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Middle School Newsletter for February 7, 2021

It is hard to believe that there are only four weeks of classes until March break! Although the recent snow reminds us that we are squarely in the midst of winter, it will not be long before we begin to dream of the longer days of sun and blooming flowers that springtime will bring. Our winter activities will soon be coming to a close, and we will break up the winter doldrums with Spirit Week and Cabin Fever Reliever activities. 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


RE-ENROLLMENT REMINDER

Enrollment agreements were sent out last week with a March 1 deadline. We appreciate your prompt return of these agreements as staffing and schedules for next year will be constructed based on students whose re-enrollments are submitted by March 1.

DONATIONS FOR MAINE NEEDS

Maine Needs is a local non-profit whose mission is “to help individuals and families in Maine meet their basic, material needs by providing donated clothing, hygiene products, household items, and other necessities. We focus our work on those starting life over from scratch: domestic abuse survivors, asylum seekers, and those facing financial hardships.” Some of our NYA families who volunteer with the organization suggested getting our community involved in gathering donations to help support those in need in our larger community. We are holding a donation drive to gather clean, gently used donations which we will pass on to Maine Needs for distribution. Their top priorities are cold weather gear, 4T-18 clothing (especially for boys), anything waterproof, thermal underwear for adults and kids, and insulated sleeping bags for the homeless. Check out the full list of items accepted here. We will have boxes for donations at each of the wellness checks from February 8-19. There are so many families in need, especially during these challenging times. We appreciate your help and generosity!

MIDDLE SCHOOL PARKING LOT REMINDERS

The Middle School parking lot is a very busy place at drop-off and pick-up each day. We want to ensure that the experience is as safe for students and as convenient for parents as possible. Please do not park in the turn-around. For drop-off in the morning, please pull ahead to the furthest point in the turn-around before stopping and have students exit the vehicle quickly. Time is of the essence! In the afternoon, timing is everything. If your child is not waiting outside for you, please pull into a parking spot and wait there. One car waiting for even a few minutes can throw off the whole flow, cause our own little traffic jam, and create hazardous conditions. We appreciate your help and patience with this process!

LEAVING CAMPUS IN THE AFTERNOONS

If a Middle School student wishes to leave campus after school and will not be accompanied by a parent, we ask that parents simply notify us via email or phone to let us know that the student has permission to do so. This is especially common right now, as many students enjoy heading over to the skating pond with friends at this time of year!

MIDDLE SCHOOL WINTER ACTIVITY UPDATE

Middle School after school activities have been going very well this winter. We are proud of how this group has responded and are following the necessary protocols, all while staying active. Recently, the rules changed to allow our Middle School teams to scrimmage, much to the delight of our basketball teams, who are often heard jubilantly yelling “we can scrimmageeeee!” The hockey and basketball coaches have found ways to play small games, incorporate live play, and keep the competitive spirit alive. The fitness for life group has tried many new activities this winter and found their groove with outside walks, yoga, and HIIT workouts. They are hoping the snow opens up some new choices for the end of the season. And finally, over in Higgins, Ms. Krainis and Ms. Vaillancourt are keeping the creative juices flowing in drama as the group has been spotted finding a new way to put on a play this winter. Teams will have their last day of practice on Thursday, February 25, and coaches and directors will provide specific details about the end of the season. We have loved seeing all the energy brought to after school activities! 

In an effort to streamline our scheduling process, we are shifting from our current Big Teams platform to rSchoolToday. The full transition to rSchoolToday will take place on Monday, February 15. For more information on where to find practice and competition details, including how to sign-up for rSchoolToday alerts, please visit our Athletics webpage. Weekly updates with specific team schedule information will continue to be communicated directly from your coaches.  ~ Mallory Michaeles

The NY A-COMEDY SHOW!

