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Upper School Newsletter for August 8, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

I hope that you are all enjoying a healthy, restful, and relaxing summer so far, all the while keeping in mind that four weeks still remain before the first day of school!

As we continue working to prepare the NYA campus for the return of students and the opening of school, we are delighted to welcome both new and returning families to our NYA community as we begin the 2021-2022 school year. The unofficial beginning kicks off with fall preseason athletic practices, commencing next Monday, August 16.  It will also be exciting to have our students, faculty, and staff back together on campus for the first formal day of school on Tuesday, September 7.

In anticipation of the new school year ahead, we have two important health and safety reminders for everyone. First, all necessary Family Forms must be completed in advance of student participation in preseason practices next Monday. Second, vaccination for eligible students is the most effective way to limit the spread of the virus in high schools. NYA strongly encourages those who are eligible to be vaccinated. If you have questions, please consult with your physician or talk with our Health Services Coordinator, Ashley Moody. Vaccinations not only help mitigate the spread of the virus, but vaccinated individuals are exempt from quarantine when identified as a close contact. We will continue to monitor updates and new CDC guidance for schools as September approaches and keep families informed. Here is our most recent update from July 30.

As we enjoy the remaining weeks of summer, this first monthly Panther Roar newsletter provides some important back-to-school announcements and reminders as we all plan ahead for September. We are very much looking forward to the new school year ahead!

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School


An essential step in preparing for athletic preseason on August 16 and for the school year ahead is to ensure that each family has completed all necessary Family Forms. This information is critically important and no students will be permitted on campus without the Annual Health Information and Authorization for Health Care Form. Please contact Ashley Moody with any questions regarding health forms.


Upper School fall sports begin on Monday, August 16. Coaches will contact their preseason rosters (students and families) via an introductory email, including a season outline and specific activity information. If your family has not received an email, please contact the specific activity coach to request this information. Be sure to submit all required Family Forms ahead of time so you may attend the first practices on Monday. Detailed information about the athletic schedule can be found on the NYA website. Athletic schedules change frequently due to weather and other conflicts so it is important to check them regularly. We currently anticipate a return to normal, full athletic practice and competition schedules, in each of our fall offerings. Any edits to our spectator policy, transportation, or daily protocols related to COVID, will be communicated from our Director of Athletics, Ms. Ross. We look forward to cheering our Panthers on!


Middle and Upper School New Student Orientation will be held on the morning of Wednesday, September 1, from 9:30 to 11:40 a.m. This is a student-only event and an opportunity for all new students to come to campus, meet their teachers, advisor, and some classmates, and learn more about the Upper School at NYA. Time will also be given to learning more about the daily academic schedule, understanding the technology platform we use, taking a tour of campus, and having some Q&A time with student ambassadors. All students should bring their fully charged BYOD device with them for the technology portion of the orientation. Dress for students will be comfortable, casual, and masked.


All rising ninth graders are invited to participate in a brief orientation program here on campus from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 1, directly following the New Student Orientation earlier that morning. The program will include meeting the class deans, participating in some informational sessions, meeting classmates, and having fun together as a class. Dress for students will be comfortable, casual, and masked. Students will assemble in Grizzy Quad, next to the Savage Middle School Building, for lunch and introductions.


The first day of school, Tuesday, September 7, is a Dress-Up Day: dress pants (no shorts), with dress shirt, tie, and sport coat/blazer; dress (no more than 3 inches above the knee); or skirt (no more than 3 inches above the knee) or professional dress pants with blouse or dress top. Convocation will take place at 7:45 a.m. on Denney Field, weather permitting. This is a special gathering for all members of the NYA community (students, parents, faculty, and staff) to start off the new school year. Students should plan to arrive no later than 7:35 a.m. on the first day. You will want extra time to drop off all of your gear and to get seated for Convocation on Denney Field. Seating for students is organized by grade, and standing room will be available for parents. Students may leave their bags and equipment in their lockers or in the classroom of their advisory.

