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December 15, 2019

Dear Families,

Congratulations to our students and the Visual & Performing Arts Department for an amazing Middle School Arts night. The Priscilla Savage Middle School was adorned with some beautiful art work, strategically displayed by Mr. Cook. The musical performance was terrific and served as the perfect kick off to the holiday season. Congratulations to Mr. Cook, Mrs. Vaillancourt, Ms. Krainis, and our talented students. One additional shout-out to a man of many talents, MS Dean and Math Department Chair, Mr. Smith for directing an entertaining Middle School ukulele group. I didn’t know Mr. Smith could play the ukulele.

The Upper School Concert will be on Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the gym. All are welcome.

The Learning Commons Project is progressing well. To date, the new second floor is in, and carpenters have started framing rooms. One of the key architectural features of the project will be the new windows that will span the two levels of the space. The windows will be installed in the next two weeks, and the space will really begin to take shape. We are currently making final decisions on furnishings and finishes. Some furniture samples are on display on the second floor of Curtis for students to test and provide feedback on. Anyone is welcome to try out the new furniture. Many thanks to Hannah Renyi, parent of Emma NYA ’29 and Daniel NYA ‘32, for sharing her design expertise and assisting the school as we finalize decisions. This space will be a valuable resource for all our students, and we look forward to its official opening later this winter. All of us at NYA are deeply grateful to those who made gifts to support this project. Your investments will have a profound and lasting impact on the student experience for generations.

Our students deserve a great deal of credit for managing without the former library and lounge during construction. They have been very inventive in creating spots to meet and work throughout campus. However, I am sure they will be more than ready when the new space opens.

We are in need of homestay families for several international students who are transferring to NYA for the second semester. This is a great opportunity for enriching cultural experiences for families and the international students. To learn more about the program, including stipends for families, contact Thanks for your consideration.

Mrs. Gagne’s fourth grade ventured out of school and went back in time on a field trip on Tuesday. The class visited the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore to experience a typical school day in 1853. It was a fun way to kick off their Colonial America unit. They baked period baked goods for the journey such as biscuits, jam, and apple crisp. It was a fun and exciting trip for the students.

Mission Moment: It is the holiday season, and our students and faculty are giving back to the community in many different ways. A few examples are as follows:

  • Over Thanksgiving break, the NYA Girls Varsity Hockey Team volunteered with “Furniture Friends,” delivering furniture to those in need. Thanks to coach Navrat for organizing this experience and the team members for their support.
  • The NYA Boys Varsity Hockey Team held a Cancer Awareness night on Friday, December 6 for their game against Bridgton Academy. Former NYA soccer coach and cancer survivor, Martyn Keen, dropped the first puck. In addition to raising a lot of money for cancer, the students brought home a great 6-0 win over Bridgton. Thanks to Coach Warde and the team members for making this evening a success.
  • Students in first and second grade decorated packets of seeds and sold” Seeds of Sunshine” to support Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. It’s hard to believe Seeds of Sunshine was created five years ago! This project combines life science, art, and giving. The student seed packet designs always reflect such creativity! It is clear they enjoy selling the finished product at lunches with older students, faculty, and staff. Their pride over the ultimate donation to Camp Sunshine is always such a highlight of the school year! Students truly shine when they know what they have done for families through their own seeds of kindness. Thank you to Mrs. Gallagher for leading this event again with the first grade students.
  • Every December, the NYA Middle School Student Community Council works with Greater Portland Health to provide for our holiday families. Greater Portland Health provides health care, advocacy, education, and other support to a wide variety of people throughout the Greater Portland Area, and many of these families are in need of cold weather gear and other supplies for the winter. We are accepting donations of both new and gently used winter wear, such as coats, boots, hats and mittens, socks, and snow pants. Thank you to Ms. Powell, Ms. Sahlman, and all of our students and families for their support.

Many other students, including the Key Club, Make-a-Wish Club, and the Kiva Club are engaging in service and giving back throughout the year.

From Tori Baron, President, NYA Parents’ Association:

The Parents’ Association wrapped up their fundraisers for the fall season with two highly successful events. The Wreath Sale was a resounding success, thanks to Stacey Shuler-Cannon and her team of Deb Hilscher and Patrick Cannon. Despite a hiccup with the supplier just days before the scheduled delivery, Stacey was able to find an alternate supplier, get the wreaths picked up, and still double our profit from last year.

The NYA Craft Fair on December 7 produced an amazing array of vendors. Overall vendor feedback was that this was their best year yet at the NYA Craft Fair. Thank you to all volunteers who helped to carry tables, merchandise, and decorations for the vendors and set up and tear down.

These two events produced over $10,000 for the Parents’ Association. We thank all of you for your support, hard work, and commitment to our fundraising efforts. The success of our fundraisers enables us to continue giving money right back to NYA, including a $500 contribution to the Academy Fund. Thank you all, and safe and Happy Holidays

Thank you to the Parents’ Association and all of the above volunteers for all they do to support the school and build community here at NYA. Special thanks to Tori Baron for all of her work!

Save the Date: The Parents’ Association also hosts a series of Morning Forums throughout the school year. On Tuesday, January 21, I will lead a presentation to update our community on NYA’s strategic planning. The Forum will take place in the Middle School Community Room at 8:00 a.m. All families are welcome and encouraged to attend.

As we approach the final days of the calendar year, I hope you will consider making a gift to NYA. This may be a great year for you to realize a tax deduction while also making an impact on our students, teachers, and programs. Your support will ensure NYA continues to deliver an educational experience designed to bring out the best in each individual. Thanks to the many families who have already generously supported the Academy this year.

Upcoming Dates:

  1. Tuesday, December 17-US Concert 6:30 to 8:00 m.
  2. Thursday, December 19-Last Day of Classes
  3. Monday, December 30-Alumni Winter Sports Day
  4. Monday, January 6-Return to classes
  5. Tuesday, January 21-PA Morning Forum with the Head of School on Strategic Planning, 8:00 a.m. in the MSCR

Home athletic contests:

  • Tuesday, December 17: Coed MS Hockey v. Yarmouth 5:50 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 18: JV Boys Basketball v. Greely 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 19: Boys Varsity Basketball v Sacopee 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 19: Girls Varsity Basketball v. Sacopee 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 19: Coed MS Hockey v. Mt. Ararat 5:50 p.m.

Check the entire home and away schedule at

This will be the final Sunday letter of the calendar year. Have a great final week of the first semester. I wish your entire family a wonderful and safe holiday along with a Happy New Year!


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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