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March 28, 2021

Dear NYA Families,

The weather our first week back definitely produced a bit of a spring tease. I am hoping there is more of that to come. I further hope everyone enjoyed their break and is ready for the final 2 ½ month stretch of the school year. We are approaching the fourth quarter of the year, which begins on March 29. I appreciate everyone’s vigilance as we continue to mitigate the risks of COVID. With rising vaccine numbers and other factors, there is a lot of positive news, but locally, cases are remaining steady. We need to stay the course with safety measures to help us limit exposure and avoid interruptions at school. As of March 5, 2021, all of the New England states made it to Maine’s exempt travel list. This can change at any time. For travel to non-exempt states, we continue to require a quarantine and wait of five days prior to scheduling a PCR test and returning to school. Continue to reach out to Ashley Moody with any health related questions. Warm weather and more outside time will be very welcome. Again, thank you to everyone for your efforts and flexibility.

The glimpse of nice weather is also especially welcome as we get ready for the spring athletic season. On the good news front, spring athletics are scheduled to start on time, Monday, March 29. Upper School coaches have reached out via email with introductions, practice schedule information, and early season information. Although we await specific sport schedules, all sports have been approved for statewide competition, including the return of Maine Principal’s Association Championships. The Western Maine Conference will carry over the fall season “home spectator only” policy. Prior to the start of regular season competition, we will share edits to our Return to Campus Plan allowing an approved list of home spectators here at NYA. We are eager to fill, socially distanced and masked, sidelines to cheer on the Panthers this spring! Outdoor livestream efforts are continuing to improve and will be available – weather permitting – at all NYA campus venues.

Last week, we closed the book on the Upper School winter season with our recognition ceremony. In case you missed it, award recipients will continue to be shared via @NYAPanthers (Twitter) and NYA Athletics (Facebook). Congratulations to all!

We have finalized plans for end of the year celebrations and the last day and week of school:

  • Wednesday May 26: Middle School Recognition in the gymnasium at 6:00 p.m.  Due to distancing and other safety precautions, the event this year will be only for eighth grade students and their guests.
  • Thursday, June 3: Awards Day for Middle and Upper School at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom. Seniors and presenters will be in the gym. Other students and faculty will watch in classes and/or advisor groups. The link will be available for families at home. Dismissal will follow at noon.
  • Thursday, June 3: Last Day of School for Lower School. Dismissal at 11:45 a.m.
  • Thursday, June 3: Senior Dinner at 6:30 p.m. under the tent on campus – details to follow. Seniors and guests will be invited to this in-person celebration of our seniors.
  • Friday, June 4: NYA Spring Soirée – details further down in this letter.
  • Sunday, June 6: Commencement for the Class of 2021 at 11:00 a.m. on campus – details to follow.

Both the Lower School Arts Celebration and Lower School Grandparents’ Day will be virtual events this spring. More information will be coming soon. Please be sure your child’s grandparent contact information is updated here so they don’t miss this fun, entertaining event.

Friday, June 4 is normally Awards Day for the Middle and Upper School and Field Day for the whole school. Because we can’t hold a normal field day, we moved Awards Day so it immediately follows the final exam on Thursday. Due to this change, Thursday, June 3 will be our last day of school for the year.

On The Bright Side:

During the week before break, first graders participated in the Positive Pencil Program. After writing simple grant requests, students received approval from Mrs. Markonish for a small budget to purchase pencils with positive messages on them. The class was divided into partnerships, each set working together to gather the number of pencils needed for each class, grade K to 8. As a group, the students delivered pencils to each room, also visiting the cafeteria and various other locations. People received the gift of these positive messages with big smiles. It was a great way to participate in NYA’s Spirit Week before break! The students wrote reflections on the experience, with one first grader writing, “Today we did the Positive Pencil Project. We walked class to class. We did it to put smiles on faces.” I enjoyed my pencil with the “Love the Rainbow” message. Thank you and great work, first graders!

