopis and Her Golden Sandals.” Drama club will start after March break. Due to pandemic restrictions, drama club will need to look a little different this year. Rehearsals will occur after school, but students will be assigned to a particular day and time depending on which scenes they are in. The final performance will be filmed and released to the community online in late May. Due to numbers and the necessity of social distancing, only the students participating in the after-school club will be involved in the production. Ms. Vaillancourt will send information regarding sign-ups shortly.

Work is wrapping up on the NY A-Comedy Show. The Upper and Middle School thespians, along with the help of Mrs. Krainis, Ms. Vaillancourt, and Mr. Cook produced original SNL-inspired skits. Mrs. Krainis enlisted the help and guidance from CBS Late-Night VP, Nick Bernstein. With the help of Mr. Krakowka, editing is nearing completion. Be on the lookout for a link to the show. It is going to be a great one!

Love for NYA is pouring in! Thank you to all who have participated so far in this year’s Show Your Love participation challenge. Join in now and make a gift by Sunday, March 7 at midnight. If 500 people make a gift to NYA between today and March 7, Allen ‘60 and Vicki Bornheimer GP’30 will give $10,000 to the Academy Fund. Your participation matters, and your gift makes an impact on the students, teachers, and programs at NYA. Thank you!

It is time to start planning for your children’s summer activities. Registration for NYA Summer Camps and NYA Ice Hockey Camps are open through this link. NYA is offering Panther Tots and Panther Cubs Camps (ages 2-5), Super Summer Day Camps (age 5-10), arts, performing arts, and science camps (ages 3-12), sports camps (age 2-15), and Leadership and Life Skills camps (age 11-15). Spaces are extremely limited in many of these summer programs, so I encourage you to sign up soon. This year, we are also excited to introduce NYA Hockey camps for ages 8-15. These camps will feature members of the NYA coaching staff, former and current prep hockey players, and fitness professionals. I look forward to seeing you this summer. Summer programs are open to both NYA and non-NYA families, so feel free to share the camp link with friends.

This will be the last Sunday or division newsletter until March 21. March Break begins at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 5. We will return to classes Monday, March 22.

Enjoy spirit week. Stay healthy and safe!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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