Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

September 19, 2021

Dear Families,

We are just completing a wild and entertaining homecoming weekend. It was a fun week for all of the students and successful on the field of play for the Panthers. All week, there were a variety of spirit themed Dress Down Days for Lower, Middle, and Upper School students, beginning with the favorite: pajama day. It was great to see so many of our families at the all-school cookout on Friday and all students from Lower through Upper School took full advantage of the obstacle course. The Panthers had a great deal of success on the soccer field, field hockey field, and volleyball court. The cross country team also was out on the course. Thanks to all who came out to cheer on the Panthers. The events culminated with an Upper School dance under the tent on the Curtis Lawn.

On Friday, there were two new inductions into the NYA Edgar F. White ’38 Athletic Hall of Fame during our Friday Forum ceremony. The inductees included Serrene Karkos Gagnon, NYA ’85. Serrene was a four-year standout athlete on the varsity field hockey, basketball, and softball teams. After her decorated NYA career, she went on to compete in both softball and field hockey at the University of Maine – Farmington. She later returned to NYA as a coach and member of the faculty from 1991-1997. Also inducted to the Edgar F. White ’38 Athletic Hall of Fame was our mascot, the NYA Panther. This year marks the 70th anniversary as the Panther mascot. Dave Tamminen, NYA ’52, who coined the mascot name when writing for the NYA school newspaper, was on hand to recognize the Panther.

In conjunction with Come Home to NYA festivities, an alumni lunch was held on the Curtis front lawn following the Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony. We welcomed many alums, including George Stone, NYA ’41, who was celebrating his 80th reunion at NYA! George is a WWII veteran who landed in Normandy during the war. After a career in construction, he retired to Vermont. It was great to have George and so many other NYA alumni join us.

The Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament was held on Saturday at Toddy Brook Golf Course. As always, it was a fun event with some great competition and 50 golfers on the course. The event raises money for the Steve Morris Scholarships. Ten students receive these scholarships on an annual basis. Steve Morris was a long-time faculty member, administrator, and coach at NYA. Steve worked here beginning in 1972 after graduating from college, until he passed away from cancer in 2002. Steve “Mo” Morris was beloved by students and colleagues. The event raised over $10,000 for the fund, which now has an endowment of over $100,000.

Mission Moment
Each week in my Sunday letter, I will highlight something going on around campus that exemplifies the mission of the school. This week’s mission moment is the Lower School celebration of International Peace Day. Lower School students will celebrate the International Day of Peace on Tuesday, September 21, by visiting NYA’s Peace Poles, creating and planting Pinwheels for Peace, and enjoying the song Sing Peace Around the World. With the inspiration from teachers Ellen Gagne (fourth grade) and Shannon Gallagher (first grade), NYA students created peace poles in 2016. The goal of the Peace Pole project was to create a visual reminder to act, think, and speak in the spirit of peace and to build school community through this collaborative project. The poles are beautiful and located outside of the Merrill Family Lower School.

On Monday, Upper School students will embark on some experiential trips. Each grade will go to a different AMC Hut in the White Mountains for an opportunity to spend time with nature and bond as a class. The trips are as follows:

  • Ninth – Lonesome Lake Hut
  • Tenth – Galehead Hut
  • Eleventh – Madison Springs Hut
  • Twelfth – Joe Dodge Lodge

Join us for the New Parent Reception on Tuesday, September 21, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. under the tent on the front lawn of Curtis. This is event is designed to welcome new families, but all families are invited and encouraged to attend to welcome our newest families to the school. Stop by and meet other NYA parents and learn how to get involved while enjoying appetizers and cocktails. This event is open to all NYA parents/guardians who are interested in learning more about NYA today.

Upper and Middle School Grandparents’ Day 2021

To maintain the safety of the community while welcoming grandparents and grandfriends to campus, we plan to hold Upper and Middle School Grandparents’ Day on campus under an event tent on Denney Field on Friday, October 22, 2021. Upper School grandparents will be hosted in the morning (9:00-11:00 a.m.) and Middle School grandparents will attend in the afternoon (1:00-2:30 p.m.). At each event, there will be performances by student musicians, refreshments, opportunities to meet teachers and connect with grandchildren. There will be no classroom visits, but we plan to showcase academics during both events. Grandparents with grandchildren in both the Middle and Upper School are welcome to attend both events. Please help us ensure your child’s grandparent or grandfriend is invited to this fun, memorable gathering by completing the grandparent information form here.  Lower School Grandparents’ Day is planned for Friday, May 13.

Up-to-date COVID information and communications can be found on our  COVID Information webpage. Also on this page is a link to COVID FAQ’s. This page is designed to help answer commonly asked questions and clarify terms like “pooled testing” and “close contacts.” Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

We have started 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


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