Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

October 27, 2019

Dear Families,

The Nor’easter from two weeks ago was an eventful storm, hitting Yarmouth and NYA very hard. I know many of our families had power outages, downed trees, and property damage. I hope everyone is cleaning up from the damage and faring much better. I also hope our school’s emergency notification system worked effectively for you as well. NYA utilizes multiple methods to notify families in the event of school closures or delays. We send text messages and emails to families, post closure information on local media outlets (channels 6, 8, and 13), and post announcements on school social media. If you are not receiving any of these notifications, the school may not have your most up-to-date contact information. If that is the case, you may need to update your contact information by logging into your Family Web account. We hope we don’t have to use this system often, but winter will soon be on the way!

I missed the power outage as I just returned last night from a trip to China. The goal of the trip was to visit schools, meet with educational consultants, and meet with current families in support of NYA’s international program. NYA has a long-standing history of welcoming students from around the world. It dates back to 1831 and was linked to Yarmouth’s history as a center for shipbuilding. During this time period, NYA welcomed students from countries like Cuba, Guadeloupe, Canada, Denmark, France, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. NYA’s international program supports diversity in our community and helps foster a greater global perspective among our students. Our international students make many contributions to different aspects of school life. NYA currently has 15 international students with a goal for some limited growth in the program. One school I visited was the Liu Li International School in Tianjian. I met with students, teachers, and family members. This week, ten current Liu Li students and three of their faculty members will visit NYA. Please join me in welcoming them to campus.

Current families and community members have the opportunity to participate as host families to our students from other states or countries. Serving as a host family is a great experience for the family as well as for the student, and there is a stipend to help with costs. Please contact Dr. Sagaree Sengupta for more information if you are interested in learning more about our Host Family Program.

On Tuesday, NYA welcomed representatives from the Thirst Project who presented to Middle and Upper School students. The goal of the Thirst Project is to solve and spread awareness about the global water crisis. This youth-based organization raises money to build wells in villages that do not have the same easy access to safe, clean water as we do. The Thirst Project is Key Club’s main fundraising project for this school year. Thank you to Ellie Hilscher, NYA ’20, for organizing this visit.

Afton Morton served a perfect volleyball game last Monday night. You van view the story here. Though the piece says NYA lost the game, they actually won the match 3 to 1. Afton served 47 for 47 with 20 aces that night. Congratulations to Afton and the NYA Varsity Volleyball Team on this amazing feat!

Mission Spotlight:  STEM experiences in the Lower School  

After reading The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Mrs. Gagne’s students teamed up with NYA STEM Coordinator, Ms. Bartick, to create a wild robot of their own out of recycled materials. Each robot will be complete with eyes that light up. Ms. Bartick will work with the class and teach them about circuits. The students are very excited about this project!

October is quickly coming to an end, but not before Halloween arrives on Thursday. I encourage students to come in costume for the festivities that will happen throughout the day in all three divisions. The primary and elementary students will have a special costume parade in Grizzy’s Quad in the morning. Elementary, Middle, and Upper School students will follow a modified schedule and then head to the gym at 2:00 p.m. for a Halloween parade. Everyone is invited to attend the parade and parents of students in the Toddler and Primary programs are welcome to pick up their children early that day and join the festivities. More information will be coming from each department or your student’s teachers. Enjoy the day!

Speaking of Halloween – The NYA Snack Shack is looking for donations of leftover Halloween candy to be sold in the Snack Shack. Proceeds will go toward this year’s Project Graduation. Please drop off any donations at the Snack Shack when it’s open or in the Upper School Main Office. Project Grad thanks you, in advance, for your donations! Questions, contact Janette Covington.

Save the Date: Thursday, November 21 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. is the Make-a-Wish Maine® Choral Concert at the First Universalist Church in Yarmouth. The Make-a-Wish Club is once again organizing a concert to raise money to grant a wish to a child in Maine. This year, a capella groups from Bowdoin, Colby, and Bates (The Colby Eight, the Colbyettes, The Longfellows, and The TakeNotes) will be there  along with NYA’s music ensembles. It is always a beautiful night of music, and it raises money for a very meaningful cause.

While it seems impossible that holiday decorations could be on anyone’s mind, it is on the minds of the Parents’ Association and Project Graduation team! The PA is once again kicking off their annual Wreath Sale, and the Project Grad organizers are holding their annual Poinsettia Sale.  This year, you can order both online. Go to As you may know, the PA’s mission is to promote school spirit, foster community, and support and strengthen NYA through programming and volunteer participation. Fundraising is a crucial part of this, and as the top fundraiser, the Wreath Sale will enable the PA to continue to award grants to faculty and students, host speakers, support faculty and staff appreciation programming and other division specific events, and much more. Project Graduation is organized by parents of seniors to help pay for a fun and safe post-graduation party this spring.


Also from the Parents’ Association – please mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 19, from 8:00 to 9:15 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room for an interactive conversation entitled Mindfulness – How can Parents Help? This event is open to the public and will feature a panel of speakers from the community including NYA’s Ian Ramsey, Lindsey Myer, and Marcia Griffin. They will discuss how to help children be mindful thereby creating more balance, easing stress, and setting them up for success. The PA will provide refreshments.

It was great to see so many grandparents and grand-friends on campus on October 11 for Upper and Middle School Grandparents’ Day. The event included student musical performances, senior speeches, classroom visits, and a luncheon. I am happy to share a selection of photos from this special day. Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped to make this day a success, especially to Debra Ramsey P’15, P’20 and Jennifer Hemenway P’19, P’21 for their leadership.

On Sunday, November 3 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., the NYA Admission Office, administration, and faculty will welcome prospective middle and upper school families for our Open House. This is a terrific opportunity to look into the NYA community, and we encourage you to share the news with friends, family, and neighbors. If you have questions or would like some material about Open House, please contact the Admission Office. Our current families are the school’s best ambassadors, and we appreciate your support of the admission office.

Have a great week and Happy Halloween.


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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