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Lower School Newsletter for November 14, 2021

November is one of my favorite months of the year as it reminds us to take a moment and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. With all that we have experienced over the last year and a half, it is important to be thankful for all that we have and to appreciate what we once took for granted. With the Thanksgiving break coming soon, we hope that you have the opportunity to give thanks and bring renewed optimism and positive energy to your lives. We also wish to extend our thanks to you for entrusting your children to us and for offering us your ongoing support.

At this time of year, despite the beautiful warm weather of the fall season, we also need to remember that snow is likely just around the corner. While the winter weather brings many joys (skiing, sledding, and hot chocolate among them!), it can present a few challenges. The change in weather necessitates a change in attire. As we move about the campus throughout the day and enjoy time outdoors, it is essential that everyone has the appropriate cold-weather gear to stay warm and dry. This is also the time to think about what happens when weather impacts our school day. Please take a moment to review the information on snow days which is outlined below. While we will continue to appreciate the final days of warm sunshine, we will soon be chanting, “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


An important reminder for Lower School families: Parking, dropping off, and picking up are not permitted on Storer Street or behind the First Parish Congregational Church. This restriction was designated by the Town of Yarmouth when we opened the Lower School. With this in mind, we ask that families do not drive down Storer Street for any reason. Drop-off and pick-up parking is available for families along Curtis driveway, in the Curtis lot, and along Main Street. Thank you!


Tomorrow, Monday, November 15, is our picture retake day for any students who missed the original picture day in October and for anyone who would like a second photo taken.

  • If you would like to have your child’s photo taken on Picture Retake Day, email Marissa Markonish.
  • Please be sure to let your child know if you have registered them. Staff will assist Lower School students in reporting to the community room for their pictures.
  • Anyone who received a photo package but wants to have the photo retaken should bring the old package with them on retake day. The photographer will scan the bar code on that package, and the lab will print the same package you ordered the first time.
  • Contact Marissa Markonish with any questions.


Mrs. G’s first graders made pop-up kindness cards

Yesterday, November 13, was World Kindness Day. Our students celebrated the day by writing KIND NOTES and focusing on the difference between being nice and being kind. We would enjoy hearing how your family celebrated the day! In the spirit of kindness, the Middle School Student Community Council is organizing a food donation drive for the Yarmouth Community Food Pantry, asking NYA families to bring food items for Thanksgiving Baskets during the week of November 15-19. The pantry requests that we focus on the following items: canned corn, canned green beans, and canned peas. Students are also sponsoring a Dress Down Day on November 18 to benefit the pantry ($3 donation).

PANTHER GEAR SALEGear at an NYA popup store

Show your NYA spirit! The NYA Parents’ Association is having two NYA logo sales next week, one on Thursday, November 18 outside the Lower School and one on Friday, November 19 in Grizzy Quad by the Middle School. Both sales will start at school pick-up (Friday’s sale is combined with the afternoon holiday wreath sale pick-up time slot). We have a lot of new and exciting options to choose from, including winter beanies, short and long-sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, and athletic wear. We accept cash, checks, or credit cards. All proceeds go towards supporting our school through teacher and student grants, teacher appreciation gifts, and more! We look forward to seeing you!


Because it is sometimes necessary to cancel or delay the start of a school day due to stormy conditions, we reach out to families in numerous ways during times of bad weather. Due to the variety of weather patterns, from Boothbay to Biddeford and from Bridgton to Brunswick, it may look like clear going in one town while another is “snowed under.”

The administration makes cancellation/late start decisions with student safety as a top consideration. If it has already or will soon stop snowing but the road crews have not been able to clear the streets, the administration may decide to delay the start of the school day. Cancellations or delays are posted first on Ben Jackson’s “Head of School” Instagram accountbjacksonnya_hos. A text alert and email notification are then sent out, and the information is posted on Facebook. Additionally, cancellations are reported to channels 6, 8, 13, and NECN. At times, power outages can interfere with some of these methods of notification, so if you are uncertain, please check multiple sites.

In the event that snow arrives unexpectedly or earlier and/or heavier than predicted, the administration may decide to call for an early release from school. If this is the case, we will make every attempt to contact parents. The early release will be announced on local radio and television stations (if possible), will be sent out via text alert and email notification, and will be posted on social media. The school will remain open until all children can be safely picked up by parents or other authorized individuals.


