Middle School Newsletter for February 5, 2017

It is hard to believe that there are only four weeks of classes until March break! These weeks are packed with numerous special events, from the final games of the winter season to special music programs, Seussical performances, Bring A Friend to School Day, and national language exams.  Students are hard at work in their classes as the second semester is now in full swing, and it is important to maintain a healthy balance by also incorporating some light-hearted fun!

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Winter Drama presents Seussical, a family-friendly musical based on the books of Dr. Seuss. The performances are Friday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 18, 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday, February 19, 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $6 in advance, $7 at the door. Seating is limited to 140 per show. Please contact Heidi Lathrop for ticket reservations (847-5432). It is sure to be a very entertaining show!


NYA ran its annual Mock Newbery Book Club this fall/winter for students in grades five through eight. The list of books, generated by librarian Ms. O’Connor, included seventeen titles across a variety of genres aimed at middle-grade readers. Students selected books from the list to read on their own, and then discussed and recommended them to other members during monthly lunch meetings. Voting for NYA’s Mock Newbery Award was held Tuesday, January 31, resulting in a winner and three honorable mentions: Winner: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown Honors: Lily & Dunkin by Donna Gephart, Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, and Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Many of the books on the list received points in the voting process, reflecting the diverse reading interests of our students. Upon completing our Book Group, one student vowed to participate again next year, noting, “I have found some of my favorite books I’ve ever read doing this club!”girl-who-drank-moon

The official Newbery Award was awarded to The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill and was included on our list of titles. For more information about the ALA Newbery Award visit their website. ~ Jill O’Connor


Please join us for our next 2017 Soirée brainstorming and planning meeting in the Middle School Community Room on Wednesday, February 8, 8:15- 9:15 a.m. We will definitely have coffee on hand! RSVPs are welcome, but not required.  Bring a friend! If you are unable to attend, please feel free to email your ideas, thoughts, and inspirations to Randall Thomas.  If you are interested in learning more about how you or your business might sponsor the Soirée, we welcome your queries!

A bit of information about this year’s Soirée:

  • Goal: a fun, off-campus party for adults to celebrate our school together and to raise important financial support that impacts all programs across our school
  • Date: Friday, May 5, 2017, 5:00-10:00 p.m.
  • Location: Brick South, Thompson’s Point, Portland, ME
  • Mood: Casual or dressy, farm table-style seating by Lani Toscano Design, beautiful flowers by Emily Carter Floral Designs, delicious buffet supper and cocktail reception by 111 Maine, cash bar, live music and dancing provided by Loose Threads, lighting presented by The Event Light Pros, photos captured by Hemphill Photo
  • Lots of fun: 10 live auction items, some fun party games, and ONE truly important mission auction item!

~ Josie Griffin and Jen Edwards, Soirée co-chairs


NYA is bringing Garbage to Garden on campus this spring to increase our environmental sustainability.  Garbage to Garden provides curbside composting and is “so easy, you won’t even get your hands dirty.” The NYA Executive Council is spearheading the initiative and is planning a Dress Down Day and a speaker from Garbage to Garden on Tuesday, February 14 for the kick-off.


NYA alum Eli Gilbert ’10 is coming to campus on Tuesday, February 14 to hold a workshop with the NYA bluegrass ensemble. On the following day, February 15, Eli will join other 317 Community Music Center instructors to give a special performance for the Middle and Upper School students. NYA’s Bluegrass ensemble will join them for a few songs as well. There will be a special schedule during the day to accommodate the assembly at 1:30 p.m. in the gym. We look forward to hearing from these talented musicians!


The entire Middle School will gather in the NYA gym at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22 to celebrate the hard work, growth, joy, and accomplishments of the student athletes and performers. The fifth grade will be dismissed at 2:20 p.m. in order to attend this event.  Parents and families are welcome!  We ask that all students plan to attend and get picked up following the celebration.


On Thursday, February 23, we have planned an afternoon of activities for students in grades five through eight from 2:45-4:45 p.m. Students will remain in the Middle School after the academic day and have a bit of time to tackle any homework as we prepare for the festivities. We will have pizza, snacks, a movie, and a variety of games. This event allows faculty and students to join in on the fun, whether enjoying a slice of pizza or battling it out in a fierce game of Wii boxing. Seeing T-Mac boogie down to some Just Dance action is an event not to be missed!


