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Middle School Newsletter for December 5, 2021

It is hard to believe how quickly time has passed and that the final weeks of the first semester are now upon us. We are so impressed with all that our students have managed and achieved throughout the fall. Now is the time both to celebrate their many successes and to begin to set new goals for the spring. When we return from the winter break, we will begin both a new semester and a new year – 2022! A new year is a new beginning, and in the school calendar, we are blessed with two “new years,” in September and in January. Let us embrace these new beginnings and look forward to a bright new year ahead.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a happy new year!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Parents are invited to join us for the NYA Middle School Afternoon with the Arts on Wednesday, December 8 at 1:00 p.m. in the NYA gymnasium. Come enjoy the musical talents of our bands, choruses, orchestras, and ukulele ensemble! Guests will remain seated and masked in the bleachers while the different groups take turns coming into the gym to perform. The performance will also be livestreamed for those who are not able to attend in person. Dress for the performance is NYA Dress Up attire. Fifth grade students, boys and girls basketball players, and students in drama will be ready for pickup immediately after the concert ends. Middle School ice hockey will have practice as usual that afternoon.


As we wrap up the semester and prepare to head off for winter break, we will end our final day with some special festivities. After cleaning out our lockers and advisory rooms, students will be able to choose from activities such as free skate in the arena or a holiday movie in the Middle School. Fifth grade students will be dismissed and ready for pick-up at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, December 16. There will be no Middle School Basketball practice that afternoon and players will also be ready for pick-up at 2:15.


Report cards and comments for the Fall Semester will be sent out via email the first week in January. Report cards list each class with the teacher and letter grade. Comments written by each teacher accompany the report cards. These provide more detailed feedback on the student’s performance in class, highlighting strengths and offering suggestions about areas to work on.

If there are any questions about report cards or comments, please do not hesitate to contact the individual teacher, the advisor, or Marissa Markonish. Students have worked very hard this semester and have made significant progress since the beginning of the year. They should be proud of their success!


It has been wonderful to have our Middle School student-athletes back in competition. Be sure to check out our Athletics website for competition schedules, transportation details, and other important information about the season! As always, weekly emails from coaches will remain a staple in our communication throughout the winter.

Prior to Thanksgiving Break, a letter from the Athletics Department was emailed to the community outlining our NYA Winter Sport Guidelines. We appreciate everyone’s support and cooperation in these efforts. Throughout the country, we are seeing a shortage of game day officials. Many of our officials here in Maine travel from their full-time job to officiate afternoon and evening competitions. They love the sports that our student-athletes love, and continue to engage as officials. As we enter into the competitive winter season and welcome the return of spectators at NYA, please continue focusing on cheering for our student-athletes. Refrain from yelling at officials or opposing teams. Our NYA fans are known to be supportive, creative, loud, and proud. Let’s keep up the great tradition of Panther Pride and let the focus be on the student-athletes!  ~ Kelsy Ross, Director of Athletics


As the second semester approaches, it will soon be time to start thinking about the eighth grade transition to Upper School! Each January, parents of eighth grade students are invited to meet with Eric Austin, Head of Upper School, to learn more about the Upper School program and curriculum, discuss sample schedules, and ask any questions. Parents should contact Eric to arrange a Zoom meeting.


As you may know, both Izzy Piper and Maya Burns will be going out on family leave for much of the spring semester. I am delighted to let you know that we have hired two wonderful long-term teachers to take on these positions this spring. Andrew Moore will be taking on Civics, American History, and Life Skills in Maya’s absence. Andrew holds a BS in Teaching Social Studies from Montana State University and is certified to teach Social Studies in grades 5-12 in both Maine and Montana. His prior experience includes working as a Special Education Assistant Teacher at The Manville School in Roxbury, MA and as an Outdoor Education Guide for Rippleffect in Portland, ME. Eric Howell will be taking on Sixth Grade English, one section of Seventh Grade English, and one section of Geography in Izzy’s absence. Eric holds a BA in English from The Pennsylvania State University and an MA in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction from Adams State University. Eric has a wide range of experience working with students as an English Language and Culture Teaching Assistant in Spain, as a Corps Member and Team Leader for City Year Boston, and as a Third Grade Boettcher Teaching Resident. Prior to moving to Maine, Eric worked for six years as a Sixth Grade English Language Arts Teacher at STRIVE Prep in Green Valley Ranch, CO. We are delighted to be welcoming Andrew and Eric to the Middle School next semester!


  • Eliot Grady’s advisory group is 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.
  • Ellie Clifford (Class of 2027) is sponsoring a Dress Down Day on Wednesday, December 15 to benefit the Maine chapter of Best Buddies International ($3 donation). Best Buddies is “dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).”


All are welcome to attend the Travis Roy ’94 Memorial Hockey Game and Reception on Saturday, December 11 at Walter Brown Arena in Boston. The reception begins at 2:00 p.m. followed by the NYA Varsity Boys Ice Hockey game versus Tabor Academy at 4:00 p.m. Click here to RSVP.


Friday, February 4 will be an early release to allow faculty and staff time for professional development meetings. School will run from 8:00-11:30 a.m. on this day with a special class schedule. We will have morning snack, but lunch will not be served. All students should plan to be picked up at 11:30 a.m. Drama and Upper School athletic schedules for the afternoon will be shared by directors and coaches.


Believe it or not, we are almost ready to launch our Summer Camp 2022 registration! We are very much looking forward to summer and all the fun that it brings. Our Summer Camp partners also have signed back on to deliver their amazing, fun, and creative programs. Stay tuned for registration dates and details coming soon to your inbox and to our website. Please Contact Summer Programs Director, Mary Goodrich (207-874-5432) with any questions .


Thank you to all those who made a gift to NYA on GivingTuesday! Together we raised over $35,000 for the Academy.

Each year, many current families join alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, and friends in making contributions to support the talented students and committed faculty and to sustain the wide-array of programs at NYA. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to NYA this year online or by reaching out to Director of Development, Jennifer Richard (207-847-5429). On behalf of all of us at NYA, thank you for your generosity and commitment to the Academy.


12/7Dress Down Day for Siddhartha School$3
12/8Middle School Afternoon with the Arts, NYA Gym1:00 p.m.
12/11Travis Roy ’94 Memorial Hockey Game and Reception2:00 p.m.
12/15Dress Down Day for Best Buddies$3
12/16Fifth Grade Pick-up at 2:15 p.m.
12/16Last day of classes before Winter Break
12/17-12/31Winter BreakNO SCHOOL
1/3Classes resume; Second Semester begins
1/5Dress Down Day for Strive$3
1/11Dress Down Day for Make-A-Wish$3
2/4Early Release Day11:30 a.m.
2/10-2/12Winter Drama Performances
2/18Studio Band Last Waltz, Safford6:30 p.m.
2/21-2/22Presidents’ Day Long WeekendNO SCHOOL


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