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October 24, 2021

Dear Families,

Grandparents’ Day returned last week after a COVID hiatus last year. It was great to have all of these visitors on campus! NYA welcomed over 250 Middle and Upper School grandparents and guests to campus. The Development Office organized a fantastic, COVID safe event for our guests. A large, heated tent was erected on Denney Field, and we split the schedule, hosting Upper School in the morning and Middle School in the afternoon. Mr. Austin, Ms. Markonish, and I shared some remarks, followed by musical performances. The Upper School schedule included senior speeches by two students and the Middle School guests enjoyed a science demo from Ms. Barschdorf’s students. Both events included a video of action in the classrooms, as this year’s event did not include class visits. It was great to have grandparents on campus, and I hope they all enjoyed themselves. Lower School Grandparents Day will take place on May 13, so please save the date!

Perhaps because NYA’s colors are black and orange, or maybe just because our community likes to dress up and get free candy, Halloween is a big tradition at NYA! This year’s celebration will be held on Wednesday, October 27 with students, faculty, and staff decked out in costume. Each division will share information about the various activities happening throughout the day. We are also excited to welcome back families for the All School Halloween Parade to be held from 12:30 to 1:10 p.m. on the Curtis Front Lawn. We hope to see you at the parade!

Another Halloween tradition for students and faculty is the pumpkin carving activity. This event is organized by the NYA Executive Council and supports Camp Sunshine. The carved creations are delivered to L.L.Bean in Freeport and put on display as part of the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival. Freeport was lit up with thousands of pumpkins on Friday, October 23. The jack-o-lanterns are, in turn, sold to the public with proceeds supporting Camp Sunshine, a camp for children and families with life threatening illnesses. The pumpkins are beautiful to see, and it was fun trying to find the many NYA pumpkins throughout town.

The Make-a-Wish Club took advantage of the Grandparents’ Day tent to host a movie night for all three divisions. The Lower School movie night began at 4:00 p.m., Middle School at 5:15 p.m., and the Upper School movie went later into the evening. Snacks were served and fun was had by all!

We are excited about playoff games scheduled for this coming week:

  • Boys Varsity Soccer, Tuesday, October 26 versus Buckfield at 3:00 p.m. at NYA’s Lewis Turf Field (finished as the Class D South #3 seed)
  • Field Hockey, Wednesday, October 27 versus Lisbon at 2:00 p.m. at NYA’s Lewis Turf Field (finished as the Class C South #3 seed)
  • Girls Varsity Soccer, Wednesday, October 27 versus TBD at 3:45 p.m. at NYA’s Lewis Turf Field (finished as the Class D South #1 seed)
  • Cross Country ran in the regional meet yesterday at Twin Brook.

Full tournament brackets can be found here.  🐾 GO PANTHERS! 🐾

Folks can still purchase the NYA logo masks from the athletic office ($7 each or 3 for $18).

🔦Mission Spotlight🔦

In the Upper School elective, Brain Training and Resilience, students examine several areas with an eye toward high performance and mental and physical resilience. They learn several techniques including mindfulness, breathing, and movement to achieve these goals. Recently, the students investigated the cause of stress and anxiety and how to manage it in their lives.

In Middle School, Ms. Buehner’s fifth grade students learned about the scientific method and tested it through the creation of some high flying paper airplanes. These creations could be seen taking flight in the Grizzy Quad.

More going on in the Lower School:

      • The Toddler, Primary, and Kindergarten classes have been learning all about pumpkins! They dissected them, collected, cleaned, and roasted the seeds. They have also read Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Fence. They culminated their pumpkin activities by carving jack-o’-lanterns for Camp Sunshine.
      • Ms. Trahan’s second grade students followed a lesson on carrying over in multi-digit addition by teaching their parents how to do it at home.
      • During their weekly teambuilding sessions, Ms. Gagne and Mr. E’s students read How to Catch a Monster and then designed their own monster trap out of recycled materials.
      • Mr. E and Ms. Gagne’s third and fourth classes have also enjoyed some field trips. They visited the Trolls at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. The students also visited the animals at Pineland and took a turn through the corn maze.

NYA is hosting an Open House for prospective Middle and Upper School Families on Sunday, November 7. The event begins at 1:00 p.m., under the tent, in front of Curtis. Current families are NYA’s best admission ambassadors, so please encourage your friends and neighbors to take a look at NYA. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet current students, faculty, and administrators, and learn more about NYA’s program. There will also be an opportunity for school tours. Feel free to forward this link with details to anyone who might be interested in attending.

As shared in the division newsletters, the Parents’ Association (PA) has kicked off its annual wreath sale. The volunteers in the NYA Parents’ Association do great work to support school events, build community, and raise funds to support school programs. Funds raised from the wreath sale directly support PA grants for faculty, staff, and students. This year the wreaths can be directly shipped to you or to someone as a gift. For more details and to order go to

Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, October 28 to Friday October 29. You should have received sign up information in an email from our Technology Department earlier this week. There is no school scheduled for Thursday, October 28 or Friday, October 29.  I hope the year is off to a strong start.

We continue to add photos to our NYA SmugMug page. Take a look from time to time to see photos of familiar faces and activities at NYA! Our page is, and our password is NYApanthers – our password is case sensitive. Photos are available to download or purchase through SmugMug. If you have questions, contact Kristi Belesca, NYA Marketing & Communications.

Be sure to check out my Instagram.

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


Facebook – North Yarmouth Academy Page, NYA Parents’ Association Group, NYA Athletics Page (for livestreams of home contests)
YouTube – North Yarmouth Academy
Twitter – @NYAToday
Twitter -Athletics – @NYAPanther
Flickr – nyatoday
Instagram – Ben Jackson HOS, North Yarmouth Academy, NYAartists
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