Newsletter Header Panther Roar 2020

Upper School Newsletter for May 10, 2020

Dear Families,

It is amazing to consider that our students and faculty have been hard at work in a remote learning capacity for the past seven weeks. Furthermore, it was nine weeks ago that everyone was last together on campus, celebrating Spirit Week and Winter Carnival as a school community. Little did we know then just how much we would look forward to being together again at school! But while our schedules and routines this spring have been adjusted and refined due to the constraints of the pandemic, this experience has forced a great deal of unforeseen creativity in everyone as well. I commend the entire student body, the faculty, and the families alike in their combined work, commitment, flexibility, and dedication towards confronting a challenge with the determination and perseverance such a time requires of us all.

We continue to keep a close eye on local and state guidance as it informs our thinking and planning, all the while continuing to deliver the best remote learning experiences possible for each of our students through the remaining weeks of the 2019-2020 academic year, the end of which is fast approaching. Additionally, as Ben Jackson has mentioned in several of his communications, NYA is deeply committed to honoring and celebrating the Class of 2020 and the rest of the student body over the course of the spring. To that end, a Milestone Events Committee made up of faculty, students, and administrators is working together to develop creative ways to celebrate many of these important events in a meaningful and creative way.

Finally, I want to reiterate that the members of the Class of 2020 should be very proud of their accomplishments. They have worked hard for many years, and we are confident that they are prepared for their next steps as they look ahead to a bright future. Though they completed their high school classes a week ago, they are still involved and invested in the tenets NYA holds dear, including the completion of their academics and AP exams, performing service-minded volunteer work in a variety of ways, remaining virtually connected and communicative with their peers and teachers, and as recently as last Friday, completing this year’s Senior Speeches! (Congratulations, Hongwei and Afton.)  It won’t be long before we are all looking back on the ’19-’20 school year, in all of its uniqueness and exceptionality, with vivid memories that certainly set this year apart from any others. But until then, may we enjoy the real (and yes, virtual) excitement that the final month of this school year will bring.

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School



As one of the ways to keep the community connected, students are collaborating on a weekly production of NYA News. The show, anchored by Executive Council President Mason Parks, incorporates many features, updates, and talents within our community. These include Cooking with Camille, Movie Reviews, the Faculty Favorite Song Challenge, Acts of Kindness, Weekly Wellness Tips, Riddle of the Week, and much more. It is a thoughtful and enjoyable weekly recap of the many things going on around “campus.” Check out episodes #1, #2, and #3.


With the help of advisors and current teachers, all of our students have now completed the course registration process for next year. This annual process enables us to prioritize their class selections in designing the rubric for student schedules which will be created early this summer.


May 15 is the deadline for several forms required for the 2020-2021 school year, including health forms and off-campus travel and athletic participation release forms. All forms and instructions can be found at Family Forms on our website. You can also reach this page from the drop-down menu under the ‘Parents’ tab on the top of  NYA’s homepage. Thank you for completing these forms by the due dates. It is a tremendous help to our faculty and staff!


For the second consecutive year, NYA has received a gift of $100,000 for student financial aid. The gift will be used to support both current-use financial aid ($25,000) and the North Yarmouth Academy Endowed Fund for Scholarship Assistance ($75,000), which provides need-based aid to deserving students. Read full details here.


NYA’s Bicentennial Learning Commons is looking terrific! The furniture has been put into place, the offices and work rooms are ready, and the volumes are currently being positioned on all of the shelves in preparation for our students’ return. It will surely be a wonderful new space for our entire community to enjoy and will make a lasting impact on our beautiful campus. Take a tour here.


AP exams begin Monday! The AP program has made some significant changes to the exam timing and format for the upcoming testing. Most notably, students will be taking at-home exams instead, and the length of the tests has been significantly shortened. AP teachers have provided updated information and review for their students, and further details, master schedule, and regular updates are provided on College Board’s website. All students should be aware of these changes, and we certainly appreciate that College Board has made these accommodations for all students in light of the current pandemic status.

