Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

June 6, 2021

Dear Families,

This morning, NYA held its 207th commencement ceremony. The Class of 2021 consisted of 45 seniors and three post graduates. They represented 25 towns in Maine, three countries, and four states. In the last week, they celebrated senior lunch, awards day, senior dinner, prom, commencement, and project graduation. The class had seven lifers, six first year students, and many in between with diverse talents and interests. Each made their own unique, but important, contribution to NYA. It was a busy week, but it was a group that deserved to be celebrated. We will miss them greatly but forever value their collective, lasting contributions to the community during this historic and challenging time. Congratulations to the Class of 2021, and we look forward to following you as you pursue your goals and dreams. I have no doubt you will have the greatest success.

It was amazing to see so many faces, in person, during NYA Awards Day. The tent turned out to be a popular venue for the ceremony and may become a post-COVID tradition as well. We have missed gathering as a community on a more regular basis and look forward to more frequent interactions between students, faculty, staff, and families. Congratulations to all of our award winners and another thank you to each and every one of our students, faculty and staff members, and families who have contributed to this year’s success in their own unique and important ways.

The 37th Annual Soirée also took place under the tent and was a huge success. The focus of this year’s event was supporting the faculty. We were able to gather together (or participate virtually) and toast the end of an unprecedented school year. This festive event, held on a beautiful evening, was a great way to celebrate the Academy. Thank you to everyone who supported NYA at the Soirée. (We are still tallying the results and should have a fundraising total to report very soon!)

On The Bright Side – In addition to the Class of 2021, there is a lot to celebrate:

We proudly announce that we exceeded our Kind Campus goal of 500 with 835 acts of kindness performed all over campus throughout the school year. The focus on kindness helped to ease the challenges associated with following COVID guidelines like social distancing and wearing masks required this school year. Intentional acts of kindness, kind notes, and giving kind coins to others promoted warmth, compassion, and a positive mindset. Students in all divisions enjoyed an ice cream social to celebrate our success. Thanks to our school counselor, Cindy Hould, for bringing this program to NYA. We look forward to surpassing our record next year and spreading the inspiration to be kind!

Great thanks to the NYA Executive Council and the Make-A-Wish Club for their joint efforts for what was a wonderful Field Day for Middle and Upper School. The events were a blast, and the first ever Make-A-Wish Tiki Bar was a major success. The group cooked hot dogs and made fancy drinks, and the rest of the school enjoyed a nice afternoon of treats, raising an amazing $1,026.42, to support Make-A-Wish. The NYA Make-A-Wish Club earned $4,445.99, towards the $7,000 goal to grant a wish to a child dealing with a serious illness. The NYA Make-A-Wish Club has granted multiple wishes in Maine over the years. Keep up the great work!

The NYA Spring Concert is ready for viewing here. It has been quite a year musically, but it is incredible to see just how much these students were still able to accomplish. Many thanks to Mike Krakowka for his work in filming the groups and getting this page set up. Enjoy!

Congratulations to the Lower School Drama participants on their production of “Folk Tales for Fun!” Students in first through fourth grade have been hard at work since March putting together several stories from around the world. Their final performance can be viewed here. Many thanks to Mike Krakowka for filming and editing these pieces, also.

The NYA Girls on the Run Team (third through fifth graders) held its end-of-season celebratory 5K last week. This is a big accomplishment for the girls! Thanks to all the coaches and to everyone who was there to cheer them along.

Congratulations to Annie Sillin and Reese Merritt, winners of a Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce Scholarship. Each year, the Yarmouth Chamber awards a $1,000 scholarship to a student from Yarmouth High School with a strong academic profile and a commitment to the service of others. This year, they included NYA in this scholarship opportunity. They received a good number of applications from NYA, and they couldn’t decide on one scholar, so they generously awarded two. Thank you to the Chamber and congrats to Annie and Reese!

With the academic year in the books, we turn our focus to Upper School “tourney time,” with a number of our teams poised to make runs deep into the latter part of the month. Our girls tennis team finished a season full of individual progress and returns a large portion of the roster next spring. The boys tennis season came to end in the Class C state semifinal match yesterday. The future is bright, as the team loses no one to graduation. After taking a Western Maine Conference second place girls and fifth place boys finish in outdoor track and field, the team battled at the state meet in Brewer just yesterday. Our baseball and softball teams host first round match-ups early this week. The boys and girls lacrosse tournament brackets are set, with action beginning this week. Specific time details will be shared via Athletic social media platforms (@NYAPanthers on Twitter, and NYA Athletics on Facebook).

