Upper School Newsletter for January 8, 2017

One Day at a Time.

Welcome to 2017! Like the beginning of a school year, the beginning of a new semester offers great opportunity to “start again.” For the Upper School, some students will be beginning new semester courses. All students will be able to begin anew their study of subjects important for their future success. I have noticed that it has been difficult for some students to get back in the routine of school after Winter Break. To be sure, some students reset their sleeping clocks to wake up when their bodies naturally rise, likely between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., and also to go to sleep when their bodies are ready. Let’s just admit that the latter happened later than a normal school day. Thus, the alarm bell on Tuesday morning, January 3 might have come as a shock for some students. I know it did for me. This type of stark physical readjustment can make it hard to “start again” with gusto. This is especially true when one looks at the “long haul” of an entire semester.
At the risk of sounding professorial, I suggest that Aristotle can be helpful here. He believed in the critical importance of habits. A person develops particular dispositions of strength (moral and physical) or compassion by practicing them every day. When faced with a decision to go work out, for example, one is deciding for just this one time. To look at it in the long term, that is to decide to work out every other day for the entire year, is difficult. To decide for just the one day is easier. What transpires over time, then, the habit of working out every other day for a long time. It becomes second nature. So, too, with school. To decide to “start again” with extra effort to improve academically is a daunting task when you see only the long semester ahead. To say to yourself, “Okay, today I’ll be sure to complete this assignment with greater thought and thoroughness,” is easier than saying you’ll do that every day. And, if you say this every day for two weeks, it becomes easier, and you’ve begun to habituate to approaching assignments that way. “Starting again” can be made easier by simply deciding for just that one day, one day at a time.

Of course, because we are human, I must end with a resolution of John Adams. When he was at Harvard, he wrote in his journal one day that he resolved to rise by 5:30 a.m. each day, study Latin for an hour, read for a half hour, and then take breakfast. The next entry in his journal was words to the effect of “I rose at 7:00 a.m. this morning. Such are the fate of my resolutions.”

Happy New Year!

Mr. Drisko/John Drisko
Assistant Head of School & Head of the Upper School


If you did not receive report cards for your child, email Jeanette August at jaugust@nya..org.


On Monday, you will receive an email from NYA about an exciting study being done by the University of Maine Peer Relations Lab. The purpose of this study is to learn how friends act with one another and how friends make one another feel better when one has a problem. NYA is only one school involved in this study. The goal of the entire project is to help youth have healthy relationships and feel good about themselves. Every student grades 5 through 12 is invited to participate voluntarily in this study by completing a series of three online questionnaires spaced about six weeks apart. All participants must have parental consent.university_of_maine_logo-svg

Dr. Rebecca Schwartz-Mette from UMO spoke with students on January 5 to explain the project. The email you received has more details about this study and a parental consent form. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this project. Don’t hesitate to contact John Drisko, Marissa Markonish, or Kate Danielson for further information.



Monday January 23 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. is College Planning Night for juniors and their parents. This program will feature guest speaker Gail Berson, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions at Mount Holyoke College, who will discuss what students and parents can expect from the college search and application process as it unfolds. Attendance is required for juniors, and we hope all parents will be able to attend. We will meet in the Middle School Community Room.

JANUARY 23, 24, AND 25.brenda-conlan

We are fortunate to have an engaging speaker coming to NYA to work with students in grades 7 through 12 on drug and alcohol prevention. Brenda Conlan, is a prevention specialist who works solely with students in these grades and has done so for many years, in many states and countries. She specializes in working with youth in an age appropriate manner that is not the usual “one and done” presentation to a large room of hundreds of students. Brenda will work with students in each grade in multiple sessions. Over the course of three days, grades 9 and 10 will have three grade-level sessions, and grades 11 and 12 will have two grade level sessions.

Ms. Conlan will also make a presentation to parents on the evening of January 25 on methods to help their children remain drug and alcohol free. More information will be forthcoming, but certainly save the date! Until then, you can learn more about Brenda on her website, www.brendaconlan.com.


As a reminder, Alex Kloza (Ice Arena Manager) and Caroline Anson (Alumni Relations) have arranged for a series of open skates for alumni and families. Families are also invited to bring friends and neighbors.  Open skate dates are as follows:

-Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
-Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Caroline Anson. HELMETS ARE REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE ON THE ICE. No sticks, please.


1/13/2017 Senior Speeches:  Cam Woods and Isabelle See

Experience NYA: An Admission Event

10:15 Gym

9:45 – 11:00

1/14/2017 NYA Family Friends and Alumni Open Skate 5:30-6:30
1/16/2017 No School: Martin Luther King Day observed
1/20/2017 Senior Speeches: Jack Kostelnik, Maddy Rand, Jake Malcom 10:15 Gym
1/20-21/2017 District II Instrumental Festival
 1/23-25/2017  Drug and Alcohol Educator Brenda Conlan on campus
1/27/2017 Senior Speeches: Manna Zhao, Kiersten Marr, Gabby Linscott, 10:15 Gym
1/27-28/2017 District II Choral Festival