Panther Roar Newsletter Header 2020

Upper School Newsletter for October 18, 2020

Dear Parents,

Thank you for the consistent commitment and dedication you have each demonstrated on a daily basis this fall towards ensuring that our student body remains healthy and safe. We continue to work to maintain the ability to collectively attend school together. Additionally, I commend all of our students who have worked to follow the new protocols we have in place in order to prioritize community health and safety. With condensed athletic seasons, logistical modifications for music practices, mask wearing, one-way signs to follow on campus, and lots of hand washing, it is certainly challenging to be a teenager in school right now! Nevertheless, NYA students have risen to the challenge and continue to impress those of us working with them each day.

The student Executive Council sponsored an enjoyable Autumn Spirit Week earlier this month consisting of daily dress down themes, class activities, scavenger hunts, and cider and doughnuts in support of the Make-A-Wish club. We were also happy to administer PSATs on campus to juniors and sophomores last week. Congratulations to our fall athletic teams and coaches for their spirit and successes so far as we look forward to virtually cheering on those teams who are destined for post-season competition (something our golfers have already successfully achieved!). Our senior class is working hard to meet the upcoming deadlines for college applications under the guidance of Katherine and Steve Thomas. The seniors are also preparing for their senior speeches with advisors Ross Markonish and Dave Gagne – and we have already had four seniors deliver their extremely thoughtful speeches during recent Friday Forums.

Parent-Teacher conferences (via Zoom) are coming right up at the end of the month and serve as a great opportunity for parents to obtain a current mid-semester summary of student progress in each class. More information about conference sign-ups follows below. If you are not able to attend, teachers will be happy to send along a progress summary email for you.

Finally, I would like to offer thanks to our Class Parent Representatives for their work this fall: Danielle King (ninth), Laura Gall (tenth), Gretchen Lacombe (eleventh), and Jen Hemenway (twelfth). We also appreciate the efforts of Melissa Cusano, Jan Haedrich, and Laurie Hegarty (NYA Craft Fair Committee); Stacey Schuler-Cannon (Wreath Sale Chair); and Laurie Hegarty, Anne Snow, and Jessica Lynch (Clam Festival Committee).  Thanks also for the ongoing leadership of Tori Baron (Parents’ Association President), Patrick Cannon (Vice President), Dewey Mote (Treasurer), Tammy Harvey (Secretary), Jen Rohde (Middle School Parent Coordinator), and Danielle King (Upper School Parent Coordinator).

In the meantime, we hope this Upper School newsletter provides some helpful reminders and timely information for you as we look to the weeks ahead. Happy Autumn!

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School


Our student-athletes have been doing a wonderful job this fall – here are some of the highlights:

  • Boys and girls cross country have seen a variety of individual and team successes and await details on the Western Maine conference and state meets planned for later this month.
  • Our golf team finished third in the Class C State Tournament, with Carson Gall and Maddy Prokopius each earning fourth place individual finishes.
  • Despite the absence of a Maine Principals Association sponsored state tournament, our boys and girls soccer teams each have had strong seasons, boasting a combined and impressive 8-2 record.
  • Upper School field hockey, volleyball, and all Middle School teams are continuing to train in-house and have shown impressive commitment and enthusiasm throughout the fall season.


Although the opening dates and timing are subject to change based upon the guidance that we continue to monitor, here are a few updates as we all look ahead to the upcoming winter athletic season:

NYA Athletics , North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth, Maine, Brian Beard

  • NEPSCAC opening start date for ice hockey: Monday, November 9 (NEPSAC allows restricted fall play, prior to this date).
  • MPA tentative start date for US athletics: Monday, November 16.
  • Athletics would occur each week, Monday through  Saturday, dependent upon team schedules (TBD).
  • Activities offered: boys and girls basketball, boys and girls ice hockey, boys and girls indoor track, studio band, drama, Nordic skiing (added), Fitness for Life (a combination of strength work, yoga, cardio exercise; details TBD), and team managers.
  • All initial student rosters will be set by November 4.
  • Current return to play MPA and state guidelines allow in-house training and game play for the sports of basketball, hockey, and indoor track and field running events. Nordic ski and indoor track and field throwing/jumping events are able to compete in regional competition. Coaches are already working to create everyday athletic offerings that – with or without interscholastic competition – address our core goals of using after school activities to encourage personal growth, develop character, achievement, and teamwork. We will adapt our winter activity offerings to remain compliant with these guidelines and communicate more detail as it develops.

Please contact Athletic Director Kelsy Ross with any questions.


Enjoy this update from Heather Dean, NYA’s athletic trainer and K-5 PE teacher.


NYA Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, October 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday, October 30 from 8:00 a.m. to  3:00 p.m.  There is no school for students on these two days. Conferences will be held on Zoom, and each conference slot will be for ten minutes. This is a chance for parents to talk with individual teachers about the progress of their child in that class. Instructions for the sign-up process will be sent out soon. Please remember that sign-ups for conferences are on a first come, first served basis. We look forward to meeting all of the parents over the course of these two days, but if your schedule prevents a meeting during those times, please contact a teacher directly to either meet at a different time or to request a summary email from the teacher.


