February 6, 2022

Dear Families,

We are in the midst of a stormy winter stretch, and Friday’s weather led to a cancellation. Decisions on whether to cancel school are made in as timely a manner as possible, with the interest of our community’s safety at the forefront. In Friday’s case, the decision was made the evening before. However, it is not always possible to make a call with that much advance notice. Decisions to cancel school are first made on my Instagram account (jacksonnya_hos), followed by a text message and email to families. Decisions are also posted on the school’s social media accounts and on local media outlets.

Reenrollment agreements were sent last week. We ask that you return the agreements in a timely manner for two key reasons. First, many classes are at or near capacity. We need enrollment agreements returned in order to ensure your child’s spot in the class. Agreements are sent to new students the first week of March. Second, a timely return of enrollment agreements allows the school to develop an accurate enrollment profile. This is important as it influences staffing needs and programmatic decisions for the upcoming school year. If you have any questions about the program for next year, please feel free to reach out to Mrs. Markonish, Mr. Austin, or me.

On the topic of next year, I would also like to share that NYA hosts international and domestic homestay students. We very much value having these students on campus, and they contribute a great deal to the NYA community. We are grateful to our families that host these students, and we are always looking for new, interested homestay families. This can be a mutually meaningful experience for both host families and students that can lead to lifetime connections. To help support expenses, a stipend is provided to families. To learn more about our host family program please contact Dr. Sagaree Sengupta.

It has been a couple of years since NYA has competed in the Maine State Robotics competition. The NYA Upper School Robotics Team is back, and they are doing very well! At their last competition on January 15, they qualified for the state competition in March. Congratulations to Ms. Zanetell, Sally Stronge, Alex King, Charlotte Harper-Cunningham, Harper Fremont-Smith, and Clara Taylor. Good luck preparing for States. We will keep you posted.

NYA Middle School teams will wrap up their seasons this week. Upper School girls and boys basketball are both enjoying strong seasons and are preparing for postseason play. Their regular seasons end this week. NYA boys hockey begins their Travis Roy Maine Prep Cup Tourney, beginning tomorrow (February 7) vs. Kents Hill and will continue the following Monday. Indoor track and field will attend the Western Maine Conference meet on Friday, February 11, at USM. Livestream links will be available. NYA girls hockey hosted the NYA Girls Hockey Fights Cancer Game on Saturday, with a NESPAC matchup against Brewster Academy at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena. Spring activities are just around the corner. If students have not already done so, they should see or email Ms. Ross as soon as possible

Mission Spotlight:

Each U. S. president since Gerald Ford has declared February as Black History Month. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and social reformer and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. Classes throughout campus recognize Black History Month in many different ways. The following are just a few examples around campus:

Ms. Caroline’s Primary Class reread the book, Our Peaceful Classroom, by Aline Wolf and introduced the concept of ‘Peacemakers’ to talk about how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr solved problems peacefully.

Ms. Gallagher’s first grade students will learn about interesting and inspiring Black world-changers, including Mae Jemison, Michael Jordan, Harriett Tubman, Bob Marley, and Barack Obama.

Each day, second graders in Ms. Trahan’s class will be introduced to a different artist, musician, poet, or performer. Day 1: “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington!

Mr. E’s students plan to take virtual field trips to Atlanta, Birmingham, and Washington D.C. to visit significant sites of the Civil Rights Movement. They will also create a timeline of important events in Black History.

Each day in February, Ms. Gagne’s class will be introduced to an African American man or woman who has made significant contributions to America and the rest of the world. They will integrate this learning throughout their day.

Ms. Buehner’s fifth grade students start each day with reading, discussing, and writing responses about poems written by Black poets including Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou.

Mr. Hach’s AP environmental science students are watching MLK’s seven minute “I Have a Dream” speech. They will use that as inspiration for their final, environment related end of the year assignment.

Dr. S’s English and Creative Writing classes will be featuring poems by Claude McKay.

Mr. Gengras’s AP Literature students will look at Black American poetry both in traditional European forms and in the African rooted conventions that evolved into elements of blues/jazz lyrics, as well as spoken word and rap/hip hop.

Ms. Sullivan’s students are reading Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock that explores school integration in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1954, and the unlikely fraught friendship between the tormentor and victim. They already began delving into the Civil Rights Movement.

These are just a few examples of the ways Black History is studied and celebrated throughout the month and year at NYA.

Ms. Grady’s Upper School Mandarin class traditionally celebrates Chinese New Year with a parade at Friday Forum and a New Year Lunch.  Ms. KB’s kindergarten students also celebrate the Chinese New Year in an authentic and inspiring way. They learned about the New Year and its significance in Chinese society and also sampled some authentic food.

The North Yarmouth Academy Board of Trustees invites you to A Virtual Update 2022: Plans and Progress on Tuesday, February 15 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. I hope you will join me as we discuss progress with the Academy’s strategic plan with Board President, Linda Manchester P’15, P’20; campus construction updates with Tim Hebert P’25, P’27, Hebert Construction; and the impact of campus updates with Trustee, Freddie Daniel P’26, P’28, P’30, P’32. RSVP here.

Registration for NYA Summer Programs opened last Monday, and we set a registration record – many sessions are already sold out! If you are thinking about NYA camps for your family this summer, you may want to register now. Go to www.nya.org/summer.

We continue to update our SmugMug account with campus photos. Take a look at what’s going on around campus. Go to our SmugMug account and use the password NYApanthers [case sensitive].

NYA Middle and Upper School Drama will perform Honk! starting Thursday. Contact Mary Goodrich/847-5432 weekdays between 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. for tickets. The preview performance on Thursday will be livestreamed. That link will be sent closer to show time. I look forward to another terrific show!

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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