Upper School Newsletter for October 20, 2019

Dear Parents,

Thank you for taking the time to schedule and attend parent/advisor conferences earlier this month. These conferences provide a terrific opportunity to discuss how the school year is going so far for your daughters and sons. Furthermore, these discussions assist each advisor to focus on some of the ways in which we can best support each of our students as the fall semester progresses. We were also very excited to see so many grandparents visit school last Friday during this fall’s Grandparents’ Day. We commend all of our student musicians for a terrific concert, our two fantastic senior speakers for kicking off a new year of speeches, and all of our teachers and staff for welcoming the grandparents to campus.

Congratulations to our fall athletic teams and coaches for their spirit and successes so far as we look forward to cheering on those teams who are destined for post-season tournament competition (something our golfers have already successfully achieved!) Our seniors have also been working hard to meet the upcoming deadlines for college applications with the guidance of Katherine and Steve Thomas, as well as working to prepare for the year’s senior speech schedule with speech advisors Ross Markonish, Karin Hoppenbrouwers, and Dave Gagne.

Parent/Teacher conferences are also coming right up in November and serve as a great opportunity for parents to obtain a current mid-semester summary of student progress in each class. We look forward to seeing you there (more information about conference sign-ups is coming soon). If you are not able to attend, our faculty members will be happy to meet a different time or to send along a summary email for you.

Finally, I would like to offer a quick thanks to our Class Parent Representatives for keeping everyone informed of special events this fall: Laura Gall (9th), Gretchen LaCombe (10th), Jenna Klein Jonsson (11th), and Janette Davis (12th). We also appreciate the efforts of Debra Ramsey and Jennifer Hemenway (Grandparents’ Day Coordinators), Melissa Cusano, Jan Haedrich and Laurie Hegarty (NYA Craft Fair Committee), Stacey Schuler-Cannon (Wreath Sale Chair), and Corinne Larson (Poinsettia Sale Chair).  Thanks also for the ongoing leadership of Tori Baron (Parents’ Association President), Patrick Cannon (Vice President), Alan Parks (Treasurer), Tammy Harvey (Secretary), Danielle King (Middle School Parent Coordinator), and Deb Hilscher (Upper School Parent Coordinator).

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

Eric Austin
Head of Upper School


Thanks again to all grandparents and grand-friends who attended the Upper & Middle School Grandparents’ Day on October 11. We had a big turnout, and we hope everyone had a great time. Thank you to all the parents who volunteered at this event. It would not be successful without your help!


Starting on Monday, work will begin on a new water line to the Curtis Building. This work will require digging up portions of Main Street and the driveway to the Lower School and the Curtis parking lot. As a result, please plan on traffic delays. We apologize for any inconvenience. The work is expected to be completed by Friday.


NYA will host a Flu Shot Clinic on Wednesday, October 23 from 12:00-4:00 p.m. in the Savage Middle School.  Lower School students (ages 7 and up) must be accompanied by a parent.  See Announcements in Family Web for the screening questionnaire and consent form.


Mrs. Bartick would like to remind all Upper School students to consider taking part in the Maine State Science Fair, which will be held on March 28, 2020 at the University of Maine at Orono. Students are free to choose a topic that interests them, and they are welcome to work with a partner. The science fair is sponsored by the Maine Math and Science Alliance and Jackson Laboratories, and the projects are judged by scientists and engineers. It is a terrific networking opportunity and provides a venue to demonstrate scientific skills and talents. College scholarships are offered to seniors with the best projects. See Mrs. Bartick for more information.

On a related note, please check out the bulletin board near the Innovation Lab in the Mertz Science  Building where a variety of STEM opportunities are posted for students. There are details about internships, seminars, contests, and other events to capture a wide range of interests.


Be on the lookout for an athletics letter coming out soon from Kelsy Ross delineating important information and checklists regarding student participation during the upcoming winter athletics and activities season.


Congratulations to Jackie Ellsworth, soprano, on her acceptance to the Maine All-State Jazz Festival! Jackie was selected from a pool of statewide auditions. The festival will be held in Bangor January 2-4, 2020.


