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April 21, 2019

Dear Families,

We hope you can join the NYA community on Friday for the annual Soirée at Halo at the Point at Thompson’s Point in Portland.  It’s not too late to register online. We will have a live auction, games, raffles, dinner, and dancing. It is sure to be a fun night, and you don’t want to miss it! Most importantly, the evening supports NYA’s most valuable resource, our students! For questions, please contact Crystal Gordon at or 207-847-5401.

In addition to games and a live auction, we will designate funds specifically to STEM programming. This year’s paddle raise will support our efforts to bring STEM at NYA to the next level. Funds raised will support new courses in all divisions, enhance our facilities and technology resources, and add a “STEM Champion” to the faculty. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Lower School Grandparents’ Day is just two weeks away. The event will be held from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 10. This is a wonderful opportunity for grandparents or “grandfriends” to come to campus. There will be classes to visit, performances, and a dessert and tea social. This is always a fun day for all in attendance. Grandparents should RSVP online. Parents who are interested in being a part of the day can do so by volunteering. Contact Crystal Gordon at for more information.

It was another fabulous spring choral concert on Friday night at the Yarmouth Performing Arts Center. The performance, featuring ensembles from grades 6-12, was an amazing success. Thanks to the students and to Nora Krainis for her efforts to prepare them. I hope you were able to attend, but if not, there is still time to see some great performances in action. We are just in the middle of the spring concert series. The dates are as follows:

  • Spring Strings Concert (grades 3-12):  Tuesday, April 23, 6:30 p.m., Safford Center
  • Spring Instrumental Concert:  Thursday, April 25, 6:30 p.m., gym
  • Fifth Grade Arts Night:  Thursday, May 2, 6:00 p.m., Higgins Hall

Also, look for individual performances of our students scheduled periodically throughout April and May in Higgins Hall.

Mission Spotlight 

On Friday, April 12, the sixth graders held the annual Geo Expo. This year’s focus was the Middle East. The students integrated many different types of technology into their presentations and utilized the innovation lab, with the assistance of Chris Mazzurco, Dave Gagne, and T-Mac. The students took a multi-disciplinary approach to these amazingly creative presentations. Following the presentations, students and their guests partook in an authentic Middle Eastern feast. The students did an exceptional job under the expert guidance of Ms. Grady and Ms. Ackley.

Examples of their work using technology and other tools include:

  • Audible to make a podcast about life in Pakistan, in which students interviewed Alaina Rauf ‘21
  • PowerPoint and Sway for topics ranging from Middle East Archaeology to the Contributions of the Middle East to the World
  • Green screen technology to create a newscast on current issues in the Middle East, such as accessibility to clean water and the draining and regrowth of the Arab Marsh
  • Clay imaginary creatures that could adapt to a national park in Pakistan
  • Ekphrastic poems inspired by contemporary art work from the Middle East
  • Charts and graphs displaying unemployment and literacy rates in the region

All of this was done so students could learn that, despite what they may read in the news, there are actually many positive things happening in that part of the world.

April is National Poetry Month. Teachers in all departments have been promoting poetry throughout the month. Middle and Upper School students are competing in Poetry Out Loud competitions in English classes. Poems have been shared regularly at Friday Forum, and Tuesday, April 23 marks Poem in Your Pocket Day. During this day, students are asked to select a poem that is special to them, write it on a piece of paper, place it in their pocket, and share with others throughout the day. Lower School students will visit other classrooms on campus to share their poems and will also share their poems during Friday Forum. Poem in Your Pocket Day is just two days away – you too can participate!

Congratulations to NYA Mathletes! NYA sent ten mathletes to the Maine State Math Meet on Tuesday, April 2, and the NYA team finished first in their division. Congratulations to the students and Ms. Hackleman for the NYA Math Team’s success.

The NYA Parents’ Association is sponsoring an interactive conversation entitled Student Anxiety – What Can Parents Do? on Tuesday, April 30 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room. This event will feature a panel of speakers to discuss and answer questions about recognizing anxiety triggers, developing coping skills, and strategies for parents to manage anxiety at school. Panel members include:

  • Susan E Gaudet – Dragonfly Wellness, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, RYT, R-HYI
  • Suzanne Laberge – Expressive Art & Play Therapy Studio, LCPC, REAT
  • Noah Dorius – Counselor, LCPC-C
  • David Bidler – The Distance Project, ACE certified personal trainer

Coffee and snacks will be provided by the NYA Parents’ Association Board. This event is open to the public, so bring a friend or two.

While the weather has been slow to cooperate, the spring sports season is well underway. Middle School students are competing in lacrosse, softball, and track. Upper School students are competing in lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis, and track. All teams have held their opening contests and there are plenty more on the schedule. Check out the  athletic schedules and come support the Panthers.

Have a great week!

Ben Jackson 
Head of School


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