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Lower School Newsletter for April 11, 2021

Spring is finally beginning to peek through, and the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation are fast approaching. These final months will be packed full of learning and exploration, and yet, like so much of this past year, they will look somewhat different than they have in years past. We will not have our usual spring field trips and concerts, and many of our events will take place in a modified format. Nevertheless, we will continue to rejoice in being together on campus and will celebrate all that we have been able to enjoy this year. We are proud of the hard work, great growth, and tremendous success of our students, and we look forward to seeing what more they will accomplish in the weeks ahead!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Lower School Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, April 20. This is a No School Day for students. Conferences allow parents and teachers the chance to connect and build a strong school-home partnership in support of each student. You will have the opportunity to ask questions about all aspects of your child’s school life and progress throughout the year, as well as to share your own insights. Teachers will send invitations for you to sign up for a Zoom conference slot using Signup Genius this week. Sign-ups are on a first come, first served basis. If none of the available times work with your schedule, please contact the classroom teacher directly to arrange an alternate time to meet.


Although we were not able to hold a live event for the Lower School Arts Celebration this year, we very much look forward to sharing a snapshot of the students learning about the music, art, and culture of Japan. Be on the lookout for a virtual celebration to be shared with families later this spring.


In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, David Griswold ’03 will visit with Lower and Middle School classes virtually to discuss climate change and his book, Fur & Feather Stand Together, a story of a puffin and a polar bear who join forces with their community to save the ice that is melting around them.

In addition, David is helping the Environmental Club reach their goal of converting the entire campus to LED lighting. All but two NYA buildings have made the switch from halogen and incandescent lighting to LED. 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. Over $18,000 has been contributed to the campus-wide LED conversion and just $5,000 more is needed to complete the project. David will send a copy of his book to all who contribute $50 or more to NYA’s LED conversion. Make a gift and secure your copy of the book at  


Enjoy this update on digital citizenship from Cindy Hould, NYA School Counselor.


Weather at this time of year can change frequently and without warning. Students are outside every day, and it is important that they have the necessary layers to be safe and comfortable both inside and out. The melting snow brings lots of mud which is so tempting to our children and sometimes results in the need to change. It is always a good idea to have spare clothing at the ready. The change in seasons is a great time for Toddler and Primary Classroom parents to check the clothing bins to make sure that they have plenty of items of the correct size and appropriate to the season.

POETRY FUN!Poem in My Pocket textile mural

Each April, people throughout the United States celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day by selecting a poem to carry and share throughout the day at schools, libraries, parks, workplaces, and various venues. This year, NYA will celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 29. All students are encouraged to put a poem in their pocket and add their voices to the celebration. NYA will also celebrate Poetry Month in various ways in the classroom and through weekly poetry recitations at Friday Forum.

MAY 15!

May 15 is the deadline for several forms required for the 2021-2022 school year, including health forms and off-campus travel and athletic participation release forms. All forms and instructions can be found at Family Forms on our website. You can also reach this page from the drop-down menu under the ‘Parents’ tab at the top of NYA’s homepage. Thank you for completing these forms by the due dates. It is a tremendous help to our faculty and staff!


Join the Spring Egg Hunt on April 28! The sophomore class is organizing an egg hunt for the Middle and Upper Schools as a class fundraising event. Of course, they wanted to be sure that Lower School students could also join in on the fun. They will be arranging for a special hunt out on the athletic fields for the elementary classes on the morning of Wednesday, April 28. The teachers will also put together age-appropriate hunts for the Toddler, Primary, and Kindergarten students. We’re looking forward to this fun community event to celebrate spring!


  • Tuesday, April 13: The Upper School Make-A-Wish club is sponsoring a Dress Down Day to raise funds toward granting our next wish for a child in Maine. Make-A-Wish Maine is an organization that works to grant the wishes of children with critical illness and to make an impact on the lives of those children and their families. To date, NYA has donated well over $50,000 to grant 11 wishes.
  • Friday, April 23: After the passing of Travis Roy this past fall, the students at NYA wanted very much to find ways to honor Travis and his legacy. Funds raised on this day will be donated to the Travis Roy Foundation and a representative from the foundation will speak to the Middle and Upper School students at our Friday Forum assembly.
  • Wednesday, April 28: After reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, some of our sixth grade students were moved to help solve the problem of lack of access to safe water for communities in Africa. After researching how to help, they decided to sponsor a Dress Down Day for Water for South Sudan, whose mission is to “Deliver sustainable quality-of-life services to and with the people of South Sudan by efficiently providing access to clean, safe water, and improving hygiene and sanitation practices in areas of great need.”
  • Tuesday, May 4: The Upper School Star Wars Club will be celebrating May the Fourth with a Dress Down Day and some special Star Wars-themed events. Wear your favorite Star Wars t-shirt and channel your inner Wookie. Proceeds will benefit Star Wars: Force for Change, which is “dedicated to finding creative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges and empowers youth to be global forces for change in their own lives and for children around the world.”


