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Lower School Newsletter for May 9, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day!

It is hard to believe that summer vacation is on the horizon and this will be the final Panther Cubs before we head off for the summer. These final weeks are packed with activity and special events, so mark those calendars and be on the lookout for additional details from the classroom teachers. This has been a most unusual year, and we continue to be to be amazed at all we have experienced and to be grateful for having had this full year of in-person learning. This has also been an exciting year in the Lower School, one full of growth and change and wonder. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with your children throughout the year and learning together with them. There are few things in life as full of joy and wonder as looking at the world through the eyes of a child. It has been an honor to teach your children and experience this wonder with them. We wish you all a safe, happy, and enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing you again in the new school year!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


So many exciting things have been taking place in our Lower School classrooms. Check out a sampling of these activities below:

In the Primary B classroom, Miss Leslie’s and Miss Cindy’s students have been working on putting together some special gifts in honor of Mother’s Day. The gifts include marigold plants grown from seeds in specially decorated pots along with beautiful cards.

Miss KB’s kindergarten students have been studying amphibians. The children observed frog eggs and took detailed notes and drawings. They read a variety of books and learned that amphibian means “two lives” – one in water and one on land. Students also used manipulatives to act out the life cycle of the frog.

Ms. Welch’s second grade class completed their science unit on habitats around the world. As a culminating activity, students chose an animal to study, researched the habitat they live in, any adaptations, as well as other plants and animals that call that habitat home. The students presented their findings and homemade dioramas to the class. What a fun, engaging way to learn about the many diverse habitats around the world!


A reminder to all returning families that 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!


There will be some changes to our typical schedule for our final week of school. There is no school on Monday, May 31 in recognition of Memorial Day. We will follow our normal school hours on Tuesday, June 1 and Wednesday, June 2. Our last day of school is Thursday, June 3. This is an early release day with pickup at 11:45 a.m. for all students. We will have morning snack, but will not be eating lunch at school that day. There is no After Care on the afternoon of June 3. Individual classroom teachers will provide details on any special plans to celebrate the students and their progress as we wrap up a wonderful school year together.


We will send home all of your child’s belongings from cubbies, lockers, and classrooms before the summer break. We will put a box of “found” items out on the porch for parents to check at drop-off or pick-up. Please take a look and bring home any items that belong to you. We will donate all unclaimed items to a charity after June 3. Thank you!


The sun’s rays are getting warmer (at long last), and it will soon be time to think about sun protection. We ask that parents apply sunscreen as needed before the start of the school day. Hats and long sleeves are also great for sun protection! Please be sure that your child has all necessary items for time outside, including a seasonally appropriate change of clothes.


In March of this year, NYA sponsored a Dress Down Day to support Maine Needs, a local non-profit whose mission is “to help individuals and families in Maine meet their basic, material needs.” Following the Dress Down Day, a few volunteers used the funds raised to purchase items from the Maine Needs’ essential items lists and then gathered a small groups of students and families to assemble twenty-four “summer sunshine” kits to bring a ray of sunshine and summer fun to local children and families in need. Thank you to everyone for supporting this wonderful organization!


On Wednesday, May 12, the entire Lower School will take part in a Dress Down Day and 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! Mr. Hardy will lead the festivities, and the entire Middle School will gather to cheer us on. This event is to help raise awareness and funds in support of the MDA. Thank you for your donations!


On May the Fourth, a little bit of Star Wars came to NYA. We had a Dress Down Day sponsored by the NYA Star Wars Club with proceeds benefitting the Star Wars Force for Change project. In addition, Terran Gross wanted to bring a little bit of Star Wars fun to students in the Lower and Middle Schools. Terran and his sister Gail put together a variety of activity stations in the Middle School Community Room for students in Ms. Gagne’s, Ms. Buehner’s, and Ms. Burns’ classes. Students could make Star Wars themed cards, color pictures spanning the range of the Star Wars saga, see a robot in action, complete different activity sheets, or pose for photos with Boba Fett (Gail in costume). Another member of the club, Sally Stronge, led a Star Wars Trivia Kahoot! challenge, with the top three advisory groups winning candy prizes. It was a great community event. Big thanks to Sally, Gail, Terran, and the Star Wars club!