Coming soon:  The NY A-comedy Show! Produced by the Winter Drama Team with the help of CBS Late-Night VP, Nick Bernstein, the SNL-styled show includes short films, commercials, and sketches all written, staged, filmed, and edited by the team. You will see Keeping Up With The Canadians, Virtual Prom Ask, NYA Quiz Show, Daughters of Power, and so much more, with guest appearances by several faculty and staff members and at least one parent! We plan to release the show before March Break so you can enjoy it with your family and friends! Special thanks to all those teachers and staff who have allowed us to film in their spaces, and who have unselfishly agreed to be part of the show! Get ready for some family fun!!  ~ Nora Krainis

SPIRIT WEEK

To help break up the winter doldrums, we will have Spirit Week during the week leading up to March break (March 1-5) with special dress days and lunchtime activities. Below are the special dress days for the week:

  • Monday:   Pajama Day
  • Tuesday:   Mainer Day (dress in true Mainer style)
  • Wednesday:  Wacky Wednesday (crazy, mixed-up outfits) 
  • Thursday:  Team/Sports Jersey Day (NYA, outside sport/dance, or professional sports team)
  • Friday: Panther Pride (orange black)

Students who choose not to take part in the special dress must be in regular NYA dress code. 

CABIN FEVER RELIEVER ACTIVITIES

On Wednesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 4, we will offer a few “Cabin Fever Reliever” activities as after school options for the students. Students may select games, crafting, study hall, bombardment, or going home. To accommodate capacity limits in the gym, we will open bombardment for grades 7 and 8 on Wednesday and for grades 5 and 6 on Thursday. Fifth grade students will be able to join the activities when their school day ends at 3:00 on Wednesday. On Thursday, they will be dismissed early from their flex period to join in on the fun. The Middle School building will remain open and supervised until 4:00 p.m. as usual 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!  

THE PANTHER DEN, A MESSAGE FROM NYA’S ATHLETIC TRAINER

Enjoy this update from Heather Dean, NYA’s athletic trainer and K-5 PE teacher.

CONGRATULATIONS, HEATHER DEAN!

Congratulations to our athletic trainer Heather Dean for being the first Howie’s Athletic Tape #TJTuesday winner for her fabulous calf taping job! In their post, they declare “This calf athletic TJ was so good that it had to be signed.” Way to go, Heather!

SPRING SPORTS

In preparation for the spring season, students should confirm their spring activity participation with Athletic Director Kelsy Ross or Associate Director Mallory Michaeles prior to March Break. The 2021 Middle School Spring Activity offerings are Baseball, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Coed Outdoor Track and Field, and Softball. Practices will begin the afternoon of Tuesday, March 23. Students should bring clothing and all gear to be ready to practice that day. Coaches will communicate information regarding specific gear and additional updates to their team rosters in the upcoming weeks. Contact the Athletic Department via email or at 847-5456 with any questions.

GIRLS ON THE RUN

NYA is hosting a Girls on the Run (GOTR) team here on campus this spring. GOTR is open to girls in grades three through five. Each practice will focus on a topic related to the girls’ lives and include discussions, games, and a running workout. The program will follow all NYA health and safety guidelines along with new protocols within the program to ensure everyone’s safety. Lottery registration opens February 22 and the eight week program will begin April 5 with practices on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:15-4:45 p.m. Your daughter does not have to be a runner to participate; she can run, jog, walk, or skip her way to reaching her goals! To learn more about the GOTR program and to register, visit girlsontherunmaine.org. Please email Jess Smith with any questions.

UPCOMING DRESS DOWN DAYS

On Thursday, February 11, Celeste ’25 and Jessica ’23 Merrill are sponsoring a Dress Down Day with a $3 donation to support the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. Celeste and Jessica selected this worthy cause in honor of their half-brother who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and passed away after seven months. They are grateful for the support their family had from everyone at Barbara Bush during that time and would like to provide this donation in support of other families  who are going through a similar experience.  

Mrs. Gagne’s third and fourth grade class is sponsoring a Dress Down Day for Malawi, Africa on Thursday, February 18. They are asking for donations of toothbrushes and toothpaste to be sent to a village school in Malawi, The Chilanga School for the Blind. Over the past couple of years, the NYA community has provided this school with notebooks, pencils, and Croc’s. These much-needed items have been so appreciated. We would be grateful for your help in collecting these supplies so that we may continue to support their school community.

Our Kind Campus will celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17 and as a follow-up will have a Dress Down Day on February 25 to raise money for the Ben’s Bells Project, who provided kindness bells to hang throughout our campus this year. We will reciprocate the kindness with a donation to their organization.

