Upper School Newsletter for December 8, 2019

Dear Parents,

Happy December!  As the final weeks of the first semester are now upon us, yearlong classes are approaching their annual midpoints, and all semester electives are nearing their ends. Students have been working hard to complete their respective semesters in strong fashion within all realms: academics, athletics, and extracurriculars. Naturally, the probability of a ‘Snow Day’ also increases this time of year, along with the inevitable shuffling such a day can create amidst even the best of planning. As Ben Jackson announced to the student body at a recent Friday Forum, the first spot to learn about school delays and cancellations can be found on his official NYA Instagram account: jacksonnya_hos.

We look forward to seeing you all at next Tuesday (Dec 17) night’s annual student Art Opening (5:30 p.m.) in the Curtis Gallery and at the Upper School Winter Concert, beginning later at 6:30 p.m. Our students and faculty have put a great deal of work into both events, and we hope you can come out and enjoy the evening.

My very best wishes to you and your family during the upcoming Holiday Break!

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School


Report cards and comments for the Fall Semester will be sent out via email in early January. Report cards list each class with the teacher and letter grade. Comments written by each teacher accompany the report cards. These provide more detailed feedback on the student’s performance in class, highlighting strengths, and offering suggestions about areas to work on. If there are any questions about report cards or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact the individual teacher, the advisor, or Eric Austin.


Thanks to donations and funds raised through our dress down days, we have been able to purchase household items, toys, gift cards, and more for our Holiday Families. We would welcome donations of gently used jackets, boots, snow gear, and warm clothes as well. Collection bins are located at the Main Office in the Upper School or at the reception desks in the Middle and Lower Schools. All items must be in by Wednesday, December 11. Thank you for your help in supporting this worthy cause!


The second annual secret gift exchange called “Amigo Secreto” will happen soon for the entire Upper School. This voluntary series of gift giving will take place during the final week of the semester before Winter Break (December 16 – December 19). The goals include having fun, sharing kindness, and pleasantly surprising your gift recipient. Homemade gifts, re-purposing, and minimizing costs are all encouraged and part of the fun! Thanks to Katie Blanc, Serena Mower, and Jenessa Blanc for all of their help in spearheading this fun tradition during the season of giving.


Kiva is a non-profit organization that coordinates the giving of microloans to under-served entrepreneurs around the world. NYA’s Kiva club is organizing a Change for Change fundraiser running until Thursday, December 19. Each grade will have a class jar to collect change. The collection jars for the Upper School are located in Mr. Sillin’s classroom.  Quarters and Pennies are “positive” coins — add them to your grade’s jar to increase your total. Nickels and Dimes are “negative” coins — add them to other grades’ jars to lower their totals. $1 and $10 are positive, $5 and $20 are negative, $50 and $100 bills are positive. The grade with the highest total on December 19 will receive a free dress down day when we return from winter break. Thank you for your donations!


Each year, Mrs. Gallagher’s class participates in a special project for Camp Sunshine, an organization that provides a free summer camp to terminally-ill children and their families. They integrate the life cycle of plants into many of their fall studies, culminating with sunflowers. Students dissect sunflowers from the school garden and sort and count the seeds. After learning about “marketing” and making a product appealing for purchase, each student designs art for a seed packet and they use a blind vote to determine the art that will decorate the packages. The class then labels the packets, fills them with seeds, and sells them, with all proceeds donated to Camp Sunshine. They will sell packets for $1 each at Lower, Middle, and Upper School lunches on Thursday, December 12. Purchase Seeds of Sunshine and help support this worthy cause!


On Wednesday, December 18, Key Club will hold a gingerbread decorating competition during school period in the Community Room. The funds raised will benefit Camp Sunshine (see information about Camp Sunshine in the Seeds of Sunshine note above). The entry fee is $15 for teams of 2-3 people. Entry fees must be paid by Friday, December 13. All materials will be supplied. The winning gingerbread house will be selected by a judging panel, and the winning team will receive a selection of gift cards from local business (e.g. Romeo’s, Rosemont, Pat’s, etc.).


Juniors will take part in our Annual College Kick Off Program on Tuesday January 7 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. We invite both recent graduates to return to NYA and current seniors to share their perspectives and insight into the college search and application process. Recent alums also share their experiences in college so far. This is an informal, discussion-based program designed to give juniors a better sense of what to expect as the college search and application process unfolds during the next year. Refreshments will be provided. There will not be practices during this event.


On Sunday, December 15, Matt McGrath and Py Morin will perform (as part of their Music Seminar Class) at Maine Roasters Coffee at 8:00 a.m.  Come out and enjoy some great music with your morning coffee!


Congratulations to our students who auditioned in November for the All-State Music Festival. Students audition for this festival from all over Maine. It is a lengthy audition, requiring them to prepare and perform several elements on their instrument/voice, and the competition can be intense. We are thrilled and proud to announce that ALL 9 of our students who auditioned this year were accepted into the festival! These students are:

ALL-STATE MIXED CHORUS: Emily Greene, soprano; Py Morin, soprano; Jackie Ellsworth, alto; Afton Morton, alto; Rogers Crowley, tenor; Pierce Manchester, bass

ALL-STATE ORCHESTRA: Ashley Ren, violin; Madeleine Vaillancourt, cello; Matt McGrath, bass

The All-State Music Festival will be held at the University of Maine on May 14-16, with the final concerts on Saturday, May 16.