Congratulations to the following students who received medals for the 2021 District II Music Festival! District II ran as a solo competition this year, as it was not feasible to put together the usual large festivals. Students worked on a prepared piece and submitted a video which was then scored and rated. This was a new experience for all. Congratulations to everyone who participated! Medal recipients are:

MIDDLE SCHOOL GOLD: Victoria Wahlig, Alto; Victoria Wahlig, Violin

MIDDLE SCHOOL SILVER: Jackson Bartick, Violin; Leif MacCarthy, Trombone; Hadley Smith, Violin; Genevieve Vaillancourt, Soprano; Genevieve Vaillancourt, Viola; Genevieve Vaillancourt, French Horn

MIDDLE SCHOOL BRONZE: Lyla Casey, Violin; Justin Corporon, Clarinet; Paxton Fogg, Bari Sax

UPPER SCHOOL GOLD: Madeleine Vaillancourt, Cello; Madeleine Vaillancourt, Alto

UPPER SCHOOL SILVER: Jack Byrne, Cello; Emma Collins, Violin; Emily Greene, Violin; Emily Greene, Soprano; Darby Mutagoma, Alto

UPPER SCHOOL BRONZE: Fynn MacCarthy, String Bass; Holden MacMahon, Guitar


On Wednesday, May 12, the Lower School will take part in a Hop-A-Thon in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Lower School students and teachers will gather on the turf field to hop, skip, jump, and play! We hope to raise awareness about others who may not have the same capabilities and also raise funds to donate to MDA. Teachers will read various books about children with disabilities to begin the conversation and explain the purpose of the Hop-A-Thon. We will have a collection jar on the porch of the Lower School and the Toddler House to accept donations at drop-off, and students and staff will enjoy a Dress Down Day. Thank you for your support!


NYA has some exciting things planned to share with Lower School grandparents this year. Be sure we have their contact information so they will be included in this year’s communications and outreach, including the Lower School Grandparents’ Day video celebration. You can fill out contact information here. We look forward to being back in person next year.


Save the Date for the 37th Annual NYA Soirée on Friday, June 4 at 6:00 p.m. Attend on-campus under the tent on Denney Field OR virtually from your own home. Enjoy hors d’oeuvre stations by Dandelion Catering, cocktail music with Wavelength Band, and lively silent and live auctions to benefit NYA. Be on the lookout for invitations and registration information soon.

Are you interested in contributing to the silent auction? The NYA Parents’ Association is working with Class Representatives to put together Class Baskets for the silent auction. Amity Jackson and Katie Leinwand are overseeing this effort, which is a fun, easy way for parents to come together and support the event. Be on the lookout for communication from your Class Representative.

Please contact Crystal Gordon with any questions about the event.


The NYA Parents’ Association is looking for volunteers for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond. If you would like to get involved, meet fellow parents, and have some fun, the Parents’ Association is the place for you! We are currently busy building the PA Volunteer Board, including the slate of officers. There is a job for you no matter how much time you can commit. Take a look at the list of available positions below. If you are interested or have questions regarding the positions (including time commitment), please contact Tori Baron (207-766-1764) or Patrick Cannon (207-239-7888). Want to meet the current board members? Join us for our next meeting, May 5, outdoors at Clayton’s, socially distanced. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Available positions: Secretary; MS Coordinator; LS Coordinator; Social Media Coordinator; Special Events; Volunteer Coordinator; Pre-K/K rep; fifth grade rep; seventh grade rep; and eleventh grade rep.


NYA is always recruiting new families for its Homestay Program. If you are interested in hosting a student or learning more about the program, please contact Here is a link to additional information about the program.


A reminder that our last day of school is Thursday, June 3. This will be a half day with an 11:45 a.m. pick-up time (no lunch or After Care). This is also a short week with no school on Monday, May 31, for Memorial Day. Students will be excited to celebrate their final days of the school year, and classroom teachers will let you know about any special events that will take place this week. Plan ahead and mark your calendars now!


4/13Dress Down Day, Make-A-Wish$3
4/19Patriots’ Day NO SCHOOL
4/20Lower School Conferences/Professional Development NO SCHOOL
4/22Earth Day  
4/23Dress Down Day, Travis Roy Foundation$3
4/28Spring Egg Hunt 
4/28Dress Down Day, Water for South Sudan$3
4/30Last Day of Classes for Seniors 
5/4Dress Down Day, Force for Change $3
5/12MDA Hop-A-Thon 
5/15Family Forms Due! 
6/3Last Day of School8:00 – 11:45 a.m.


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