Here is the schedule for the exams taken by NYA students:

Tuesday, May 122:00 p.m.Calculus AB and Calculus BC
Wednesday, May 132:00 p.m.English Literature and Composition
Wednesday, May 134:00 p.m.European History
Thursday, May 142:00 p.m.Chemistry
Friday, May 152:00 p.m.US History
Friday, May 154:00 p.m.Computer Science A
Monday, May 182:00 p.m.Biology
Monday, May 184:00 p.m.Environmental Science
Tuesday, May 1912:00 p.m.Music Theory
Wednesday, May 202:00 p.m.English Language and Composition
Thursday, May 2112:00 p.m.French Language and Culture
Friday, May 222:00 p.m.Statistics
Friday, May 224:00 p.m.Spanish Language and Culture
See Mr. MyerSee Mr. Myer2-D Art and Design
See Mr. MyerSee Mr. Myer3-D Art and Design
See Mr. MyerSee Mr. MyerDrawing

NYA Soiree 2020NYA SOIRÉE 

The Academy will commit all proceeds from the Soirée to meet current and incoming families’ need for financial aid and to ensure faculty have the resources they need to be successful today and into the coming academic year. The 36th Annual Soirée will take place virtually on Friday, May 15. Please join us!


Think to yourself, when was the last time that you had your annual physical exam? Then think about the last time you had your dental exam. Now think about the last time was that you had a mental health check-up…or a relationship check-up. We routinely take care of our bodies and teeth without giving it a second thought. When it comes to our own mental health and relationships, it is not typically part of our health routine. Yet, more frequently than not, people identify valuing their family above anything else. What would be more valuable than making sure that we are healthy, positive members of our family? Our society has done a better job of reducing the stigma of seeking mental health treatment, but it has not been abolished. Seasonal wellness check-ups would offer all of us a quarterly opportunity to maintain balance, grounding, and introspection. This could be individual, couple, or family therapy. You can find a local therapist here, or try a support group such as NAMIThe Maine Crisis Hotline (1-888-568-1112) is another service to seek support and referrals 24/7.  ~ Cindy Hould, NYA Counselor


On the evening of Wednesday, June 3, our annual Senior Dinner/Slideshow will, for the first time in NYA’s long history, be held at the Saco Drive-In!  This will be an informal and fun tribute to the seniors and their parents and serve to celebrate the end of the seniors’ career at NYA with the traditional class slide show on the big screen. More information about this event will be provided as the time gets closer, and Ben Jackson will provide more updates and details in a community note next week.


Normally occurring in the First Parish Church in Yarmouth, the NYA Awards Ceremony will instead be a virtual one this year on our final day of the school year. It begins at 9:00 a.m. and will include academic awards for grades nine through twelve, along with various community awards.


Beginning at 1:50 p.m., we will have another pick-up scheduled in the Middle School parking lot turnaround. Similar to the process we used for locker item pick-up back in March, families will drive up during their assigned time slot, pop their trunks, and let volunteers know the student’s name and grade. Families will also bring with them any NYA textbooks, instruments, and uniforms that they need to return, and volunteers will retrieve these from your trunk. The volunteers will then deliver to you any remaining items from campus, your yearbooks, any awards, and a small treat! You may also see some familiar faces on site to wish you warm summer greetings.


On Monday May 4, three seniors pursuing the Diploma with Distinction in Global Citizenship presented their capstone research projects, which are the culmination of a year of investigation, research, and reflection. NYA’s variety of diplomas with distinction allows students to pursue a specialized interest and to develop unique skills beyond our regular academic program. The Diploma with Distinction in Global Citizenship emphasizes global connections. As the students complete a high level of language study, they also pursue an experiential endeavor with a community different from their own in order to develop cultural competency. Students consider how their ways of doing things—speaking, interacting, eating, greeting—may seem quite foreign to others in the world. These projects encourage students to look more critically at themselves and the world around them.

In her project, Sydney Billings traced the current inequities in healthcare systems around the world back to their colonial roots. Her historical analysis set the stage for a contemporary case study. Through the specific issue of cervical cancer in Africa, Sydney underscored the need for perspective taking in medicine, be it in care conversations, treatment regimes, or policy.

Ellie Hilscher took a deep dive into the process of learning a language. Her project on bilingualism in education mapped language-learning theory onto daily life and practice. Through her research, interviews, and school observation, Ellie showed us the ways in which language (or more than one language) can shape who we are, how we view the world, and how the world might view us.