NATIONAL LANGUAGE EXAMS AND CONTESTS

Spanish, French, and Latin language students in grades seven through twelve will take National Language Exams in the coming months. The Grand Concours will be given during the month of March, the National Latin Exam will be given before March Break, and the National Spanish Exam will take place in April. Language teachers will communicate specific details about exam dates and times in their classes. Awards will be announced in late spring. Please contact Eliot Grady, Modern & Classical Language Department Chair, with any questions. Merci, Gracias, Gratias!  ~ The Modern & Classical Language Department

Reading Challenge 2018MARCH BREAK READING CHALLENGE!

NYA will host its eighth annual March Break Photo Reading Challenge. Since most of us will be enjoying a staycation, this year’s challenge will really let your creativity shine! 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 24 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 on Friday, March 26 at Friday Forum and via newsletters. Get creative, have fun, and READ!  ~ Eliot Grady

YEARBOOKS

The NYA Yearbook is a much-loved, highly-anticipated publication. The yearbooks will be passed out to students during our last day of school, Friday, June 4, 2021. All NYA Middle and Upper School students are automatically charged for a 2021 yearbook, so you will see a $55 charge per student on your March bill. Don’t want a yearbook? No problem, just call or email Lisa McGlinn in the business office, 847-5425, and she will reverse the charge. If you choose not to purchase a yearbook for your student, please inform your child so that he or she will be prepared not to receive one on the last day of school.

UPCOMING ADMISSION EVENTS

Panther Chat Button

The NYA Admission Office is hosting a series of virtual chats for prospective Middle and Upper School families. Each chat will include a Q&A opportunity with students, faculty, and administrators. The third in the Panther Chat Series, with a focus on Middle School Life at NYA, will be held on Wednesday, February 10. Please forward and encourage your friends and neighbors to join us to learn more about an NYA education and what it might mean for their children. Families may register here. Information on other upcoming admission events can be found on the admission section of our website.

SEEKING HOMESTAY FAMILIES

NYA is always recruiting new families for its Homestay Program. If you are interested in hosting a student or learning more about the program, please contact homestay@nya.org. Here is a link to additional information about the program.  

SUMMER PROGRAMS

Registration for NYA Summer Programs is now open! NYA offers a host of summer programs for toddlers to age 15. Camps include soccer, hockey, theater, dance, circus, science, magic, and more. Camps are filling up fast, so don’t wait! To receive the early bird discount, register by April 15. Visit our website to register and learn more.

NYA PARENTS’ ASSOCIATION MORNING FORUM

The next session of NYA Parents’ Association’s Morning Forum Series, Academic Program Across Divisions, will be held on Thursday, March 4 via Zoom from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. Speakers will include Eric Austin P’15 P’17 – Head of Upper School, Marissa Markonish P’19 P’23 – Head of Lower and Middle Schools, and Alumni Speakers on the lasting impact of an NYA education. A link to the Zoom session will be sent the day before the event. Mark your calendars now!

NYA SOIRÉE: CALL FOR SPONSORS AND AUCTION ITEMS

Parents are invited to support this year’s NYA Soirée by contributing auction items or becoming an event sponsor.  Join other NYA families, friends, and alumni to help make this year’s event on Friday, May 21, 2021 a success. Your support is very important.  Kindly contact Crystal Gordon or a member of the planning committee (Katie Leinwand, Amity Jackson, Jenn Yilmaz, Jess Lynch, Jen Edwards, Carolyn Allen) if you are interested in helping.  Event details to be announced soon!

FOR YOUR PLANNING:

2/8-2/19Accepting Maine Needs Donations 
2/10Panther Chat: Middle School Life via Zoom9:30-10:30 a.m.
2/11Dress Down Day, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital$3
2/13-2/16Presidents’ Day Long WeekendNO SCHOOL
2/17Random Acts of Kindness Day 
2/18Dress Down Day, Malawitoothbrush &  toothpaste donations
2/22GOTR Lottery Opens 
2/25Dress Down Day, Ben’s Bells Project$3
3/1-3/5Spirit Week 
3/3-3/4Cabin Fever Reliever Activities 
3/4Morning Forum: Academic Program Across Divisions via Zoom8:15-9:15 a.m.
3/5Last day of classes before March Break 
3/8-3/19March BreakNO SCHOOL
3/22Classes resume 
3/23MS Spring Sports Begin 
3/24Deadline for March Break Reading Challenge submissions12:00 p.m.

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