Celebrating Halloween at NYA with creative costumes and a student parade is an enjoyable annual tradition here. Students may wear their costumes (or portions of their costumes) throughout the school day. However, it is important that costumes still permit students to engage in the learning process (i.e. cumbersome masks or accessories should wait for the parade). This year, costumes must also include an approved face mask (Halloween masks cannot replace the approved masks typically required). All costumes should be school appropriate in nature. If a student opts not to wear a costume, s/he must be in regular dress code for the day (and we remind students that dressing down as a “public school student” is not a costume).

We will have a slightly abbreviated class schedule on Halloween, followed by a socially-distanced and modified Halloween Parade outside so that students can display their costumes with members of the student Executive Council and have the chance to win prizes in categories such as “Best Small Group,” “Scariest,” or “Most Original.” Lots of photos will be taken and posted to the NYA Smug Mug website (see below for details) to share with the community following the festivities.


NYA will be hosting a virtual Open House for prospective Middle and Upper School students on Sunday, November 1. This is a terrific opportunity for interested families to hear what NYA is all about from members of our community. We encourage you to share information about this virtual event with friends, family, and neighbors. If you have questions or would like some material about Open House to share, please contact the Admission Office.  We appreciate your support!


Due to current restrictions in place, NYA will not host a flu shot clinic this year. However, the CDC highly recommends flu shots, now more than ever. Below are some options for flu shots this year:

  • Your doctor’s office – Call to set up an appointment and to confirm availability.
  • Pharmacies – Maine pharmacies offer flu shots to ages 7 and up. You could take a chance and pop in OR you can call ahead to ensure they have enough supply for the demand.
  • Urgent Care – Many urgent care offices throughout the state are offering free flu shots (e.g. Convenient MD is offering free flu shots for those 6 months and older, 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.). Call or check websites to determine options in your area.


Enjoy this update on being a Kind Campus from Cindy Hould, NYA School Counselor.


This would normally be a busy time in the NYA Music Department, as many students would be preparing for the District II (grades 7-12) and All-State (grades 9-12) auditions, scheduled to take place in late October and early November. Unfortunately, the logistics of putting together a festival involving hundreds of students (with a concert audience of well over 1,000) will not be feasible in this time of COVID-19. Due to this, the appearance of these festivals and auditions have changed dramatically.

District II auditions will NOT occur on October 22 as originally scheduled. The district is currently working on an alternate plan to hold these auditions as a mini-solo competition in late winter, with students submitting a recorded audition for scoring, comments, and merit rating.

All-State auditions will be performed via pre-recorded video. Students should speak with Ms. Krainis, Ms. Vaillancourt, or Mr. Ramsey to make sure they have what they need to prepare their auditions. The deadline for audition submissions is November 13 for Jazz All-State and December 4 for Band-Orchestra-Chorus.

The District II Festivals (Instrumental, Vocal, and Elementary) are cancelled for 2021. The All-State Music Festival will occur virtually in May.  ~ Linda Vaillancourt


The NYA Parents’ Association will host a Morning Forum Series throughout the year. These are informational sessions for our families on a range of topics related to the Academy and your child’s experience. The Morning Forums will be held on Thursdays via Zoom from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. (The December Forum will be held on Wednesday, December 2.) The first session, The Year Ahead and Ways to Get Involved at NYA, will be on Thursday, November 5. Speakers will include Ben Jackson, Head of School, Jennifer Richard, Director of Development, and Tori Baron, Parents’ Association President. We hope that you are able to join us for this virtual session!


NYA has a new way to share photos with our families. Just go to and use the password NYApanthers. We plan to add photos of school events, athletics, and student life to this page on a regular basis, so check back often! School pictures will be available on this site very soon. The site offers a wide variety of print options and custom items for purchase. If you have questions, please contact Kristi Belesca.


The Middle School parking lot is a very busy place at drop-off and pick-up each day. We want to ensure that the experience is as safe for students and as convenient for parents as possible. For drop-off in the morning, please pull ahead to the furthest point in the turn-around before stopping and have students exit the vehicle quickly. Time is of the essence! In the afternoon, timing is everything. If your child is not waiting outside for you, please pull into a parking spot and wait there. One car waiting for even a few minutes can throw off the whole flow and cause our own little traffic jam. We appreciate your help and patience with this process!


10/23End of First Quarter
10/28NYA Halloween Festivities
10/29-10/30Parent Teacher Conferences via ZoomNO CLASSES
11/1NYA Virtual Open House for Middle & Upper School
11/3Election Day
11/5NYA PA Morning Forum via Zoom8:15 – 9:15 a.m.
11/9NEPSAC Opening Date
11/10Veterans’ Day Flagpole Ceremony
11/11Veterans’ DayNO SCHOOL
11/13World Kindness Day
11/16MPA Opening Date for Maine Winter Athletics
11/18CivilTea Dialogues
11/20Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/23-11/27Thanksgiving BreakNO SCHOOL
11/30Classes resume
12/17Fall Semester Ends



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