There will be no music class on the first day. Music students can bring their instruments beginning on Wednesday, September 8. The first day will be an A-day on the schedule, with advisory meetings directly following the Convocation.  Students should bring summer reading and assignments to their classes for the first day.


The second day of school (Wednesday, September 8) is picture day. This is also a Dress-Up Day. Both class pictures and individual portraits will be taken, and the portraits will be used in the student directory. Families also will have the opportunity to purchase portraits. More information on ordering pictures will be sent out directly to parents.


UPDATED DATE: We have changed the date of the new parent welcome reception. Please join us on Tuesday, September 21 for the New Parent Welcome Reception from 4:00-6:00 p.m. under the event tent on Curtis Lawn. This event to welcome new parents provides an opportunity to meet members of the school community and learn how to get involved with the Academy. Drop in anytime between 4:00-6:00 pm “under the tent” for this reception. Register here.


Please remember that the 2021 Summer Assignments must be completed for the first day of school. All students have summer reading assignments in English. In addition, students in most math classes have review assignments, as well as students who are continuing their language studies in Level II or above in French, Latin, or Spanish. There are also summer assignments for students in most AP classes.


Students received draft schedules back in July, primarily intended for textbook purchasing. Some academic schedules may remain exactly the same, but other schedules will have changes and additions including music and art classes, study halls, and locker numbers. Some schedule changes may include class time and/or location changes. Advisors will hand out the complete and most up-to-date schedules during advisory meetings on the first day of school. Current schedules can also be accessed at any time through Family Web.


All students enrolled in a mathematics class in the Upper School must own (and begin the school year with) a Texas Instruments TI-84 graphing calculator. These calculators can be purchased either online or in local stores, and they operate on four AAA batteries. Students only need to purchase this calculator once, as it is the calculator used for all levels of mathematics at NYA throughout the students’ high school years.


A reminder to all parents to be sure that you have set up a parent account in Family Web. Family Web is a section of our website where announcements, directory information, calendars, lunch menus, and additional school information can be found. You can access Family Web under the Parents tab at the top of the NYA homepage. If you have not yet set up a parent account in Family Web, follow these instructions and then review the information on how to use Family Web. You will also want to check that your directory information is accurate and make any changes if needed. Contact Chris Mazzurco, Director of IT, with any questions.


Students should come prepared on the first day with all textbooks for their classes. Students received textbook information in the mid-summer update sent to families back on July 23. NYA’s virtual bookstore can be accessed at any time. For questions on textbooks, please contact Lisa Robbins.


As part of NYA’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, all students are required to have their own laptop or similar device to bring to campus each day. You can find the minimum system requirements here (also posted in Technology under the Student and Parent tabs on the NYA homepage).  Contact Chris Mazzurco with any questions regarding technology or BYOD.


We are excited to welcome the following new faculty and staff members to the Upper School:

  • Gretchen Bergill will serve as Director of College Counseling. Gretchen brings close to 30 years of experience in college counseling and college admissions. Prior to joining NYA, she served as the Director of College Counseling at Kents Hill School in Kents Hill, ME. Prior to her tenure at Kents Hill, Gretchen served as Associate Director of College Counseling for 13 years at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. She also served as Director of College Counseling at the Sage Ridge School in Reno, NV. Gretchen earned a BA in American Studies and French from Colby College. She began her career working as an Assistant Dean of Admission at Colby College.
  • Sara Brooks joins our Modern & Classical Languages Department as our Spanish teacher for all levels through AP. Sara earned her BA in Secondary Education-Spanish from Towson University and her MA from the University of Massachusetts. Most recently, she taught Spanish at the Chesapeake Public Schools and has held additional positions as an ESL teacher. We welcome Sara’s family as they move this summer from Virginia to Maine.
  • Jess Violette joins our Mathematics and Science Departments, focusing on multiple math and science electives. Jess earned her BS in Biochemistry from Bates College and her MA in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix. Most recently, Jess was a science and math faculty member at Hebron Academy. Jess brings extensive experience teaching math and science, along with science experience in the private sector. Jess taught math at NYA in the past, and we are thrilled to have her back at the Academy.
  • Matthew Poulin joins our Athletic Department, and will serve as our Associate Director of Athletics and Head Coach of our Girls Hockey Program. Matt assisted in Lewiston for six of the past seven seasons, aiding in ushering the Blue Devils to three state championships. He has also coached multiple top Maine girls with the Maine Gladiators U19 and U16 teams. Additionally, Matt has collegiate coaching experience in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), leading the Central Maine Community College D2 Men’s Club Hockey program. Matt is excited to join NYA’s Athletic Department and our accomplished coaching staff.

