Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

October 3, 2021

Dear Families,

Just like that, the month of October is upon us. The leaves are turning and falling quickly, and we are looking forward to a busy month. October is the month of Halloween, and for those new to NYA, it is a big celebration. At NYA, Halloween will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 27. It is a pretty universal custom that everyone arrives in costume, so it is time to dig deep into your creativity and start planning. This year, we are planning a parade that welcomes families back on campus. More information on the celebrations will be coming soon in the October division newsletters.

Picture day is next Friday, October 8 with students in each grade having individual photos taken at set times between 8:00 and 1:00. This is a Dress Up Day. We could use some parent volunteers for the day. It is a very fun opportunity to see all of the students looking their best. If you are able to volunteer please reach out to Parents’ Association President, Patrick Cannon. Thank you in advance.

Homecoming week was festive with many activities happening on and off campus for students, families, alumni, faculty, and staff. Please enjoy this collection of photos from the weekend.

Upper (9:00-11:00 a.m.) and Middle (1:00-2:30 p.m.) School Grandparents’ Day is Friday, October 22. This special day for grandparents and grand-friends would not be possible without the assistance of parent volunteers. Please consider signing up to volunteer. Space is limited, and the event is for grandparents/grand-friends and students only, so volunteering is your only opportunity to see the performances! Thank you for your consideration. (Lower School Grandparents’ Day will take place on May 13, 2022.)

🔦Mission Spotlight🔦

Ms. Smith’s third and fourth grade Spanish students are participating in the Symbolic Migration Project. This special project unites children across North America through the sending of symbolic ambassador butterflies. This fall, thousands of students across Canada and the United States created symbolic Monarch butterflies that will be sent to students that live and attend school in towns outside of the Monarch butterfly winter sanctuaries in Mexico. Ms. Smith’s students worked collaboratively to create large paper butterflies that shared information about our school and state, while also sending messages of friendship and peace. This project helps unite students by building connections over the shared goals of conservation, cooperation, and ambassadorship. In the spring, they will look forward to receiving life-sized paper butterflies from participants all over the United States to coincide with the Monarch’s return journey north. Here is their website if you would like to know more.

More going on around campus:

A highlight of the week for Middle School students is X Block, a period where the students pursue some fun elective mini-courses with the faculty. Ms. Sahlman’s X block is titled “Fantastic Fungi.” The students began by watching parts of the documentary “Fantastic Fungi” to get an engaging look at the scope of mushrooms and their ability to heal and sustain life. Then they worked on identifying mushrooms by foraging for them while on a walk to Royal River Park. They took pictures and used a guide to identify the plethora of mushrooms in our community. Additional X-blocks currently offered are Capture the Flag, Chess, Civil Rights, Comics, Fiddling, Flag Football, Four-Square, and Stationery.

Kindergarten friends are enjoying the fall harvest through a study of apples. The students observed different kinds of apples and identified the variety of colors and shades. They dissected an apple and labeled all the parts. Along with sequencing activities, singing songs, and reading books about apple seeds and trees, the children have especially enjoyed getting creative by making apple print art. Our Kindergarten friends finished up this science unit with a little apple celebration where they taste tested different apple treats and graphed their favorites as a class. Happy fall!

The fall athletic season continues to move forward. NYA girls soccer met Yarmouth this past Tuesday. This was a thrilling and entertaining match-up between two very talented teams, ending in a 1-1 tie. Golf finished third at the WMC meet last week and are competing in the State Tournament on Saturday, November 9. Cross country competed in Belfast on Saturday at the Festival of Champions. Field hockey, boys soccer, and volleyball are also enjoying strong seasons. The week of October 4 will be NYA Athletics’ inaugural Cancer Awareness Week. The teams will be raising awareness during their contests and raising money for the American Cancer Society with a whole school Dress Down Day on Wednesday, October 6, $3.

October is a busy month for the College Counseling Office. Seniors have been busy meeting with Gretchen Bergill, NYA’s new Director of College Counseling, as they work to polish their college applications, finalize teacher recommendation requests, and prepare for additional standardized testing. Gretchen has just returned from the annual conference of the National Association of College Admission Counseling where she heard several nationally known speakers, participated in educational sessions, and met with college admissions officers and college counseling colleagues to discuss changes and trends in the college search, application, and choice processes. For the first time since the winter of 2020 college admission representatives are back visiting campus. Each fall, the NYA college counseling office welcomes close to 100 college reps to campus. Although at least one happy senior has already received multiple offers of admission, most seniors will not file any applications prior to October 15 or November 1. Parents and guardians are welcome to reach out to Ms. Bergill with any questions.

Looking ahead, the PSAT will be administered to juniors and sophomores on Wednesday, October 13. Those students have all received the PSAT informational booklet which they may use to prepare for the test. SAT and ACT testing is not offered on campus, but interested students can check with Ms. Bergill for information on how to register for testing at nearby schools.

This week the seventh and eighth grade classes will embark on their experiential education trips.  Here are some important reminders:

  • Seventh Grade:  Kieve Leadership School 
    • Monday, October 4
      • Arrive by 7:45 a.m. at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena so we can leave at 8:00 a.m. sharp.
      • Pick up at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena at 5:15 p.m.
    • Tuesday, October 5
      • Arrive by 7:45 a.m. at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena so we can leave at 8:00 a.m. sharp.
      • Pick up at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena at 2:15 p.m.
  • Eighth Grade:  Rippleffect
    • Monday, October 4
      • Arrive by 7:45 a.m. at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena so we can leave at 8:00 a.m. sharp.
      • Pick up at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena at 5:15 p.m.
    • Tuesday, October 5
      • Arrive by 7:45 a.m. at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena so we can leave at 8:00 a.m. sharp.
      • Pick up at NYA’s Travis Roy Arena at 2:15 p.m.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday through Tuesday, October 4-5: Grades 7 and 8 Experiential Trips
  • Wednesday, October 6: Dress Down Day for American Cancer Society, $3
  • Friday, October 8: Picture Day, Dress Up Day
  • Monday, October 11: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, No School
  • Friday, October 22: Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day, Dress Up Day
  • Wednesday, October 27: NYA Halloween Festivities
  • Thursday through Friday, October 28-29: Parent Teacher Conferences, No School

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.

Next week, there will be no Sunday letter due to the long weekend. Division newsletters will be sent on Sunday, October 17.

Be sure to check out my Instagram.

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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