The elimination of state mandated community sport guidelines last month has allowed our Upper School teams to train mask-free and for us to open our sidelines to all spectators for the duration of the season. This return to normal is a welcomed change to finish the spring seasons. We look forward to opening our sidelines to all spectators for home contests, and we cannot wait to hear the energetic sidelines helping support our team efforts down the stretch!

Students should be on the lookout for coach’s emails regarding optional summer activities to help prepare them for next year. Ms. Ross will email specific information about the fall preseason and required paperwork later this month.

Personnel Updates:

There are several faculty and staff announcements to share for next year. First, some faculty members will be changing assignments for the 2021-2022 school year:

In the Toddler House, Kassi Michaud will join Kathi Hardy as a lead teacher.

Marti Morton is returning to NYA after a year hiatus to take on the new Lower School enrichment position. This will include teaching physical education in kindergarten through grade two and sciences in grades one through four. Welcome back, Marti!

After a lengthy tenure teaching Middle School social studies, Mr. Echeverria is moving to the Lower School to teach grades three and four. Ms. Burns, current fifth grade teacher, will take over Mr. E’s role teaching seventh and eighth grade social studies.

Finally, Taylor Kanzler is moving from the modern and classical language department to the Upper School English department. We are excited to have all of these teachers in their new roles.

I am happy to announce the following new appointments to NYA’s faculty:

Jessica Trahan will teach second grade at NYA. Jessica earned her B.A. from the University of Miami. She currently serves as a fourth grade teacher at Briskin Elementary School in Hollywood, CA. She has additional classroom experience in kindergarten and first grade. She also served as “tinkering teacher” first through fourth grade, a curriculum focused on designing and creativity. Jessica is pleased to return to her native Maine with her family. Please join me in welcoming Jessica.

Caroline MacDonald has accepted a lead primary position at NYA. Caroline studied English literature and sociology at Weymouth College in Weymouth, UK. She earned her primary teaching diploma from the London Montessori Centre in London, UK. She brings over 20 years of experience in early childhood education. Most recently, she served as a lead teacher at the Cumberland Cooperative Nursery School. She also served as Director of the Oakhill Montessori School.

Sara Brooks will join the Upper School Spanish faculty. Sara earned her B.A. in secondary education-Spanish from Towson University and a M.A. from the University of Massachusetts. Most recently, she taught Spanish at the Chesapeake Public Schools. She also held additional positions as an ESL teacher. We welcome Sara’s family as she moves from Virginia to Maine.

Jess Violette will be a STEM teacher in the Upper School. Jess earned her B.S. in biochemistry from Bates College and an M.A. in secondary education from the University of Phoenix. Most recently, Jess was at Hebron Academy as a science and math teacher. Jess brings extensive experience teaching math and science along with science experience in the private sector. Jess has taught math at NYA in the past, and we are thrilled to have her back at the Academy.

Summer Office Hours:

NYA offices remain open throughout the summer. Admission work is ongoing along with planning for next school year. If you need anything over the summer, office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to noon on Fridays. We will share information on the upcoming school year as appropriate, and expect to see some mailers with updates on the 2021-2022 school year in mid-July.

NYA’s Summer Programs begin on Monday, June 14. Many camps are full, but spots remain in some camps. If you are interested in any day camps, academic camps, or hockey camps, visit the NYA website.

Finally, I want to take a moment to recognize our entire community. We have come a long way over the last fifteen months, faced a lot of uncertainty, and persevered. I will be forever grateful for the efforts of the NYA faculty and staff. Despite the stresses and unknowns, they were unwavering in their commitment to maximize in-person learning for the students. Our students made a great deal of sacrifice, but were flexible, creative, and committed to doing what was needed to stay in school. Many of our families faced challenges in their personal and professional lives, but your support was amazing throughout the school year. It truly has been a community effort thus far, and I feel we can all be proud of how each of us has contributed to the success of this year. I am looking forward to getting to the other side of this pandemic, and I am optimistic we are seeing great progress. It is still not completely clear what, if any, guidelines will be in place for next school year. I am hopeful it will be a far different climate. At school, we will continue to monitor any activity and communicate with you as necessary over the summer. What is clear is we will continue to commit ourselves to maximizing the experience for our students.

Thanks to all for being so supportive of the school during this time. Have a wonderful, safe, and relaxing summer with your family and friends!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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