Bowdoin Field Trip 2019Ms. Lake-Adams and her students in the History of Modern Conflict seminar visited Bowdoin College to hear Brian Babson deliver a message on the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula. As a visiting professor at Bowdoin, Babson drew on his economic development background (and several visits to North Korea) to discuss how security concerns and economic issues intersect in North and South Korea. It was a detailed, yet fascinating, start to seminar’s section about the Korean conflict.


Each year, NYA works throughout the fall to help provide some wish-list items for local families in need. For the past several years, we have teamed up with Molly McMahon, NYA class of 1995, daughter of Jack McMahon, former Middle School English teacher, and sister of Tim McMahon ’93, former Middle School art teacher. Molly works with immigrant families seeking asylum in the United States. While many of their needs include the basics, such as warm clothes, shoes, boots, pots and pans, dishes, etc., we are sure to also include toys and special gifts. The entire school community joins together for this great cause. We will be holding several Dress Down Days for Holiday Families in the coming weeks.


The Thirst Project is one of the Key Club International Service Projects that we are sponsoring this year. It is a nonprofit organization started by college students. Their goal is to educate students about the global water crisis and provide safe drinking water to communities around the world that do not have the same immediate and easy access that we have. Since the Thirst Project is Key Club’s main project, we wanted to share their inspiring message with everyone so that, during future fundraisers, they know what organization they are donating to and why donating is so important and impactful (it only costs $25 to provide safe drinking water to one person for life). Representatives from the Thirst Project will be presenting to students in grades five through 12 on Tuesday, October 22, and we will sponsor a Dress Down Day to support the project on Wednesday, October 23 ($3).  ~Ellie Hilscher, Class of 2020, NYA Key Club President


District II auditions will take place on Thursday, October 24.  Students will leave from the arena at 3:00 p.m. to head to Windham Middle School for the auditions. Parents may pick up their students directly from the audition or students may take the bus back to NYA. The bus will return to the arena at approximately 8:00 p.m. Students may want to bring a snack or money to purchase snacks at the auditions. The District II Music Festivals will be on January 10 and 11 at Oxford Hills High School (Instrumental) and January 31 and February 1 at Windham High School (Vocal).

HALLOWEENHalloween 2018 Mr Gagne

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). 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 schedule on Halloween, followed by the Halloween Parade in the gym at 2:00 p.m. The parade is an all school event in which students share their costumes with the school and have the chance to win prizes in categories such as “Best Small Group,” “Scariest,” or “Most Original.”  Parents are welcome to come and check out all of the fun.


Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 7 from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, November 8 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. There is no school for students on these two days. Each conference will last 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 seeing 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 obtain a summary email from the teacher.


From 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 3, we will welcome prospective middle and upper school families to campus for an Open House. It is a terrific look into the NYA community, and we encourage you to share the news with friends, family, and neighbors. If you have questions or would like some material to leave with friends, please contact the Admission Office at admission@nya.org.



Under the leadership of Eliot Grady’s advisory group, we are holding a Dress Down Day on Wednesday, November 6 to sponsor a student who hopes to attend the Siddhartha School in Ladakh, India. As little as $360 will pay for a student’s tuition, books, and other school expenses. NYA has a special relationship with the Siddhartha School. Khen Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk and founder of the Siddhartha School, is a frequent visitor to NYA and presented the Academy with our prayer wheel in the spring of 2017. In addition, Stanzin Angmo, NYA Class of 2016, attended Siddhartha prior to coming to NYA in her junior year. Stanzin Angmo is currently a senior at Bennington College in Vermont and returns to Ladakh each summer to help educate the community on women’s and children’s health issues. $3 Donation


The NYA community is working to support the Preble Street Shelter by collecting donations of food to stock their shelves for the upcoming holidays. Seasonally, and especially with the start of colder weather, they are in need of extra supplies to serve the individuals and families who rely on their help. Between Wednesday, November 6 and Friday, November 15, students are asked to bring donations of the following items to the Middle School: Stuffing Mix; Rice; Pasta; Gravy; Canned Fruit and Vegetables; Coffee; Canned Soup; Canned Beans; and Cooking Oils. Parents may also drop off donations when they come in for conferences on November 7 and 8. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Friday, November 15. Thank you for your generosity!


