Upper School Newsletter for January 12, 2020

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year! I hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday and respite from the daily routine as we continue to enjoy the winter season in Maine and usher in 2020. With the start of a new calendar year, we also begin the second semester of our current school year. Congratulations go out to all of our winter teams for successful starts to their seasons, including several successful holiday tournaments and games. Classes, practices, drama rehearsals, and new electives are once again in full swing, and I look forward to all of the ongoing successes of our students this year.

We are excited for what will be a full and engaging semester ahead!

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School



Report cards and comments for the Fall Semester were sent out to parents via email on Friday, January 10. If you did not receive the email or have any questions about report cards or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact Eric Austin, your student’s advisor, or the individual teacher.


NYA District 2 Festival Musicians 2020Congratulations to the NYA students who participated in the District II Instrumental Festival this weekend! These students were selected into the festival based on auditions this past fall. They spent two days rehearsing together before performing for a full house at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. NYA’s participants this year were:

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

HIGH SCHOOL BAND: Laini Frager, bass clarinet

MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND: Eben Weislogel, baritone

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


Congratulations to Jackie Ellsworth who performed at the Maine All-State Jazz Festival, as a member of the Jazz All-State Treble Choir, at Bangor High School this weekend. Jackie was selected for the festival from state-wide auditions this past October. She is pictured here with treble choir conductor Michelle Mailhot and accompanist Mark Shilansky.  (photo: Nora Krainis)



NYA Head of School, Ben JacksonJoin us on Tuesday, January 21 from 8:00-9:15 a.m. in the Middle School Community Room for Moving NYA Forward – The Strategic Plan. Eric Austin and Marissa Markonish will join Ben and other staff presenters to share an overview of the strategic plan, recent progress, and exciting initiatives on the horizon for NYA. Discussion to follow.


We are pleased to welcome Mary Goodrich to the position of Director of Summer Programs and Middle School Administrative Support. Mary earned a BA in English Literature from Saint Michael’s College and most recently served as the Director of Programs and Operations at Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine, where she worked for twelve years. Mary will now be the voice on the phone and the face at the Middle School reception desk greeting many of us each day. For attendance matters, parents should contact Mary via email (mgoodrich@nya.org) or 846-9051.

We wished a fond farewell to Heidi Lathrop, who worked in the Middle School for the past seven years, before we left for winter break. Heidi touched so many lives in the NYA community and will be greatly missed. We wish her well as she takes more time to focus on her family, home renovations, and new puppy, but look forward to seeing her often around campus, as NYA is still very much her home. In addition to being an NYA parent, she is also an NYA alum!


We are pleased to announce that Cynthia Hould has accepted the position as NYA’s next school counselor. Cindy earned her BS in Human Development and Family Relations from UMaine and her MA in Family Therapy from UConn. Cindy has extensive counseling experience working with children and adults in schools, with the military, and in private practice. Most recently, she held positions as a counselor with the Military Support Program and as a clinician with the Sandy Hook Recovery Team in Newtown, CT. She and her family are moving from Connecticut to her native Maine, and she will begin in the counselor role at NYA in March. Until that time, Michelle Napoli will remain in the counselor role part time. Even though Michelle will still be at NYA for the next two months, we want to take this opportunity to thank her for her contributions and significant impact on the students and community. Thank you, Michelle!


If your student is looking for internship opportunities or summer programs related to STEM, be sure to check out the offerings listed here. They are mostly geared towards current sophomores and juniors, but some could apply to seniors as well. These internships and programs will allow students to become immersed in real scientific inquiry, create relationships with STEM professionals, and assist in helping to identify areas of interest for the future. Feel free to contact STEM Coordinator Terry Bartick with any questions.


Yearbook recognition ads are on sale now! Parents, relatives, and friends may purchase and design their own ad online, recognizing a current NYA student and celebrating their achievements! Ad space is available on a first come, first serve basis, and all yearbook ads must be submitted by Thursday, February 13. Click here for more information on purchasing and designing a yearbook ad for your student! Feel free to contact Yearbook Advisor Sara Jaffe with any questions.


On Thursday, January 16, the NYA Studio Band will perform its thirteenth Annual Acoustic Show at 6:30 p.m. at One Longfellow Square in Portland. This year’s Studio Band includes a cross section of Upper School students, grades 9-12, ranging from four year veterans to first time performers, some of whom have learned a new instrument only this year! The band will perform songs from a range of artists, including Fleetwood Mac, The Cure, Death Cab for Cutie, and Kanye West and it is sure to be a fun-filled evening of music for all. Admission is free (donations to help support Studio Band costs are gladly accepted), and the event is child-friendly, so all are encouraged to attend the show! Our final show of the season, Studio Band’s Last Waltz, will be on Friday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m. in Safford.  ~ Ross Markonish


This program will take place on Monday January 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. It is designed to provide juniors and their parents with a better sense of what to expect during the next year as the college search and application process unfolds. Our featured speaker will be Erik DeAngelis, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Brown University. The program is required for all juniors, and we hope that parents will be able to attend as well! Please contact Director of College Guidance Katherine Thomas with any questions.


