Middle School Newsletter for January 23, 2022

Happy New Year! We are delighted to be back in action and settling into the second semester. We have several months of winter still ahead of us, but it won’t be too long before we start thinking about March break and then moving on to spring. Winter sports and drama are now well underway, and students are enjoying their time on the courts, the ice, and the stage. In the classroom, students are embarking on new projects and topics of study and setting new goals for the semester ahead.

Each year at this time, we encourage students to stop and reflect on their role as members of the NYA community. We ask our students to stretch themselves academically, artistically, and athletically and to strive to be the best version of themselves. In no place is this more important than in the role of classmate and friend. The middle school years can put a great deal of stress on students with the increase in academic demands, physical growth and changes, and seemingly ever-changing social landscape. As we work together to maintain a safe, positive learning environment for all, it is important to take time and really focus on kindness, acceptance, and support. It can be all too easy, especially at this age, to fall prey to the temptation to tease our peers and put one another down. When this happens, we ask students to pause and reflect on their actions and the impact that those actions have on those around us. We also take time to applaud the positive choices that students make every day. A wonderful aspiration for the new year would be to ask ourselves each day, “What can I do to make today a little better for someone else?”

Marissa Markonish
Head of Lower and Middle Schools


Friday, February 4 will be an early release day to allow faculty and staff time for professional development meetings. School will run from 8:00-11:30 a.m. with a special class schedule. We will have morning snack, but lunch will not be served. Students should be picked up at 11:30 a.m. Activity schedules for Winter Drama and Varsity Hockey will be communicated by directors/coaches.


It will soon be time to start thinking about the eighth grade transition to Upper School! Each January, parents of eighth grade students are encouraged 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. Contact Eric to arrange a Zoom meeting.


Congratulations to our students who performed as part of the District II Instrumental Music Festival on Saturday! These students were accepted through auditions in the Fall. They spent the day rehearsing with their groups at Oxford Hills High School, and the festival culminated in a live streamed concert.

NYA’s District II Instrumental Festival Participants:
High School Band: Hans-Erik Jerosch, horn; Fynn MacCarthy, trombone; Leif MacCarthy, trombone
High School Orchestra: Genevieve Vaillancourt, viola; Madeleine Vaillancourt, cello; Jack Byrne, cello
Middle School Band: Hadley Smith, clarinet; Maia Barschdorf, clarinet; Ivy Birney, trombone
Middle School Orchestra: Jackson Bartick, violin; Nathan McGillicuddy, cello


Congratulations to our honors vocal students who will perform as part of the District II Vocal Music Festival on Saturday, January 29. These students were accepted through auditions in the Fall. They will spend the day rehearsing with their groups at Windham High School, and the festival will culminate in a live-streamed concert.

NYA’s District II Vocal Festival Participants:
High School Mixed Chorus: Madeleine Vaillancourt
High School Treble Chorus: Emma Gagnon & Caitlin Michaelis
Middle School Chorus: Ivy Birney


HONK! is coming to NYA! The NYA Drama Team, consisting of students in grades 6-12, is hard at work putting together this heart-warming adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling.” The musical, written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and first performed in England in 1993, has become a favorite theater production. Shows are tentatively scheduled in Safford Center for February 10-12. Watch for more information on tickets as we get closer to the event!


Although the last couple of weeks have included a handful of adjustments to our Winter Activity schedules, we continue to relish in having our students engaged in winter season competition. Their fortitude, energy, and passion for representing our community are inspiring. Thank you for supporting them along the way!

As we look to the remaining month of the season, please review the COVID Return to Play Protocols for any student-athlete who tests positive. These protocols were previously recommended and are now a requirement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They take the cardiac complications associated with some COVID cases into consideration and are in the best interest of our student-athletes’ health and safety. We are seeing an increase in COVID cases among our activity groups. This puts in-person gatherings and interscholastic competition at risk. In order to finish out the winter season successfully, please remember that if a student feels ill, they should NOT attend school or school activities until they are symptom-free. Your cooperation and commitment to our community health and safety is of great importance as we work to represent NYA for the remainder of the winter season. Feeling ill? Stay at home!

Any questions can be directed to Athletic Director, Kelsy Ross. Go Panthers!


Yearbooks are automatically ordered for all Middle School students, and charged to their student account. If you do not want your student to receive a yearbook, please reach out to Yearbook Advisor Sara Jaffe  no later than Friday, February 11 in order to cancel the order.


The admission office has several upcoming events for families looking to learn more about NYA.

Lower School Live, on Wednesday, January 26 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., is designed for parents interested in the Lower School. Parents will meet virtually with Marissa Markonish and Leslie Durgin to learn more about our Lower School curriculum and to ask specific questions about the program. Interested parents can also arrange for a virtual observation to see our classrooms in action.

A Virtual Panther Chat about Middle School Life is scheduled for February 16, and a chat about Upper School Life will be held on March 2. Each Panther Chat will include a Q&A opportunity with students, faculty, and administrators.

More details for all admission events can be found on our website. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to join us to learn more about an NYA education and what it might mean for their children.


Save the date–Friday, June 3, 2022, for the annual NYA Soirée. You will not want to miss this great evening of entertainment, camaraderie, and support for NYA. Please plan to join parents, alumni, grandparents, faculty, and friends under the event tent on the NYA campus.

If you are interested in getting involved, please email Crystal Gordon. Specifically, we are looking for event organizers to serve on a committee with other parents to help with event logistics, secure donated items for the silent and live auctions, and assist with corporate sponsorships. We’d love your support to ensure this event is a success!


1/27Dress Down Day (TeamSeas)$3
2/2Dress Down Day (Children of Peace International)$3
2/4Early Release Day for Professional Development Meetings11:30 a.m.
2/10Dress Down Day (Chilanga School for the Blind)$3
2/10-2/12HONK! Musical Shows (TBD)
2/16Dress Down Day (Kiva Club)$3
2/19-2/22Presidents’ Day Long WeekendNO SCHOOL
2/24Dress Down Day (WinterKids)$3
3/4Last Day of Classes before Spring Break


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