Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

May 19, 2019

Dear Families,

Last week, we had over 125 guests on campus for Lower School Grandparents’ Day. I am happy to share a selection of images from our time together. Thank you to all who helped to make this day special!

On Monday, May 20, I am turning my office over to Will (Grade 3) and Lucy (Grade 1) Lorenz, who will serve as Heads of School for the Day. They earned that right during a 2018 Soirée raffle. Although there will be plenty of learning taking place, there will also be plenty of fun. They are planning to greet all students with donuts, have a favorite sports team themed dress down day, an all-school dance party, and more. I am looking forward to the day off!

Last Wednesday and Thursday, Aidan Yilmaz, Jack Schaeffer, Andrew Schaeffer, Hongwei He, Abby King, Emma Collins, Alex Braunfels, and Aidan Lacombe attended the Maine Model UN Conference at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. The students act as delegates from real countries and serve on various committees, tackling problems from the real world such as fake news and democracy, human rights and journalism, and a simulated crisis involving violence in Myanmar. They represented Bhutan, Israel, and Poland. Senior Aidan Yilmaz was named the Distinguished Delegate for the General Assembly, an honor given to only one of the more than 160 members of that body. Each member of the Model UN team worked collaboratively with students from more than 20 high schools to draft resolutions, debate the details, and pass possible solutions for the issues. Thanks to Dr. Sengupta and Mr. Gagne for chaperoning and congratulations to Aidan and the rest of the NYA team.

Congratulations to the NYA Boys and Girls Track Teams for winning the Maine Association of Independent School Athletic Directors (MAISAD) Championships this year. NYA has won many MAISAD boys and girls titles over the years, but this is the first time since 2009 that both the boys and girls teams took home the championship in the same year. The team wins included many individual ribbons. The championship plaque is on display in the Curtis Building. Again, congratulations to the team.

The NYA Parents’ Association made a $10,000 donation to the new turf field project to take advantage of the generous leadership gift and matching grant made by Nick and Jessie Alberding. We hope others in the NYA community are inspired to get involved and support this important project, which will make a positive impact on student-athletes, student recreational activity, and the spectator experience for our fans and thousands of others who visit our campus annually. For more information on this project, contact Director of Development Jennifer Richard. The NYA Parents’ Association is deeply grateful to all who help support the booth at Clam Festival, wreaths sales in the fall, and the NYA Craft Fair in December. The continued success of these fundraisers made this donation possible. Thank you!

It was great to see everyone on Thursday at Lower School’s “Popsicles on the Playground” event. There was a great crowd and even a little sun to make the popsicles all the more refreshing. There are still a couple of weeks left in the year, but this annual event welcomes new students in advance of the 2019-2020 school year. Welcome to all of our new Lower School families. Thank you to the admission office for organizing this event.

Mrs. Gagne’s third and fourth grade students were asked to select a famous explorer, inventor, or scientist for a research project. After accessing key information about their person, they created a lap book and designed, created, and performed a puppet show with a goal of teaching others about the famous person they researched. They each presented their puppet show to family members as well as other classes. This project incorporated some important lessons in collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Well done, students!

Be sure to check out Ian Ramsey’s “Brain Tips for Teens” video series. You can find them on NYA’s YouTube page. His most recent installment is about the importance of nutritious food.

Mission Spotlight: On Friday, May 17, Dr. Abraham Peck, Research Professor of History at the University of Southern Maine and a lecturer at Bates College, spoke to Mr. Gagne’s World History classes. Dr. Peck spoke as part of their study of the European Holocaust and other genocidal conflicts throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Born in the Landsberg Displaced Persons Camp in Germany shortly after World War II ended, Dr. Peck’s parents were both Holocaust survivors who lived in the ghetto of Lodz, Poland, before they were sent to the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Stutthof, Buchenwald, and Theresienstadt. This family history led him to a life in academia studying the Holocaust, comparative genocide, German and European history, the history of anti-Semitism, and various topics in religion and interfaith relations. Dr. Peck was the founding director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies program at the University of Maine, Augusta, and has researched and taught at universities in the U.S., Germany, Austria, and England. Thank you to Dr. Peck, who is Harry Marcus’s ’22 uncle, for taking the time to work with our students.