Have you ever been asked “What is NYA like?” Well, here’s the chance to show your friend just what it’s like to be an NYA student! Friday, February 24, is “Bring a Friend to School Day.” This is an opportunity for our current NYA students in grades four through twelve to invite friends from their sports teams, neighborhoods, summer camps, after school programs, etc. to spend the day with them at NYA while many area schools will be on February break. Click here for more information and to register a friend!


After the Middle School Winter Athletic & Drama Celebration on Wednesday, February 22, there are no afternoon practices or rehearsals until after our spring break. To help keep our Middle School students active and involved during that period, we will offer a variety of “Cabin Fever Reliever” activities on Monday, February 27, Tuesday, February 28, and Thursday, March 2. Students will have the option of being picked up immediately after school (by 2:30 p.m.) that week. Otherwise, they will sign up for one of the activities that will run from roughly 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. each afternoon. Options will include Free Skate (no sticks, helmets required, for skaters of all abilities); Silent Reading; Games (Chess, Checkers, Board Games, & Word Games); Animated Games (Pictionary, Charades, etc.); Crafts; Gym Games (Futsal, Bombardment, etc.); or Study Hall. Students will be signing up this week. As usual, the Middle School building will remain open and supervised until 4:00 p.m. each day. All students on campus after 2:30 p.m. must be enrolled in one of the activities. It should be a fun time for all!


For the final week before March break, the fifth grade schedule will be altered to allow students to join in on the special events scheduled during that week. Their academic day will end at 2:15 on Monday, February 27; Tuesday, February 28; and Thursday, March 2 in order for students to take part in the Cabin Fever Reliever Activities. They will follow the same special schedule as grades six through eight on Friday, March 3 and then join in on the Winter Carnival fun until 2:30 p.m. The fifth grade academic day on Wednesday, March 1 will run until 3:00 p.m. as usual.

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Friday, March 3 is Winter Carnival at NYA. We will have an abbreviated class schedule in the morning followed by special activities after lunch. Students in grades five through twelve will be broken up into groups to experience each of the activities while playfully competing against the other teams. Classes are paired together for the afternoon events:  fifth, sixth, and eleventh; seventh and tenth; and eighth and ninth (twelfth grade will be solo this year).  The activities will include Name that Tune, Bombardment, Musical Chairs, Captain’s Coming, Sing Down, and Knockout.  It is a fun way to unite the school community and break out of the winter doldrums.


Leading up to the festivities of Winter Carnival, we will have special dress days and lunchtime activities Monday, February 27 – Thursday, March 2. Lunch activities will include Powdered Sugar Gum (a rather messy, no hands, gum-chewing activity), Marshmallow Drop (an even messier activity that involves dropping marshmallows off a ladder into the open mouth of your teammate below), Chubby Bunny (a crazy challenge of trying to talk with your mouth full of marshmallows), and Make-Up Artist (an activity where one student applies make-up to another student without being able to see his/her face).  If a student chooses not to take part in the special dress, s/he must be in regular NYA dress code. Below are the special dress days for the week:

  • Monday:         Pajama Day
  • Tuesday:         Blackout (dress in black head to toe)
  • Wednesday:   America Day (wear red, white, & blue)
  • Thursday:      Back to the Future Day (wear clothing from any decade, past or future)
  • Friday:            Team Colors by Grade:
    • 5th & 6th Grade = red
    • 7th Grade = blue
    • 8th Grade = white


Each year, NYA students participate in National Language Exams and Contests. These contests provide our students with the opportunity to earn recognition and prizes by demonstrating their linguistic proficiency. All seventh and eighth grade students will be taking these exams. The Grand Concours and National Latin Exam will take place the week before March Break, and the National Spanish Exam will take place at the beginning of April. The fee for these exams (≈ $5) will be charged to student accounts. Middle School awards will be announced at Middle School Recognition Night on May 24. Please contact Patia Maule, Modern and Classical Language Department Chair, with any questions. Merci, Gracias, Gratias! ~ The Modern & Classical Language Department


NYA is hosting our fourth annual March Break Photo Reading Challenge. Read a book in a fun, creative, or exotic place, take a picture, and then email it to Jill O’Connor. All photo entries must be received by noon on Wednesday, March 22 to be considered. 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 on Friday, March 24 at Friday Forum, and via Facebook and newsletters. Get creative, have fun, and READ!!  ~ Jill O’Connor


Middle School spring sports begin the day we return from March Break, Monday, March 20. Students should bring clothing and gear and be ready to practice that day. Additional information about preparing for the spring athletic season can be found here.