With the change of seasons, it is important to dress children with the appropriate layers and clothing for outside play. Except in the case of extreme weather, students will be going outside. Warm coats, hats, mittens/gloves, snow pants, and boots are all essential items. A change of socks can also help warm up cold toes! Please be sure to label everything as children sometimes struggle to recognize their own items and many have identical gear. Also, please be sure to update extra back-up clothes for the season (shorts and a t-shirt can be difficult to wear in December!).


With the approach of winter, students in Kindergarten through fifth grade will soon begin the ice skating unit as part of their Physical Education class. It is such a treat for students to be able take advantage of NYA’s Travis Roy Ice Arena. See this informational letter from Heather Dean and Marti Morton for more details.


Congratulations to the following students for their recent acceptance into the District II Honors Music Festival! Students were accepted based on audition, and will participate in the live festival this January.

MS BAND: Maia Barschdorf, clarinet; Hadley Smith, clarinet; Ivy Birney, trombone

MS CHORUS: Ivy Birney, soprano

MS ORCHESTRA: Jackson Bartick, violin; Hadley Smith, violin; Nathan McGillicuddy, cello

HS BAND: Madeleine Vaillancourt, flute; Hans-Erik Jerosch, horn; Fynn MacCarthy, trombone; Leif MacCarthy, trombone

HS MIXED CHORUS: Madeleine Vaillancourt, alto

HS TREBLE CHORUS: Caitlin Michaelis, alto; Emma Gagnon, alto

HS ORCHESTRA: Genevieve Vaillancourt, viola; Madeleine Vaillancourt, cello; Jack Byrne, cello


Each year, NYA works throughout the fall to help provide some wish-list items for local families in need. While many of their needs include the basics, such as warm clothes, shoes, boots, pots and pans, dishes, etc., we are sure to also include toys and special gifts. The entire school community joins together for this great cause. We will be holding our second Dress Down Day for Holiday Families on Wednesday, December 1 ($3 donation).


The NYA Make-A-Wish Club is sponsoring a coed ‘Black and Orange’ Hockey clinic on Friday, November 26 at Travis Roy Arena. Come skate with Coaches Warde and Poulin, and the NYA Boys and Girls Varsity players! There will be two sessions: 1:00-2:00 p.m. for ages 7-9 and 2:00-3:00 p.m. for ages 10-13. The cost is $30 per skater per session, and 100% of proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish Maine. Helmets, full gear, and face masks are required. Click here to register. Contact Liz Smith with questions. We hope to see you on the ice on the 26th! This event is open to the public, and pre-registration is appreciated.


Under the leadership of Eliot Grady’s advisory group, we are holding a Dress Down Day on Tuesday, December 7 ($3 donation) to sponsor a student who hopes to attend the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India. As little as $360 will pay for a student’s tuition, books, and other school expenses. NYA has a special relationship with the Siddhartha School. Khen Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk and founder of the Siddhartha School, visited NYA on several occasions and presented the Academy with our prayer wheel in the spring of 2017. In addition, Stanzin Angmo, NYA Class of 2016, attended Siddhartha prior to coming to NYA in her junior year.


First graders have been exploring indigenous cultures of North America during Native American Heritage Month. They have learned about the Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts and about the quahog shell wampum that was used as money and keepsakes. They learned about the diverse range of clothing and houses based on geography. While exploring legends, they created art to help us remember the connections in the stories. They even learned a few universal hand signals that tribes from different areas could use to communicate with each other.


11/15Picture Retake Day
11/15-11/19Canned Food Drive for Yarmouth Community Food Pantry
11/16 & 11/17Lower School Drama’s Aristocats KIDS(closed audience)
11/18Dress Down Day for Yarmouth Community Food Pantry$3
11/18NYA Logo Wear Sale, Lower School2:30 p.m.
11/19Parents’ Association Wreath Pick-Up, Grizzy Quad
11/19Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/22-11/26Thanksgiving BreakNO SCHOOL
11/26Black & Orange Hockey Clinic to benefit Make-A-Wish Maine
11/29Classes resume
12/1Dress Down Day for Holiday Families$3
12/7Dress Down Day for Siddhartha School$3
12/16Fall Semester Ends
12/17-12/31 Winter BreakNO SCHOOL
1/3Classes resume; Second Semester begins


Facebook – North Yarmouth Academy Page, NYA Parents’ Association Group, North Yarmouth Academy Athletics Page
YouTube – North Yarmouth Academy
Twitter – @NYAToday
Flickr – nyatoday
Instagram – Ben Jackson HOS
Instagram – northyarmouthacademy