Congratulations to our six students who participated in the All-State Music Festival this weekend. These students were selected from statewide auditions this past fall, and represent Maine’s top high school musicians. The students rehearsed for two days at the University of Maine before presenting their concert on Saturday at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono. Malia Morin and Pierce Manchester both sang in the All-State Mixed Choir, Jackie Ellsworth and Afton Morton performed as part of the All-State Treble Choir, and Matt McGrath (bass) and Madeleine Vaillancourt (cello) played in the All-State Orchestra.

Speaking of music, don’t miss these upcoming recitals:  On Tuesday, May 21, Malia Morin ’20 will give a recital at 6:30 p.m. in Higgins Hall. On Thursday, May 23, Matt McGrath ’20 and Ellie Hilscher ’20 will give a recital at 6:30 in Higgins, with Sydney Gilman ’19 performing some stand-up comedy. Both performances are free and open to the public.

On Friday, the fifth grade had a fabulous time learning about the lobstering industry aboard The Lucky Catch. The students learned how to catch a lobster and determine which lobsters could be kept. From baiting the traps to hauling them up and pushing them back into the ocean, it was an adventurous day for all. The crew on The Lucky Catch shared many interesting facts about lobsters as well as the history behind the forts and lighthouses along our coastal Maine waters. Did you know that Maine is ranked #2 in number of lighthouses – behind Michigan? After the trip, the class enjoyed a delicious lunch at Flatbread Pizza.

From the Parents’ Association:
The NYA Parents’ Association will sell logo gear on the last day of school, Friday, May 31. A table will be set up in the Middle School Community Room from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Several items will be on clearance to make room for new fall merchandise. Plan ahead to stock your closets! Checks and cash only.

The NYA Parents’ Association is looking for parents to get involved and help in a variety of ways. Here is a link to the PA volunteer form, which outlines some of the opportunities that are available. You can help a little bit or a lot! Take a look, and let us know if you have questions or if you are interested in helping out. It’s a lot of fun, and our efforts make a real difference for everyone on campus!

The PA is currently looking for a volunteer to serve as Lower School Coordinator. In this role, the volunteer will learn about NYA parent initiatives and how parents contribute to the NYA mission, while representing the Lower School in monthly executive committee meetings. We typically meet around morning drop-off time once each month. Free coffee!

We are also looking for a volunteer to help manage the Yarmouth Clam Festival starting next year. Many, many parents help at this event, and we need someone to lead the charge. This is the PA’s largest (and most fun) fundraiser. We would love to have someone on board soon so they can be trained at this year’s event. If you are interested or would like more information about any of these opportunities, please contact Laurie Hegarty.


Monday, May 20 – “Heads for a Day” Will and Lucy Lorenz declare a favorite sport dress down day!

Wednesday, May 22, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Middle School Recognition Evening in the gym

Friday, May 24, 7:50 a.m. – Memorial Day flagpole ceremony at the Carleton Fogg Flagpole. We will pay homage to the nearly thirty NYA alumni who died in service to their country since NYA’s founding. A roll will be read, and flowers will be placed beneath the flagpole. This is a short ceremony to remind us all that Memorial Day is more than the unofficial beginning of the summer season. All are invited.

Friday, May 24, 2:30 p.m. – Middle School Athletic Celebration in the gym

May 28 to 30 – Middle and Upper School exams. Schedules shared by Mrs. Markonish and Mr. Austin

Thursday, May 30, 6:30 p.m. – Senior Dinner in the gym. This annual catered dinner is a formal occasion for all seniors and their parents, serving as a celebration of the end of the seniors’ career at NYA in advance of commencement. We look forward to seeing all seniors and their parents for this enjoyable evening! RSVP to Crystal Gordon.

Friday, May, 31, 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Lower School last day of school, Fun Day to follow

Friday, May 31, 8:00 a.m. – Awards Day for Middle and Upper School students at the First Parish Church (116 Main Street, Yarmouth). A reception will follow in Safford. Fun Day immediately follows the ceremony. It is a dress up day for MS and US students (no shorts), and the students should bring clothes to change into for Fun Day. All students will be dismissed by 1:00 p.m. for the school year.

Sunday, June 2, 2:00 p.m. – NYA Commencement for the class of 2019 on the front lawn. All are welcome.

Tuesday, June 10, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. – Upper School Athletic Recognition in the gym

Remember, the Academy will be closed on Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day. My final Sunday letter for the school year will be June 2.

Have a great week, and I hope everyone has a strong finish to the term.


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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