The NYA Parents’ Association is pleased to invite all NYA parents to some casual evening events. The Upper School Make-A-Wish and Key Clubs will provide child care in the Lower School during these events (suggested donation of $10/hour). We hope that you can join us any time from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at:

  • Woodhull, Yarmouth, 2/23
  • The Owl and Elm, Yarmouth, 3/30
  • Dockside, Falmouth, 4/13


Alex Kloza (Ice Arena Manager) and Caroline Anson (Alumni Relations) have arranged for a series of open skates for alumni and families. Families are welcome to bring friends and neighbors. Helmets are required for everyone on the ice. No sticks, please. The next open skate date is Saturday, February 25, 2017, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.


From John Drisko, Assistant Head of School & Head of the Upper School: As many of you know, the final home contest of the season for each team is called “senior night.” This is when seniors are celebrated and their parents are recognized. I encourage you to come to these final contests to support and celebrate the seniors as well as the entire team. Each of the senior nights are listed below. Thank you in advance for your support of NYA activities and specifically for your support of these fine student-athletes/thespians/musicians.

Tuesday, February 7:               Girls and Boys Basketball, 5:30 and 7:00

Friday, February 10:                Boys Hockey, 4:50

The WMC Track Championships at 4:00 at USM

Wednesday, February 15:        Girls Hockey at 4:50

February 17, 18 and 19:            Seussical the Musical

Friday, February 24:                 Studio Band – The Last Waltz at 6:30


2/5NYA Sunday River Ski Trip
2/6Holiday Families Dress Down Day$3
2/8Soirée Brainstorming and Planning Meeting, MSCR8:15-9:15 a.m.
2/8Middle School Debate, NYA (rescheduled from 1/18)3:00-5:00 p.m.
2/14Garbage to Garden Dress Down Day and speaker$3
2/15Music Performance with 317 Main, NYA gym1:30-2:15 p.m.
2/16Winter Drama Seussical Preview, Safford 5:30-7:30 p.m.
2/17Last Day of Middle School Winter Sports6:30-8:30 p.m.
2/17Winter Drama Seussical Performance, Safford
2/18Winter Drama Seussical Performance, Safford2:00-4:00 p.m.
2/18Winter Drama Seussical Performance, Safford6:30-8:30 p.m.
2/19Winter Drama Seussical Performance, Safford2:00-4:00 p.m.
2/20Presidents’ DayNO SCHOOL
2/21Drama Strike; No Middle School sports
2/22Dress Down Day for Strive$3
2/22Middle School Winter Activities Celebration, NYA gym2:30 p.m.
2/23Middle School Pizza and Fun2:45-4:45 p.m.
2/23NYA Parent Social, Woodhull, Yarmouth5:00-7:00 p.m.
2/24NYA Bring A Friend to School Day; No Middle School sports or afternoon activities
2/24The Last Waltz Studio Band Performance, Safford 6:30 p.m.
2/25NYA Family, Friends, & Alumni Open Skate5:30-6:30 p.m.
2/27-3/3Spirit Week
2/27, 2/28, & 3/2Middle School Cabin Fever Reliever Activities2:20-3:20 p.m.
3/1Lower School Arts Celebration, NYA gym2:30 p.m.
3/1 No Middle School sports or afternoon activities
3/3Winter Carnival; Special Schedule; No Middle School sports or afternoon activities
3/3Last day of classes before March Break
3/4-3/19March BreakNO SCHOOL
3/20Classes resume; Middle School Spring Sports begin
3/22Deadline to submit photos for March Break Reading Challenge