Please join us in welcoming Gretchen, Sara, Jess, and Matt to NYA!


The Upper School Dean structure is set for the upcoming year, with the following faculty members serving as Grade Deans (who remain at that grade level each year) and Class Deans (who advance each year with the class):

Ninth: Grade Deans: Ms. Kanzler & Mr. Gagne — Class Deans: Ms. Cassily & Ms. Violette

Tenth: Grade Deans: Ms. Lake Adams & Mr. Sillin — Class Deans: Mr. Hach & Mr. Myer

Eleventh: Grade Deans: Ms. Smith & Dr. Sengupta — Class Deans: Ms. Jaffe & Ms. Michaelis

Twelfth: Grade Deans: Ms. Sullivan & Ms. Brooks — Class Deans: Mr. Gengras, Ms. Zanetell


While there will still be some additions to the Class Officers list for 2021-2022, the following students were elected by their classmates last spring to serve in their respective roles.  (The ninth grade class will have their elections early in the fall.)

President of the Executive Council:  Chas Rohde

Senior Class

  • President:  Lila Jackson
  • Vice President:  Bryce Poulin
  • Secretary/Treasurer:  Noah Silander
  • Activities/Fundraising:  Marion Robbins
  • Athletic Council:  Joaquim Bila & Emma Sharp
  • Judiciary Committee: Emilia McKenney, Noah Hallward Rough & Alev Yilmaz

Junior Class

  • President:  Jack Byrne
  • Vice President:  Vy Tran
  • Secretary/Treasurer:  Angel Huntsman
  • Activities/Fundraising:  Jack Hegarty
  • Athletic Council:  Angel Huntsman
  • Judiciary Committee:  Jack Curtis, Harper Fremont-Smith & Sally Stronge

Sophomore Class

  • President:  Matthew Powers
  • Vice President:  Bryce Curtis
  • Secretary/Treasurer:  TBA
  • Activities/Fundraising:  TBA
  • Athletic Council:  Graca Bila & Molly Nelson
  • Judiciary Committee: Ethan Smith


Mark your calendars for Upper School Parent Night on Tuesday, September 14 at 6:45 p.m. The evening will begin with a short information session for Upper School parents followed by the opportunity to meet our staff and learn more about your student’s classes through video introductions by each teacher.


The Kauffmann Program is ready for a great 2021-2022 school year, beginning with September Upper School overnight class trips to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s high mountain huts and Joe Dodge Lodge on Monday and Tuesday, September 20 and 21. Additional details on these class experiences will be forthcoming as the new school year gets underway.

