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September 27, 2020

Dear Families,

The competitive athletic season finally kicked off for the Upper School with competitions in co-ed golf against Yarmouth and St. Dominic’s Academy. Girls soccer hosted Cheverus in a scrimmage. Girls and boys soccer were also on the turf vs. Waynflete at home, and the boys and girls cross country teams competed at Greely. It is great to see the activity on the fields and the student-athletes competing. Spectators are not permitted at games for now. Our Fall 2020 Spectator Policy can be seen here. We are livestreaming most home games on Facebook Live. You may follow the NYA Athletics Facebook page for access to the events. While volleyball and field hockey will not be participating in interscholastic competition this fall, the teams are working out, outdoors, per state guidelines, in order to maintain skills and team traditions. Middle School sports are training in cross country, tennis, field hockey, and soccer with an intramural schedule, as well. Good luck in the upcoming season, and Go Panthers!

NYA’s Homecoming was originally scheduled for this weekend. Come Home to NYA is a weekend that involves the entire school for fun events, a cookout, and support of Panther athletics. We also welcome alumni back to campus. While we couldn’t enjoy these traditional homecoming activities this year, we did host a couple of important events this weekend:

  • During an intimate gathering on Friday, we dedicated the Bicentennial Learning Commons and thanked the generous donors and volunteers who made this modern, new facility a reality for NYA. In total, 108 families contributed nearly $1 million to the Bicentennial Learning Commons. The name, selected by the lead donors, celebrates the 200+ year history of the Academy.The outdoor terrace was also recently completed by Coastal Landscaping and will transform the quad into a hub of activity on campus.
  • The 18th Annual Steve Morris Golf Tournament was held on Saturday at Falmouth Country Club with a record number of golfers. The tournament honors longtime NYA teacher and coach, Steve Morris, who taught at NYA from 1972 until he died of cancer in 2002. He is revered by generations of NYA teachers and students, and his legacy lives on through a need-based scholarship in his name. Currently, five boys and five girls in grades 8-12 are recipients of a Steve Morris Scholarship, and over the last 10 years, 35 students have received grants. Thanks to all of the sponsors and those who participated in the tournament. It was a fun and impactful day for NYA.

While it is a challenging and stressful time for all, there are still a lot of great things going on at the Academy in the classrooms, in the studio, on stage, and on the field of play. Each week, I will feature one of these stories with my new On the Bright Side feature.

On The Bright Side:

We are excited to announce that NYA is an officially recognized Kind Campus with the Ben’s Bells Project. By doing so, we are the easternmost Kind Campus in the United States. This program embodies our NYA Community Value of compassion. The Kind Campus Program includes individual, classroom, and school-wide exercises in practicing kindness recognition and intentional kindness toward oneself and others. The activities build community and connection among students, teachers, staff, and families, and it is intended to be embedded into the daily routines of school, becoming a “way of life” for our campus community. Be Kind is the motto of the program, and it is imprinted on bells, posters, t-shirts, coins, stickers, and necklaces as visual reminders to practice intentional kindness. The more teachers, families, and other adult role models integrate intentional kindness practices as a “way of life,” the more profound learning opportunities will be. Please join us in practicing kindness and spreading the word to be kind.

After learning about what it means to be a Kind Campus, the third and fourth graders in Mrs. Gagne’s class were inspired to spread kindness throughout NYA. The class painted kindness rocks and left them all around campus for fellow Panthers to find. Each day, two students are selected to be the class Kindness Ambassadors. Their role is to encourage and motivate others to practice kindness. At the end of each day, the class discusses the wonderful acts of kindness that they each experienced. This endeavor is incredibly uplifting for all.

In addition to learning lessons of resiliency during these challenging times, another silver lining has been the lessons in empathy and understanding. I am confident that the work of the Kind Club will help build on these important lessons.

You may have seen groups of seventh grade students in waders crossing Main Street this week. The students were on their way to the Royal River to study marine life and gather specimens for their Royal River Projects. This is a terrific collaborative opportunity for Mrs. Barschdorf’s students. The students study the ecosystems and life in the Royal River and then prepare multi-media presentations to adult audiences. It is an amazing project that combines many skills.

In eighth grade science, Mrs. Sahlman’s students are learning about variables, control groups, and writing a good hypothesis. Students used Alka-Seltzer tablets to test these variables and create an experiment with various liquids like water, warm water, salt water, and vinegar.

Several Lower School classes continue to follow the excitement of the chrysalis. We are looking forward to seeing the entire transformation.

NYA Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled for October 29-30. Additional information on scheduling conferences will be forthcoming in a few weeks.

If your student missed picture day, we are holding a makeup session on Thursday, October 1 from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. School pictures will soon be up on NYA’s SmugMug Page: Our password is: NYApanthers. We plan to add photos of school events, athletics, and student life to our SmugMug page on a regular basis, so please check back often.

This Friday will be a Dress Down Day to celebrate our first four weeks back in school!

Have a great week!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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