  • NYA Outing Club: On November 6-7, NYA’s Outing Club will hosting its first trip of the year, an overnight hiking trip to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Carter Notch Hut. Mr. Ramsey will take up to 12 Upper School students. They will depart at noon on Wednesday, November 6 and return by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 7. The trip will involve a four-mile hike into the hut, and back out the next day, as well as a short day hike. Students will  help cook dinner themselves and will stay in unheated bunk rooms. Gear may be available to borrow. The cost is $55, and financial aid is available. There is a sign-up sheet in Mr. Ramsey’s classroom in Higgins Hall. For more information, contact Ian Ramsey.
  • Guided Mindfulness Sessions: Ian Ramsey will host his monthly guided mindfulness session from 7:00 to 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 13 in the Middle School Community Room. No experience necessary, and beginners are welcome and encouraged. NYA will provide some meditation cushions, but participants are encouraged to bring a pillow to sit on if possible (or can sit on chairs if that is more comfortable). All are welcome!
  • The Brain Trust: The third meeting of the “Brain Trust” parents group will be on Tuesday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Community Room. The group, facilitated by Ian Ramsey, is a forum to discuss emerging brain and health science and its significance for children and adults. The event is open to NYA parents and the general public.


Lower School Drama is presenting Disney’s Winnie the Pooh KIDS next month. All students in grades one through four will participate in the production. Toddler, Primary, and fifth grade students will have the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal on Tuesday, November 19. Lower School students have been hard at work since September bringing the story of Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, Roo, Christopher Robin, and all their friends to life. The performance of Winnie the Pooh KIDS is on Wednesday, November 20, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford. It is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!


Wreath on science bldgWhile it seems impossible that holiday decorations could be on anyone’s mind, it is on ours! The NYA Parents’ Association is once again kicking off our annual Wreath Sale. As you may know, the PA’s mission is to promote school spirit, foster community, and support and strengthen NYA through programming and volunteer participation. Fundraising is a crucial part of this, and as our top fundraiser, the NYA Wreath Sale will enable us to continue to award grants to faculty and students, host speakers, support faculty and staff appreciation programming and other division specific events, and much more. We are combining efforts with Project Graduation’s Poinsettia Sale, a fundraiser organized by parents of seniors to help pay for a fun and safe post-graduation party for NYA’s class of 2020. Click Here To Order Your Wreaths And Poinsettias. Please spread the word to family, friends, neighbors, and local businesses.  Your involvement makes all the difference!  ~ Stacey Schuler-Cannon, Wreath Sale Chair and Corinne Larson, Poinsettia Sale Chair


10/22 Thirst Project Presentation, NYA Gym 10:00 a.m.
10/23 Dress Down Day for Thirst Project $3
10/24 District II Music Festival Auditions, Windham Middle School
10/25 End of First Quarter
10/29 Dress Down Day for Holiday Families $3
10/31 Halloween Festivities and Parade; Special Schedule  2:00-3:00 p.m.
11/3 Middle and Upper School Open House 1:00-3:00 p.m.
11/6 Veterans Day Flagpole Ceremony, Front Lawn  7:50 a.m.
11/6 Dress Down Day for Siddhartha School $3
11/6-11/15 Bring in Donations for Preble Street
11/7-11/8 Parent-Teacher Conferences NO SCHOOL
11/11 Veterans Day NO SCHOOL
11/11 Deadline for Wreath and Poinsettia Orders
11/12 Brain Trust Parents Group, MSCR 6:30 p.m.
11/13 Guided Mindfulness, MSCR 7:00-7:30 a.m.
11/13 US Athletic Recognition Evening, NYA Gym 6:00 p.m.
11/15 Dress Down Day for Preble Street
11/20 Lower School Drama Performance, Safford 2:30 p.m.
11/21 Make-A-Wish Choral Concert, First Universalist Church 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
11/22 Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/25-11/29 Thanksgiving Break
12/2 Classes resume
12/7 NYA Holiday Craft Fair
12/11 Middle School Evening with the Arts  5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
12/17 Upper School Winter Concert, NYA Gym 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.




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