The eighth grade has been working on their “Fireside Chats.” This assignment is based on FDR’s tradition of sharing regular radio addresses to the public during the Great Depression. The tradition has been passed down to presidents since FDR’s time. The students’ assignment was to give a “chat” in the spirit of FDR, set during the Depression. I was able to stop by for some of the speeches, and the students did a great job.

NYA’s Studio Band recently released a series of videos (some of which are student-directed) of their winter performances. These performances were posted on NYA social media over break, and they are available to the public on Youtube. Be sure to enjoy these dynamic performances:

Rebirth of Slick 

Can I Kick it? 

Whip It! 

Alphabet Aerobics 


From Steel Industry – We Found Love 

The NYA Comedy Show was released prior to break. The Middle and Upper School drama students produced an amazing show, along with many special guests. If you haven’t watched the NY A-Comedy Show, you still can, at this link. There’s a lot to enjoy, so relax for an hour and have some laughs!

NYA’s Kauffmann Program is excited to be hosting the 5th Annual Kauffmann Environmental Writing Contest, open to all Maine high school students. Students can submit essays or poetry connected with some aspect of the environment (including ecology, science, outdoor adventure, spirituality, farming, or climate). Entries will be eligible for cash prizes, publication opportunities, and the possibility of a merit scholarship to NYA (for non-NYA students). For more information, visit the Kauffmann section of our website.

We are seeking host families for the 2021-2022 school year. As many of you know, NYA has a homestay program for Upper School students that live out of the state or country. In recent years, NYA has hosted students from many different states, Canada, China, Austria, Spain, India, Germany, and more. We are always looking for potential homestay families to host these students. You don’t have to be a current NYA family to host a student. A monthly stipend is also provided. The school would be responsible for facilitating COVID screening on the student’s arrival to Maine. There is more information here. Please email us (Sagaree Sengupta and Eliot Grady) at for specific details.

MARCH BREAK READING CHALLENGE – Deadline Extended! It’s not too late to enter your submission in NYA’s eighth annual March Break Photo Reading Challenge. Dress up as your favorite book character and send a photo or selfie of you, in character, reading the book! Think Hermione reading Harry Potter, the Queen of Hearts reading Alice in Wonderland, or Peter from The Snowy Day reading in a snowstorm! Send your entries to Eliot Grady by noon on Wednesday, March 31 to be considered. All entries will be posted in the Bicentennial Learning Commons. The pictures will be judged by a panel of faculty and staff, and a winner for each division (Lower, Middle, Upper, and Faculty/Staff) will be announced at Friday Forum on April 2 and via newsletters. Get creative, have fun, and READ!

Save the Date: Parents’ Association Morning Forum: Thursday, April 8 at 8:15 a.m. The topic will be NYA’s Strategic Initiatives. I will present along with Linda Manchester (NYA Board President), Garrett Bowne (NYA CFO), and Jennifer Richard (Director of Development). We will update progress on initiatives contained in the NYA: Strategic Vision 2020 and discuss upcoming priorities. A Zoom invitation will be sent directly to all families on April 7.

We continue to add photos to our SmugMug account. Visit and use the password: NYApanthers. (Please note, the password is case sensitive.) Take a look!

Please save a NEW DATE and format for the NYA Spring Soirée. Parents, alumni, grandparents, faculty, staff, and friends are invited to join this year’s Soirée the evening of Friday, June 4 in one of two ways:

  • Virtual: Bid, watch, and enjoy from the comfort of your home. You will be entertained and won’t miss any of the action.
  • In-person: Bid and enjoy the camaraderie of the NYA community during an outdoor, tented reception on campus that will feature hors d’oeuvres by Dandelion Catering and entertainment from Wavelength Band. The State of Maine’s health and safety COVID-19 guidelines will be followed to provide a safe opportunity for us to gather.

Invitations and additional details to be sent soon. In the meantime, reach out to Crystal Gordon with questions, suggestions, auction item ideas and offerings, as well as information on event sponsorships.

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


Facebook – North Yarmouth Academy Page, NYA Parents’ Association Group, NYA Athletics Page (for livestreams of home contests)
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Instagram – Ben Jackson HOS, North Yarmouth Academy, NYAartists
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