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September 22, 2019

Dear Families,

The school year is in full swing in the classroom, on the field of play, in the art studio, and on stage. On Monday and Tuesday of this past week, Upper School students took part in experiential education trips and class activities. The ninth graders engaged in several experiences that included a five-mile hike on Pleasant Mountain, kayaking in Casco Bay, and rock climbing/rappelling on NYA’s climbing wall. The tenth graders hiked to Mizpah Hut in the White Mountains, and students climbed Mt. Pierce, Mt. Eisenhower, and Mt. Jackson. On Monday, the eleventh and twelfth graders completed a series of activities in preparation for their New York City trips later in the year. On Tuesday, several students organized a memorable and enjoyable Amazing Race for juniors and seniors. These experiences were a great opportunity for some good community bonding and for students and teachers to interact outside of the classroom.

There is new signage throughout campus instructing visitors to check in at one of three spots on campus:  Curtis main office, the Middle School office, and Lower School front desk. Visitors should sign in and out, and they will be given visitor badges for the duration of their visit. These signs will create better clarity for visitors and greater awareness for all of us on campus.

As part of ongoing professional development, David Bidler, owner of The Distance Project and founder of the non-profit, Physiology First, presented to the faculty on Tuesday afternoon. His talk centered on strategies for helping students manage anxiety and improve performance. He discussed how simple techniques like basic breathwork and learning to better observe one’s own physiology make it possible for teens to manage their state. It was a fascinating talk, and David provided follow-up materials and resources for the faculty.

NYA Homecoming is scheduled for the weekend of September 27. There are many games and activities listed on the Come Home to NYA website for students and alumni, but the following are some great opportunities for all families to participate:

  • Friday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m. in the NYA Gymnasium: Edgar F. White ’38 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. NYA will induct Allie Tocci ’08 with special guest speaker Travis Roy ’94. All are welcome to attend.
  • Friday and Saturday, September 27-28: NYA athletic contests will take place throughout the weekend, beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. The full schedule may be found online. Laurie Hegarty will be set up by the turf with all kinds of Panther merchandise on Friday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. (now accepting credit/debit cards!).
  • Friday, September 27: Tennis and Turf Field Dedication. Please join us as we dedicate the new athletic facilities: tennis courts at 3:15 p.m. and the new turf field at 3:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 28 at 8:00 a.m. (shotgun start): The NYA Steve Morris Golf Tournament at the Falmouth Country Club. Register as an individual or group. It will be a great day of golf for everyone. Money raised supports the Steve Morris Scholarship program, which gives ten need-based grants to current NYA students each year in grades 8-12.

We look forward to seeing many students, alumni and current families on campus for the weekend.

Mission Spotlight:

In the Lower School, Ms. KB’s Primary class participated in the International Day of Peace on Friday morning. The class sang “Peace Around the World” around one of NYA’s Peace Poles. They also made peace mobiles and spent time in class discussing what peace means to them and how to be peaceful in the classroom and in our community.

The popular x-block courses are underway in the Middle school. These enrichment courses allow students to enhance their academic work with additional offerings in areas that are of interest to them. These semester courses meet once a week. Many are team-taught and interdisciplinary. Examples of first semester course offerings are debate, robotics, ukulele, comics and graphic novels, academic quiz bowl, creating board games, Rube Goldberg Machines, and podcasting. These are great opportunities for students to pursue their interests or to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new.

In addition to having students from over 40 towns throughout the state of Maine, NYA’s homestay program allows the Academy to host international students and students from out of state. Currently, NYA hosts 20 students in homestays. This includes students from China, Canada, Austria, and six other states. NYA is always looking for host families for our international and domestic homestay students. It is a great experience for the family as well as for the student, and there is a stipend to help with costs. We also need a few families lined up who can take over on some weekends and holidays for our current year-round host parents. Please contact Dr. Sagaree Sengupta for more information and to set up a meeting.

Upper and Middle School Grandparents’ Day will take place on Friday, October 11. It’s all smiles on Grandparents’ Day, and for a good reason: proud grandparents and grand-friends enjoy visits with their talented NYA grandchildren! You can help make this day a success by volunteering. There are many volunteer opportunities on Friday, October 11. This event is a great way to meet new people and reconnect with other parents. Choose what fits your schedule and contact Debra Ramsey P’15, P’20.

  • 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. 14 volunteers for parking guides (three), registration tables (six), greeters (five).
  • 9:45 – 10:30 a.m. six volunteers to assist with break.
  • 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. six volunteers to be campus guides assisting grandparents at buildings locating classrooms, handicap access, etc.
  • 10:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 12 volunteers to set up tables, chairs, set tables, serve food and beverages, clear tables and put away tables and chairs.

Thank you in advance for donating your valuable time ensuring this is a fabulous event! In addition to volunteering, there is still time for grandparents and grand-friends to RSVP for this fun event.

Panther Project update: Work continues to progress on the Learning Commons. Demolition work is nearing completion on the old student lounge and library. Soon, footers will be created for the new steel structures. The new practice backboard was installed this week on the tennis courts and new NYA logos painted. New netting was installed on the turf field, also. Continue to follow progress on all NYA projects at

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram.

Have a great week.


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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