Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

May 2, 2021

Dear Families,

I am a bit reflective as I write this week’s Sunday letter. Friday, April 30, marked the last day of classes for the Class of 2021. Normally, the seniors complete their social service projects during the month of May, but due to COVID-19, there aren’t as many organizations accepting volunteers. Some students are finding opportunities and volunteering this month. All students will still be on campus taking exams, competing, rehearsing music, and attending year-end events. However, we will miss their daily presence. Each year is full of individual achievements and group accomplishments. There hasn’t been a year that we have had as powerful a shared experience as we have navigated COVID 19 as a community. Woven into every activity and action, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has been COVID. Everyone has made sacrifices. The faculty and staff have the task of keeping campus open among the stress of the unknown and learned new ways of teaching and connecting with their classes. Our families faced similar challenges in their personal and professional lives. Our children and young adults faced restrictions and limited social interaction. We all were required to be nimble with the ability to shift to remote learning. Through it all, however, there have been many silver linings. One of these is the Class of 2021. Their senior year wasn’t what any of us expected, but they rose to the challenge. They injected positive energy and enthusiasm into the community. They chose optimism in the face of adversity. They demonstrated great leadership for the entire community, and for that, I am grateful. Thank you to the Class of 2021 and enjoy your final month of high school.

The spring athletics season continues to move forward with successes, challenges, and seemingly never-ending changes. We sincerely appreciate the continued flexibility and understanding of everyone as we navigate it all. The number one goal driving all decisions is keeping our student-athletes in the classrooms and on their respective playing surfaces for the remainder of the season. Our focus is on limiting contact and exposure within our community.

To that end, we’d like to reiterate and clarify our NYA response to recent state and MPA changes related to mask wearing and spectators:

  • Student athletes and officials are no longer be required to wear masks during outdoor athletic competitions; masks can be worn by choice, however
  • Student-athletes and coaches will continue to wear masks on the sidelines and benches
  •  NYA will permit home, masked spectators only and continue to livestream home events for those spectators unable to attend in person
  • At practice, student-athletes are required to wear masks except for when engaged in competition-like activities, or coach-supervised activities, where a distance of six feet can be maintained

Please be in touch with Athletic Director, Kelsy Ross, with any questions. We are all eager for the return of full, unrestricted sideline, bench, and competition areas and are so proud of the ways our community is represented this spring.

On The Bright Side:

Poet Christine Brooks, lifelong friend of Mrs. Gallagher, visited first grade last week via Zoom! Christine is an accomplished author, with many books of essays and poems to her credit. She was also featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, poetry anthologies, and many online publications. Students enjoyed listening to her poems and discussing the process of turning a nugget of an idea into concise writing.

Mrs. G’s first graders were also busy assembling packets of seeds for their Seeds of Sunshine project. The first graders class sold their seeds to support Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine provides a retreat and camp experience for children with life threatening illnesses and their families. If you would like some seeds, it is too late! The class sold out, and the students raised $304 for this very worthy cause.

Mrs. Sahlman’s Middle School geometry class hosted Ms. Gagne’s 3/4 grade class last Tuesday to teach them about math tessellations: what they are, how they occur in nature, and MC Escher. They also worked on an activity to make tessellations with them. This was in preparation for the field trip they took to the Yarmouth History Center’s Stonewall Gallery to see the Art Quilts Maine exhibit. For this show, quilt members were challenged to work with tessellations to create a quilt inspired by a master artist. With Ms. Gagne’s class, the eighth grade geometry students walked to the History Center, visited the exhibit, and experienced the tessellated quilts.

Please join us for an educational webinar for the NYA community entitled Not Just Blowing Smoke:  Tobacco, Vaping and Marijuana and Youth Use,  on Wednesday May 5 at 4:30 p.m. via Zoom. This webinar is presented by Beth Blakeman-Pohl of Casco Bay CAN (Create Awareness Now) and Hawa Shir of the City of Portland Tobacco Project. Here is the link to register. For more information on adolescent use of tobacco and vaping products, marijuana use with vaping products, and marketing tactics by tobacco companies, including prevention lesson plans, please visit Casco Bay CAN Vaping Prevention.

NYA offers up to 17 Advanced Placement courses each year. As early as sophomore year, students begin taking AP courses. This week, AP exams begin. Here is a link to the schedule for Upper School AP Exams.

In addition to AP exams, there are many additional end of the year dates to keep in mind:

  • Tuesday, May 4: Dress Down Day, Force for Change, $3
  • Wednesday, May 5: Casco Bay Can Vaping Webinar, 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 12: Dress Down Day, Special Olympics, $3
  • Friday, May 21: Dress Down Day, Thirst Project, $3
  • Wednesday, May 26: MS Recognition Evening (eighth grade only), NYA gym, 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 27: Last Day of Middle School spring sports
  • Monday, May 31: Memorial Day, NO SCHOOL
  • Tuesday, June 1 – Thursday, June 3: Exams for Grades 6-11
  • Wednesday, June 2 – Senior Lunch and Graduation Rehearsal
  • Thursday, June 3: Last Day of School. Last Exam for Grades 6-11.
  • Thursday, June 3: Awards Day for Upper School and Middle School at 10:30 m.
  • Thursday, June 3: Lower School dismissal at 11:45 a.m., Middle and Upper School dismissal at 12:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 3: Senior Dinner 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, June 4: Soirée, Denney Field or Virtual, 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 6: Commencement, Denney Field, 11:00 a.m.

Thank you to the following sponsors for supporting this year’s NYA Soirée. There is still time to join this growing list of sponsors. Benefits include tickets to the Soirée, your logo on promotional materials, and much more! Purchase your sponsorship today at or by contacting

Presenting Sponsors
The Breakwater Group – Morgan Stanley
Patriot Insurance Company
Pine State Beverage

Varsity Sponsor
Schaeffer Douglas Title

Panther Sponsors
Moxie Painting Studio & Gallery
New England Touchless Car Wash
Payroll Management, Inc.

Orange Sponsor
Cold River Vodka
Leandra Fremont-Smith Interiors
Scott Dugas Trucking & Excavating
Ted Sharp ’60 and Sharon Libby ’61 Sharp

Black Sponsors
Alexander & Schmidt
Simons Architects
Southern Maine Hearing

In-Kind Sponsors
Farm to Table Kids
Griffin & Griffin Lighting
Maine Craft Distilling

Register today to attend the in-person or virtual Soirée on Friday, June 4 at

Summer Camps are filling fast, however we still have room in our new NYA Ice Hockey Camps. We are also ready to roll out our brand-new academic workshops. These mini courses are designed and taught by NYA faculty members and aimed to help bridge any gaps in learning, refresh skills and concepts, or to help students get a leg up on the coming year. We are proudly offering a variety of courses including: College Essay Writing, French Conversation and Culture for both beginners and intermediates, Environmental Science, Biology, Trigonometry, and Calculus. Courses run Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. These workshops are intentionally kept small to offer one-on-one attention and tutoring and are subject to a minimum enrollment to run. Click here for course details!

We are also looking for lead counselors for a few of our summer camps. Visit NYA’s careers page for position descriptions and requirements or contact

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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