Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

March 1, 2020

Dear Families,

I wanted to start with some information on the Coronavirus. As you know, the outbreak of this virus has impacted the lives of many throughout the world and in the U.S. NYA continues to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This link includes both information on the virus and recommendations for schools, businesses, travelers, and individuals.

We will continue to monitor the situation and follow advice from the CDC. We are also following recommendations made by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and other local public and private schools. It was recommended that schools develop contingency plans in the unlikely event of an extended school closure. NYA is currently working on contingency plans, including the potential for remote learning opportunities. Again, an extended school closure appears unlikely at this time. I do not want to cause unnecessary alarm, but as this situation develops, I want you to know the Academy is planning for potential scenarios and following the situation closely. In the interim, please continue to take prudent steps to stop the overall spread of any sickness:

  • Encourage your children to frequently wash hands and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • If your child has a fever, please keep them home until at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided without the use of fever reducing medications.

Finally, many of our students and families have loved ones in affected areas. Our thoughts go out to everyone who has been impacted.

If you have walked by the NYA Learning Commons lately, you likely noticed great progress. Dan King, NYA Director of Facilities, is working with the contractors to apply the finishing touches to the space. Painting, lighting installation, bathroom installation, and other finish work is nearing completion. Soon, the space will be carpeted, followed by the addition of the furnishings. The Executive Committee (Student Government) is working on student expectations for the space, and we are planning an opening before the end of March. I will keep you updated as the final work is complete. I look forward to opening this space for our students!

Studio Band presented their Last Waltz to a full house in Safford on Friday night. This is traditionally the culmination of the musicians’ winter activity season. Throughout the season, they presented music from artists such REM, Talking Heads, The Cure, B-52s, Aerosmith, Queen, Styx, Muse, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. As Adrian Cronauer, played by Robin Williams, said in Good Morning Vietnam, “I don’t care what you play as long as you play it loud.” Loud it was, but it was an entertaining show with a talented group of musicians. The band was also on the road for many performances this year including One Longfellow Square, Maine Craft Distilling, and three shows at the Augusta Civic Center during the Maine State Basketball Championship. They even played at the boys varsity hockey game last Wednesday. The NYA Studio Band is under the direction of Ross Markonish and Ian Ramsey.

The winter athletic season ended this weekend with the boys varsity hockey team participating in the Holt Conference playoffs. The boys defeated Pingree at home on Friday and went on to play Worcester Academy in the championship game in Worcester on Saturday. They defeated Worcester 3-1 and,  for the second year in a row, are the Holt Conference Champions. Congratulations, boys for a great season. The girls varsity team played their final game on Wednesday against Cushing. Although the girls ended the season with a loss against a strong Cushing team, they finished the season very strong.

On Wednesday, the Middle School held their winter athletic and activity recognition. Coaches and drama directors shared recaps of their seasons and the lessons the students learned on and off the court, ice, and stage.

It is Winter Carnival and Spirit Week at NYA. Spirit Week features several themed days in Upper and Middle School. There are fun activities during lunch throughout the week, culminating with Winter Carnival, an afternoon filled with numerous activities around campus, on Friday, March 6. The Lower School participates in the festivities by having fun dress down days, and the elementary classes have an ice skating/pizza party on Friday. Winter Carnival is a great way to break up any winter doldrums!

Mission Spotlight

The NYA Senior Speech is a rite of passage at our school. During their senior year, each student is required to present a speech in front of the Middle and Upper School students, faculty, and staff during Friday Forum. The topics are normally about life’s experiences and can be humorous, deeply personal, or about overcoming one of life’s challenges. Mr. Markonish, Mr. Gagne, and Ms. Hoppenbrouwers prepare the students for these experiences, and they do an exceptional job presenting the speeches. The speech is the culmination of many public speaking opportunities for the students throughout the grades at NYA.

In addition to speeches, there are announcements and occasionally another performance or two. All are welcome to attend Friday Forum, which begins at 10:15 a.m. every Friday in the gym. A list of seniors presenting their senior speech may be found on the event calendar.

Nkhoma Primary School Students-Crocs FundraiserCommunity service was in action in the fourth grade. After looking at a photo of students in Malawi, the fourth graders noticed that some children were wearing Crocs, while most others were barefoot. After a great discussion, the class came up with the idea to have a school-wide “Croc Drive.” There are donation boxes set up in the Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School. We are asking for new or used Crocs. These shoes are truly a valuable resource in Malawi. Your donations will be put to good use and will be deeply appreciated.

Summer Camp Registration was opened to NYA Families on Friday, February 28 and will open to the general public on Monday, March 2. It is not too early to think about your summer plans and I encourage you to check out the full offering of camps here. They include weekly Panther Tots, Panther Cubs, and Super Summer Day Camp offerings along with several theme and partner camps. These include sports, dance, circus, science, Legos, magic, and much more. Space is limited and many fill up quickly. The early bird registration discount ends on April 15. Email questions to Director of Summer Programs, Mary Goodrich. We hope to see you this summer!

The Lower School Arts Celebration will be held on Wednesday, March 4 at 2:30 p.m. in the gym. The theme for this year’s show is Hawaii. The Lower School students began learning about the Hawaiian Islands in December, studying animals, sea life, fruits, and wild flowers that are native to Hawaii. During the show, you will see some creative artwork reflective of their studies. There is always some terrific work and music. We look forward to seeing you there.

It’s time to Show Your Love, NYA! If 500 people make a gift to NYA before midnight on March 8, Board President Allen Bornheimer ‘60, GP’30 will give $30,000 to the Academy Fund. Please help secure an extra $30,000 for a place we all love – NYA! Make a gift today. Your participation matters, and your gift makes an impact on the students, teachers, and programs. Thank you!

Additional reminder: Save the Date – The NYA Soirée is scheduled for Friday, May 15 at Portland’s Ocean Gateway. This is an important night for the Academy and a very fun evening, too. We look forward to seeing you there.

Upcoming Dates:

Week of March 2Spirit Week & Winter Carnival
Wednesday, March 4Lower School Arts Celebration2:30 p.m. in the gym
Friday, March 6Spring Break begins after classes
Monday, March 23Classes Resume
Wednesday, March 25Upper School Winter Athletic Recognition6:00 p.m. in the gym
Thursday through Saturday March 26-28Senior Class Trip to NYC
Friday, March 27End of Third Quarter (**Midterm**)

Have a great week and spring break!

And, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram – Ben Jackson HOS.


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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