Congratulations to our students who auditioned in late October for the District II Music Festivals! These students competed against roughly 1,000 students from all over this area for spots in the festivals this winter. We are thrilled to announce that the following students have been accepted into District II this year:

HIGH SCHOOL BAND: Laini Frager, bass clarinet

HIGH SCHOOL MIXED CHORUS: Py Morin, soprano; Afton Morton, alto; Darby Mutagoma, alto; Madeleine Vaillancourt, alto; Rogers Crowley, tenor; Matt McGrath, tenor; Jack Curtis, bass; Pierce Manchester, bass

HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA: Ashley Ren, violin; Emily Greene, violin; Emma Collins, violin; Sally Stronge, violin; Madeleine Vaillancourt, cello; Matt McGrath, string bass

HIGH SCHOOL TREBLE CHORUS: Elyse Baron, soprano; Emily Greene, soprano; Jackie Ellsworth, alto; Laini Frager, alto

MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND: Eben Weislogel, baritone

MIDDLE SCHOOL CHORUS: Caitlin Michaelis, soprano; Genevieve Vaillancourt, soprano; Caleb King, baritone

MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA: Lauryn Casey, violin; Lyla Casey, violin; Caleb King, violin; Caitlin Michaelis, violin; Genevieve Vaillancourt, viola; Liam Devine, viola; Fynn MacCarthy, string bass

The District II Instrumental Festival (band and orchestra) will be held January 10-11, with the concert at 3:00 on January 11 at Oxford Hills CHS in South Paris. The District II Vocal Festival (choruses) will be held January 31-February 1, with the concerts at 2:30 (middle school) and 4:00 (high school) at Windham HS. Cool Fact: NYA has at least one student in each grade (7-12) accepted to both festivals!



sick-childIf your child is sick, please have them STAY HOME for the benefit of their health and the health of the school community. Indicators for staying home: vomiting or being too nauseated to eat breakfast; a throat so sore it hurts to swallow; a temperature of 100° or higher; incessant coughing or nose blowing; a pounding, blinding headache; utter exhaustion or aching all over. To return to school, the symptoms listed should be significantly decreased, if not resolved, AND the child should be fever free without use of Advil/Tylenol for 24 hours. If you are wondering whether you have a cold or the flu, please check here for additional information. A reminder that students are not permitted to possess any medication, over-the-counter or prescription, at school. If a student requires medication during school hours, please contact the school nurse. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Ashley Moody.

SNOW DAYSmiddle-school-march-snow-2017

Because it is sometimes necessary to cancel or delay the start of a school day due to stormy conditions, we reach out to families in numerous ways during times of bad weather. Due to the variety of weather patterns, from Boothbay to Biddeford and from Bridgton to Brunswick, it may look like clear going in one town while another is “snowed under.”

The administration makes cancellation/late start decisions with student safety as a top consideration. If it has already or will soon stop snowing but the road crews have not been able to clear the streets, the administration may decide to delay the start of the school day. Buses will be delayed two hours in this instance. Cancellations or delays are posted first on Ben Jackson’s “Head of School” Instagram account– bjacksonnya_hos. A text alert and email notification are then sent out, and the information is posted on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, cancellations are reported to channels 6, 8, 13, and NECN. At times, power outages can interfere with some of these methods of notification, so if you are uncertain, please check multiple sites.

In the event that snow arrives unexpectedly or earlier and/or heavier than predicted, the administration may decide to call for an early release from school. If this is the case, we will make every attempt to contact parents. The early release will be announced on local radio and television stations (if possible), will be sent out via text alert and email notification, and will be posted on social media. The school will remain open until all children can be safely picked up by parents or other authorized individuals.


Do you have any old or outgrown snowshoes collecting dust somewhere? If so, pass them on to NYA! We are looking for snowshoes of all sizes to add to our current set for PE classes and other groups to utilize in exploring the great, wintry outdoors. We’d also love ice skates and helmets! Donated items can be dropped off at the Main Office in the Upper School or at the reception desks in the Middle and Lower Schools.

NYA GEAR SALENYA Sea Bag and other accessories

Looking to purchase some NYA logo gear for holiday gifts or to round out your wardrobe? You’re in luck! The NYA Parents’ Association will set up the school store in the Middle School Community Room on Friday, December 13 and Thursday, December 19 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. for holiday sales. You may also contact the store at NYAstore@nya.org to set up an appointment (drop off and pickup times work best). Items ordered online can take up to 2 weeks so please plan ahead!

FROM IAN RAMSEYMeditation Image

On Tuesday, January 14, Ian will host a meeting of the “Brain Trust” parents group at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. The group is a forum to discuss emerging brain and health science and its significance for children and adults. Upcoming Brain Trust meeting are February 19, March 25: Field Trip to Float Harder, and April 15. All are welcome.

On Wednesday, January 15, Ian will lead the monthly mindfulness session at 7:00 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room. No experience is necessary.  Upcoming mindfulness dates are February 12, April 15, and May 13.

Check out Ian’s most recent Brian Tips for Teens video. A new installment comes out next week.


12/11Dress Down Day for Animal Refuge League$3
12/11Middle School Evening with the Arts 5:30 p.m.
12/12Seeds of Sunshine sold during lunch$1
12/13NYA Gear Sale, PSMS2:00-4:00 p.m.
12/15Student Performance, Maine Roasters Coffee, Yarmouth8:00 a.m.
12/16Amigo Secreto Gift Exchange Begins
12/17Upper School Art Show & Winter Concert, Curtis / Gym5:30 p.m. / 6:30 p.m.
12/18Key Club’s Gingerbread House Competition, MSCR10:30 a.m.
12/19Last day of Classes before Winter Break
12/19NYA Gear Sale, PSMS2:00-4:00 p.m.
12/19End of First Semester
12/20-1/3Winter BreakNO SCHOOL
1/6Classes resume; Second Semester begins
1/7College Kick Off Program for Juniors2:00 p.m.


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