Later in the fall, the NYA Outing Club will enjoy an overnight backpacking trip to AMC’s Zealand Falls hut.  NYA will host a number of award-winning environmental writers throughout the year, including Alaskan writers Kim Heacox and Hank Lentfer, Vermont writer Sean Prentiss, Maine memoirist Jenny Neves, and New Hampshire poets Kevin Goodan and Kimberly Berwick. In the spring, NYA will host two events that are free and open to all Maine high school students: the 6th Annual Kauffmann Environmental Writing Contest and the Sea Kayak Academy. Throughout the year, students will have opportunities to get on NYA’s climbing wall and use the school’s kayak fleet. Additionally, Kauffmann director, Ian Ramsey, will work with school counselor, Cindy Hould, nonprofit Physiology First, and faculty to create a school-wide mental health curriculum, including integrating mindfulness skills and brain science presentations into the curriculum of all grades. Next summer, some NYA students will again be traveling to Alaska’s Glacier Bay as part of the spring semester environmental writing class.


The school day at NYA begins at 8:00 a.m. With the exception of seniors, all students should be in their designated classroom by 7:58 a.m. Students who arrive late should check in with Mrs. Goodrich at the Middle School Reception Desk, or with Mrs. Johnson in the Curtis Main Office. Parents should call the Main Office (846-9051) or email by 8:15 a.m. if a student will be absent all day, will arrive late, or will be dismissed early. It is our policy to call the parents of students who are not accounted for.


Students may continue to bring food and drink from home for break and lunch or purchase them from NYA Dining Services. All campus meals will be pre-order or in grab-and-go format in disposable containers. We will encourage eating outside (weather permitting) or in groups in the Safford cafeteria and classrooms.

Families may set up dining accounts through “” Student IDs, which are used for setting up dining accounts, will be available for new students at New Middle and Upper School Orientation. Please note that there is not the option for cash sales this year. Contact Lisa McGlinn in the Business Office with any questions.


Student drivers must register the vehicle(s) that they intend to drive to school with Mrs. Johnson in the Curtis Main Office by Monday, September 13. All student vehicles are required to have a numbered parking sticker. Please complete this registration form and give it to Mrs. Johnson in the Main Office. A sticker will be assigned at that time.


A reminder that all Main Street parking is reserved for Lower School drop-off and pick-up only. All student drivers, including seniors, must park their vehicles in the ice arena lot.


Please mark your calendars for Middle and Upper School Grandparents’ Day coming up on Friday, October 22. Lower School Grandparents’ Day will be on May 13, 2022.  To ensure that all grandparents and grandfriends receive the information, please provide us with updated grandparent contact information.


Some reminders about the daily dress code:

  • Skirts, dresses, kilts (longer than mid-thigh; no more than three inches above the knee)
  • Dress pants/slacks/corduroys/khakis/chinos
  • Dress shorts (knee-length, Bermuda style)
  • Buttoned up, collared dress shirt (tucked in as appropriate) with/without a sweater
  • Dress blouse with/without a sweater
  • Footwear (clean, neat, & worn at all times)

Please see the full details of the dress code in the Upper School Student & Parent Handbook.


8/16Fall Preseason Practices Begin
9/1Middle & Upper School New Student Orientation9:30 – 11:40 a.m.
9/1Ninth Grade Orientation11:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
9/7Convocation7:45 a.m.
9/7First Day of School; Dress-Up Day (A-Day)
9/8Picture Day; Dress-Up Day (B-Day)
9/14Middle & Upper School (Virtual) Parent Night6:45 p.m.
9/17Edgar F. White Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, NYA Gym10:00 a.m.
9/17-9/18Come Home to NYA: Homecoming and Reunion Events
9/18Steve Morris Alumni & Friends Golf Tournament, Toddy Brook Gold Course7:30 a.m.
9/20-9/21Kauffmann Overnight Class Trips; No Athletics
9/21New Parents’ Welcome Reception, Curtis Lawn4:00-6:00
9/22Head of School Dinner, Reunion Tent6:00 p.m.
9/30Parent-Advisor Conferences begintiming set by Advisor
10/11Indigenous Peoples’ DayNO SCHOOL
10/13PSATs for Sophomores & Juniors, on campus8:00 a.m.
10/15Middle & Upper School Grandparents’ Day; Dress-Up Day
10/22End of First Quarter


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