Enjoy this update on Mental Health Awareness Month from Cindy Hould, NYA School Counselor.


Families of students entering fifth grade should check their summer reading assignments for English class. The book lists will be posted on the NYA website after June 3.


As part of NYA’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program, all students in grades five and above are required to have their own laptop or similar device and to bring their fully charged devices to campus each day. You can find the minimum system requirements here (also posted in Technology under the Student and Parent tabs on the NYA homepage). Students will be able to access the computer lab, but space may continue to be more limited due to physical distancing, and students will find it much easier to check and turn in homework, conduct research, complete certain assignments, and connect with teachers using their own device. Contact Chris Mazzurco with any questions regarding technology or BYOD.


Our very own Emma Bowden, Class of 2025, was recently featured on WMTW for her work with Gratitude for Maine. Gratitude for Maine is a non-profit organization launched by Emma and a couple of her friends to help send children in Maine to summer camp. The girls use their original photos to create notecards and calendars and the proceeds will go toward the cost of camp for a child who would not be able to attend without this support. Check out the Gratitude for Maine website and help support their worthy cause. Way to go, Emma!


Four seniors have successfully earned Diplomas with Distinction this year and have fulfilled their capstone projects, which are the culmination of a year or more of investigation, research, and reflection. NYA’s variety of Diplomas with Distinction allows students to pursue a specialized interest and to develop unique skills beyond our regular academic program, all under the direction and mentorship of each diploma’s advisor. Camille Beaudoin is receiving NYA’s Diploma with Distinction in Outdoor Leadership; Jackie Ellsworth is receiving NYA’s Distinction in Music, Entrepreneurship and Community; Alaina Rauf is receiving NYA’s Diploma with Distinction in Social Advocacy; and Camille Beaudoin and Natalie Farrell are receiving NYA’s Diploma with Distinction in STEM. Congratulations!


After a great deal of diligent work by the Kiva Club, NYA’s team (led by club advisor Peter Sillin) has climbed into the Top Ten in total lending among school teams in the WORLD! Our team has lent over $170,000 since the beginning of our club in 2008. If measured by the number of loans made, we are ranked sixth in the world for school teams.

Check us out on the front page of the School Teams standings.

Would you like to join us in our success? Anyone can make a KIVA account and control their own loans, while crediting their loans to our team total. Use this link to join NYA’s team


Parents, please join the NYA community the evening of Friday, June 4 for the annual spring Soirée under the tent on Denney Field or virtually from your home. There is still time to register online.

The Soirée includes an auction, a variety of fantastic class baskets to bid on, a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, live music, and more. You won’t want to miss this fun night of camaraderie to benefit NYA! The funds raised will support the amazing NYA faculty who have gone above and beyond this year. When you raise a paddle, you will provide increased professional development opportunities for faculty and new resources to help them stimulate intellectual inquiry in their classrooms and beyond. Contact Crystal Gordon or call 207-847-5401 with questions or suggestions.


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? 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.


During the summer, administrative office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. In addition to admission activity, we will be preparing for the upcoming school year. We will continue to send information and updates via email throughout the summer.


5/12MDA Dress Down Day and Hop-A-ThonDonations welcome!
5/15All Returning Family Forms Due
5/21Dress Down Day, Thirst Project
5/28Dress Down Day, Maine Climate Action Network
5/31Memorial DayNO SCHOOL
6/3Last Day of School8:00 – 11:45 a.m.
6/4NYA Soirée, Denney Field or Virtual6:00 p.m.
6/6Commencement, Denney Field11:00 a.m.
6/14NYA Summer Programs Begin
9/7First Day of School!


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