Upper School Newsletter for December 18, 2016

Again this year, the Upper and Middle Schools have taken on the tradition of “Holiday Families.”  This effort is led by Karen Messick at the Middle School. Upper School advisory groups have taken on the task of providing gifts for two families. The first is a Muslim family that recently immigrated to the United States. Because they are not Christian, packages will be wrapped in brown paper. It is clear, though, that the family is in significant need. The second family only recently left the shelter to be on its own, consisting of a mother and her two young boys. Clearly, they also are in significant need.

This spirit of giving each year energizes the Make-A-Wish Club. Almost every year the club raises $6,000 to provide a wish for a young person in Maine with terminal health problems. Members of the hockey team held a Black [and Orange] Clinic for young hockey players, raising over $1,000.  With this success, the club is approximately $500 from being able to grant a wish.holiday-family-wrapping-2016-28-resize

I had the good fortune on Wednesday of last week to meet with a senior art student in front a piece of her art work that was recently hung in the Curtis winter-exhibit-2016-9-resizeGallery. I was “taken” by this piece and was hoping she would give me a bit of a tour. She explained why she chose the subject and the sketches, phrases, and ideas noted on the edges. It was a wonderful experience crawling through an artist’s brain as she winter-exhibit-2016-4-resizedescribed and deconstructed her work. I encourage you to take a slow walk through the Curtis Gallery when school reopens in January and look closely at the pieces that catch your eye. You too may be able to invite an artist to a conversation about a piece. It is certainly worth the time.

I wish a restful and joyful winter break for all members of the NYA community. Fill it with relaxation, laughter, and love.

Mr. Drisko/John Drisko
Assistant Head of School & Head of the Upper School


Report cards and comments are scheduled to be emailed to parents on Friday, January 6. This process sometimes is bogged down by technological roadblocks. If that date changes, we will notify parents via email.


The Upper School looks forward next August to welcoming members of the Class of 2021! We want to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Parents of children of eighth graders are invited to set up a time for a Transition Meeting with John Drisko, Head of Upper School and Assistant Head of School. These meetings offer the opportunity for parents to hear more about what to expect as students transition to the Upper School. Parents will be able to see a sample schedule, receive a curriculum overview, and ask questions. Parents may sign up for a meeting time here. If the available times do not work with your schedule, please contact Carol Harris to arrange another time. I look forward to talking with you!


On Tuesday January 3 – our first day back from the break – we will host our annual College Kick Off Program for Juniors. The program will take place in the Middle School Community Room from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. We invite between 10 and 15 recent NYA alums to come back to share their experiences with the college search and application process with you. This is a valuable opportunity to learn from fellow NYA students who just navigated this process during the last couple of years. We will ask that each of you come prepared that day to ask at least one question to the alums.  It can be about anything relating to the college search or application process or have more to do with what their experiences are like so far in college.

For juniors and their parents:  Monday January 23 from 6:30-8:00 pm is College Planning Night for Juniors and their Parents. This program will feature guest speaker Gail Berson, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions at Mount Holyoke College, who will discuss what students and parents can expect from the college search and application process as it unfolds. Attendance is required for juniors, and we are hopeful that all parents will be able to attend. We will meet in the Middle School Community Room.

WINTER CONCERT!13-winterconcertus2016-7

On Tuesday of last week, many students performed at the annual Winter Concert for the Upper School. It included a very diverse set of ensembles and music. Groups included Wind Ensemble, Strings, Jazz Band, Bluegrass, Steel Band, Chorus, Treble Choir, Varsity Singers, and an acapella group that began the show with a Pentatonix version of silent night. The five NYA singers, however consisted of four females and one male, an inversion of the Pentatonix ratio. The program also included a great version of In the Bleak Midwinter by the Wind Ensemble, Fever by the Treble Choir with many different solos, a traditional Dave Brubeck song, Take Five by the Jazz Band, an atonal Bartok piece by Strings, and culminating with the theme from Mission Impossible by the Steel Band. Congratulations to all the student-musicians who participated and to Ian Ramsey, Nora Krainis, and Linda Vaillancourt for a superb concert.


Last Thursday, Mrs. Adams took the Profiles of Engineering class on a field trip to the Acadia Recording Studio in Portland. Students were treated to elements of Audio Engineering, Acoustic Engineering, and a little of Mastering Engineering. They had the opportunity to tour the studio and were introduced to one of the few analogue recording equipment ensembles in the country. Todd Hutchisen, a good friend of Mr. Ramsey’s, gave them an exceptional tour. Parker Elkins remarked that it was amazing to actually hear the lowest note that a human ear can detect!


sick-childIf your child is sick, please have them STAY HOME for the benefit of their health and the health of the school community. Indicators for staying home: vomiting or being too nauseated to eat breakfast; a throat so sore it hurts to swallow; a temperature of 100° or higher; incessant coughing or nose blowing; a pounding, blinding headache; utter exhaustion or aching all over. To return to school, the symptoms listed should be significantly decreased, if not resolved, AND the child should be fever free without use of Advil/Tylenol for 24 hours.

If you are wondering whether you have a cold or the flu, please click here.

A reminder that students are not permitted to possess any medication, over-the-counter or prescription, at school. If a student requires medication during school hours, please contact the school nurse.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ashley Moody.


As a reminder, Alex Kloza (Ice Arena Manager) and Caroline Anson (Alumni Relations) have arranged for a series of open skates for alumni and families. Families are also invited to bring friends and neighbors.  Open skate dates are as follows:

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Caroline Anson. HELMETS ARE REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE ON THE ICE. No sticks, please.


1/3/2017 Classes resume on Tuesday, January 3; Second Semester begins
1/3/2017 College Kickoff for Juniors:  2:00 – 4:00
1/5/2017 Recital: Suzanna Butterfield and Jazz Combo 6:30 Higgins
1/13/2017 Senior Speeches:  Cam Woods and Isabelle See 10:15 Gym
1/14/2017 NYA Family Friends and Alumni Open Skate 5:30-6:30
1/16/2017 No School: Martin Luther King Day observed
1/20/2017 Senior Speeches: Jack Kostelnik, Maddy Rand, Jake Malcom 10:15 Gym