Friday, February 7 will be an early release to allow faculty and staff time for professional development meetings. School will run from 8:00-11:30 a.m. on this day with a special class schedule. We will have morning snack, but lunch will not be served. All students should plan to be picked up at 11:30 a.m. Buses will leave at 11:40 a.m. There will be no Upper School sports practices or games on this day, but drama will meet for lunch and a special rehearsal schedule.


Experience NYA, on Friday, January 17 and Friday, February 14 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m., is designed for parents interested in the Middle and Upper Schools. Parents of prospective students will meet with Ben Jackson and other school administrators, attend senior speeches, and then tour the school.

Lower School Live, on Wednesday, January 29 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m., is designed for parents interested in the Lower School. Parents of prospective students will meet with Marissa Markonish and observe Lower School classes in action.

These are two wonderful opportunities to learn more about NYA. Families are also welcome to contact the admission office at any time to schedule a tour of the Academy. Our current families are NYA’s best ambassadors. Please reach out to friends, family, and neighbors and encourage them to contact NYA to schedule a visit.


North Yarmouth Academy presents Sister Act. This show, written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater, is based on the 1992 movie of the same name. The musical made its first regional appearance in Pasadena, CA in 2006 and opened at the London Palladium in 2009. A revised adaptation opened on Broadway in 2011 and the show has since been presented around the globe. Performances will be Friday, February 21, at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, February 22, at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8.00, and can be reserved beginning in February with Mary Goodrich, 847-5432.


Save the date for the annual NYA Soirée on Friday, May 15, 2020 at Portland’s Ocean Gateway. This year’s gathering will include a live and silent auction, games, food stations and hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and plenty of fun. Planning for the Soirée is underway by event committee members, Jen Edwards P ’30, P ’32, P’36; Jenn Yilmaz P’07, P’19, P’22, P’24; Jillaine Geary P’26, P’28; Diana Mutagoma P’22, P’25; Maryea Curtis P’30; Lissa Von Brecht ‘02; and Amity Jackson P ’21, P ’22, P ’26, in concert with the Development Office. If you have event ideas, want to get involved in planning, or are able to offer any auction prizes, please be in touch with the event planning committee or Crystal Gordon in the NYA Development Office. In the past, successful auction items have included jewelry, travel packages, concert and sporting event tickets, fine dining, and unique experiences. Let’s make this a fun, meaningful night for the NYA community! 


Clam Fest Booth 2019The NYA Parents’ Association is looking for three volunteers to co-chair the NYA ice cream booth at this year’s Clam Festival. The co-chairs will work as a team, each with individual responsibilities. Primary duties include coordinating volunteers, running the booth during the Clam Festival, and ordering and coordinating the food and supplies. Laura Bergeron and Scott Frank have done a great job of running the booth for a number of years and will be available to train and answer questions, with Scott staying on as a co-chair this year. This is a fun event, a great way to meet people, and a very positive way to contribute to NYA and our fundraising efforts. Please contact Laurie Hegarty or Tori Baron with interest and questions.


Daily attendance is taken at the beginning of first period. A parent should call the office at 846-9051 by 8:15 a.m. when a student will be absent all day, arriving late, or leaving early – even if the parent has informed the teachers and/or advisors. It is our policy to call the parents of students for whom we cannot account. For further details on attendance policies, please consult the NYA Student and Parent Handbooks. Thank you for your help with this process.


  • The Brain Trust: Ian Ramsey will host a meeting of the “Brain Trust” parents group  on Tuesday, January 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. The Brain Trust is a monthly parent and community gathering to discuss health, emotional well-being, mindfulness, and human performance for our children and ourselves.
  • Guided Mindfulness Sessions: Ian will also hold an open community mindfulness session at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 15 in the Middle School Community Room. No experience necessary, and all are welcome.


1/14Dress Down Day for Children’s

Miracle Network Hospitals in Maine

1/14Meeting of the Brain Trust; MSCR 6:30 p.m.
1/15Guided Mindfulness Session; MSCR 7:00 a.m.
1/16Studio Band Acoustic Show, One Longfellow Square 6:30 p.m.
1/17Experience NYA Admission Event  9:30-11:00 a.m.
1/20Martin Luther King Jr. Day NO SCHOOL
1/21Morning Forum with Ben Jackson, MSCR 8:00 – 9:15 a.m.
1/27College Planning Night for Juniors and their Parents; MSCR 5:30 p.m.
1/29Lower School Live Admission Event  9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
1/31-2/1District II Vocal Festival, Windham High School  
2/7Early Release Day 8:00-11:30 a.m.
2/14Experience NYA Admission Event  9:30-11:00 a.m.
2/17Presidents’ Day NO SCHOOL
2/21Bring A Friend to School Day Admission Event  
2/21Drama Performance, Safford 6:30 p.m.
2/22Drama Performances, Safford 2:00 & 6:30 p.m.
2/25Last day of Middle School Winter Sports  
2/28Studio Band The Last Waltz, Safford 6:30 p.m.


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