Afton Morton examined the rights and roles of territories of the United States. After her own study of the Founding Fathers, American colonies, and Supreme Court, Afton found that current claims for rights and statehood closely resemble past struggles. With a focus on voting rights, Afton shows us these questions of identity and belonging can be found on our own shores.

Congratulations to Sydney, Ellie, and Afton!


Typically, the final graduation requirement for seniors is the Senior Service Project, a 40-hour volunteer project during the month of May. While NYA places high value in the overall experience of the SSP, requiring the Class of 2020 to complete it in its original format is not possible at this time. Although the SSP cannot be what it has been in the past, there remains a wealth of opportunity to serve others, and the senior class is encouraged to do good deeds throughout the month of May. Many students have already begun this, by participating in drive-by birthday celebrations for Lower School students, helping neighbors with yard work, and creating and editing videos for NYA. Other ideas are sewing masks, arranging to play music at nursing homes, caring for siblings so parents can have a well-deserved break, cleaning up a park, baking treats for elderly neighbors, and so on. There is one deed we would like all seniors to do —  to record themselves reading aloud their favorite childhood book; the recording will then be shared with the Lower School. Any senior who needs a copy of a book can contact Eliot Grady, SSP Coordinator.  This would be a fantastic way to help the NYA community and would be greatly appreciated!


Last week, we were all able to enjoy the NYA Quiz team’s first-ever competition as they took on Morse High School in High School Quiz Show: Maine, when the team’s opening round competition aired on Maine Public Television. Our Panthers were anchored by senior Spencer Barton, with sophomore teammates Jack Schaeffer and Aidan Lacombe, and freshman Sally Stronge. They were “sworn to secrecy” between when they taped in December and when the episode aired, so it was a bit nerve-wracking when the Panthers started out slowly and found themselves in an early deficit. If you were watching along, you definitely saw that slow and steady wins … the quiz show! We all got to enjoy and celebrate what can only be described as their epic comeback. What a way to kick off a new team, and what a great way to represent NYA! Go Panthers!


We are collecting any unneeded textbooks to use as classroom spares or to pass on to students in need. Families may drop off books at the Yearbook and Materials Pick-Up or bring them by the main office before the start of school in September. We appreciate your generosity! You also have the option of selling your used textbooks back to MBS, our textbook service. If you want to pursue this option, just follow up with the Online Buyback.


All students should check their summer reading assignments for English class. The book lists will be posted on the NYA website after June 1. In addition, students continuing on in language and students in certain AP courses will have summer assignments, all of which will also be available on the website. Most Upper School math courses will also have summer assignments that will be posted on our website after June 1.


Student schedules, textbook order information, supply lists, and advisor assignments will be sent out in July. Be on the lookout for these important items coming in July to prepare for next fall.


A reminder that NYA’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program begins in seventh grade. From grades 7-12, students need to bring a laptop, Chromebook, or tablet with keyboard meeting the minimum requirements outlined here. Basic laptops with an up-to-date web browser and decent battery life are fully adequate for a student’s needs. NYA provides the Microsoft Office suite for students to download on up to five devices. Contact Chris Mazzurco, Director of Information Technology, with any questions.


Have you ever thought about hosting an NYA student from abroad or out of state in your home? Though there is much uncertainty in the world right now, this might be a great time to consider hosting a student in the future. The NYA Homestay Program invites interested families to contact Sagaree Sengupta and Eliot Grady at for more information.


During the summer, administrative office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. In addition to admission activity, we will be preparing for the upcoming school year. We will continue to send information and updates via email throughout the summer.


5/11-5/22AP Exams (taken at home this year)
5/15Returning Family Forms Due
5/25Memorial DayNO CLASSES
6/1Summer Assignments Posted
6/3Last Day of Classes
6/3Senior Dinner/Slideshow, Saco Drive-In6:30 p.m.
6/4Virtual Awards Ceremony9:00 a.m.
6/4Yearbook and Supplies Drop-Off/Pick-Up1:50-3:20 p.m.
9/8First Day of School!


Facebook – North Yarmouth Academy Page, NYA Parents’ Association Group
YouTube – North Yarmouth Academy
Twitter – @NYAToday
Flickr – nyatoday
Instagram – Ben Jackson HOS
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