Upper School Newsletter for November 13, 2016

This past week was an exciting one at NYA. More than any election I remember as an educator, this one has engaged many more students. The individual emotions that the campaigning and election results have generated are amplified on all sides, and for different reasons. On the morning of November 9, I spoke at gathering about the immense gift we are given every four years to voice our opinion and elect a new president. The gift lies in the concept of a peaceful transition of power. We don’t have to worry about the trials and tribulations that citizens in many other countries face when political power changes hands.

It is fitting that we celebrate Veterans Day a few days after these elections. It is a reminder that men and women put their lives on the line to preserve this amazing experiment in Democracy. It was reported that after the Constitutional Convention when Ben Franklin was asked if the government that was created was a republic or a monarchy, he replied without hesitation: “a republic, if you can keep it.” He knew that the likelihood of a continuing peaceful transfer of political power would be tenuous.

Every four (or eight) years, the people are responsible for continuing this peaceful transfer. We are called upon to respond to changes in leadership by either losing with grace or winning with humility. It is a disposition that students learn in athletics and, in this case, it is essential to the civility of our polity.

This past week provided an authentic political and moral lesson for our students. Every four years, we are grateful for the opportunity.

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


On November 16, Jon Turk will give the first annual Kaffmann Lecture.  Jon is an author, scientist, and world-class expeditioner who has been a National Geographic “Explorer of the Year.”  He also has a PhD in Organic Chemistry and wrote the first environmental science textbook to be used in colleges, back in the 1970s. Jon’s expeditions have included kayaking from Japan to Alaska, circumnavigating Ellesmere Island, paddling around Cape Horn, first ascents of big walls on Baffin Island, and first ski descents in Kyrgyzstan. He is the author of four books about his expeditions, in addition to the Environmental Science textbook.

Jon will give a presentation to the Upper School and Middle School during the day, and that evening, he will speak with the public at 6:30 in Higgins Hall (music building).

Here’s an example of a Ted Talk by Jon about the evolution of the human brain.

Please join us on the 16th!


The Lower School Drama Club will be presenting Willy Wonka KIDS on Wednesday, November 16, at 2:30 p.m. in Safford.  Lower school students in grades 1-4 (with a few kindergarten students) have been hard at work since September bringing the story of Willy Wonka, his chocolate factory, and the five Golden Ticket winners to life.  The play is free and open to the public.golden-ticket


Congratulations to the NYA students who recently auditioned for the District II Music Festival!  These students auditioned in a group of roughly 1,300 area middle and high school musicians for a spot in January’s festival.  All of NYA’s students had remarkably strong showings, and we are happy to announce that several students were accepted to the festival!  They are:

MIDDLE SCHOOL BAND: Madeleine Vaillancourt, flute; Laini Frager, clarinet; Camille Beaudoin, trumpet; Mike Hynes, baritone MIDDLE SCHOOL CHORUS: Jackie Ellsworth, soprano; Laini Frager, soprano; Madeleine Vaillancourt, alto MIDDLE SCHOOL ORCHESTRA: Laini Frager, violin; Madeleine Vaillancourt, cello HIGH SCHOOL BAND: Milla Rosenfeld, flute; Bronwen Ramsey-Brimberg, mallet percussion HIGH SCHOOL TREBLE CHORUS: Bronwen Ramsey-Brimberg, soprano HIGH SCHOOL MIXED CHORUS: Suzanna Butterfield, alto; Lindsay Tufts, alto; Justin Guo, tenor; Pierce Manchester, tenor; Jim Yu, tenor HIGH SCHOOL ORCHESTRA: Troy Hou, violin; Matt McGrath, bass.

From Cathy Jakubowitch (Jack Kostelnik’17, Xander Kostelnik’19)pumpkin-pie

A big shout out to any bakers (or baker-want-to-be) in the NYA community! It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Here is an opportunity for NYA families to reach out and help others who may be experiencing difficult times…in the form of a pumpkin pie (or 2 or 3)!

Every year the Root Cellar collects pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving meal baskets that will go to families in the Greater Portland area who are in need. This is a tough time for many families and there is an increased need for food this year.

It has been a tradition for the past 11 years for the Cumberland/NorthYarmouth Family Network to contribute pies to the Root Cellar, and as residents of North Yarmouth our family has donated pies yearly. This year I thought I would extend an invitation to all NYA families/students to join in on this simple yet fulfilling activity. For information on how to join this effort, click here.


It’s not too late!  

Orders for Wreaths and Poinsettias are still being collected— but not for long!

Deadlines are this week:

For Wreaths, Monday November 14.
For Poinsettias, Wednesday November 16

Order forms are available at all NYA Offices, the above links, and on the NYA website.  Thank you to everyone who has already placed their orders. Your support of NYA’s  Parents’ Association and Project Graduation are greatly appreciated!

Pick Up times will be Thursday December 1 and Friday December 2:   7:40 – 9:00 a.m.  and  2:30 – 6:00 p.m.


Mark Your Calendars! The Parents’ Association will host the Annual Holiday Craft Fair and Book Sale on Saturday, December 3rd, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in the gymnasium and Safford Center. This annual event is held in conjunction with a town-wide Hometown Holidays celebration.  Get a jump on your holiday shopping while browsing over sixty talented and unique vendors from across the state. Enjoy a sit-down lunch at the NYA Café and listen to holiday music by the NYA Chorus.

A special raffle table filled with vendor’s goodies will benefit Project Graduation, and of course the Parent’s Association will have a table selling all the NYA Gear you need!

The Holiday Craft Fair is a substantial fundraiser for the Parent’s Association. Money raised from booth rental fees helps support NYA teacher grant requests. But, it’s your  participation that makes these vendors want to return year after year.

As always, we are looking for a few volunteers to help set up on Friday,  move vendors in, and take down on Saturday.  Please visit this link to sign up for a slot.  Help Out & Feel Good!

HOLIDAY BOOTCAMP ’16shelby-trained

Holiday Bootcamp is a program that provides adults with a great all-around workout using body weight, kettlebells, dumbbells, stability balls, as well as other movement in circuit style training sessions. And, it allows you to claim you’ve been “Shelby Trained”. There are three weeks of classes from November 28 through December 16, one session at 8:00 a.m. and one session at 12:00 p.m.

Click here to see more details and contact information.


Every year, our NYA community supports the Preble Street Shelter by collecting donations of food to stock their shelves for the upcoming holidays. Seasonally, and especially with the early cold weather, they are in need of extra supplies to serve the individuals and families who rely on their help. Between Monday, November 7 and Monday, November 14, 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. In celebration of the spirit of giving, students will enjoy a Dress Down Day on Monday, November 14. Thank you for your generosity!

CALL FOR BOOKSbook-tree-ipod-2

The NYA Library is once again holding its book sale at this year’s Holiday Craft Fair, and we would like your gently used, saleable books.  We will accept books for ANY age, young children through adults. You can drop off your books in the NYA Library or at the reception desks in the Lower and Middle Schools. Please contact Librarian Jill O’Connor with any questions.


 11/14Dress down day for Holiday Families (cost: non perishable item(s).
 11/16First Annual Kauffmann Lecture: Jon Turk 6:30 p.m. in Higgins
 11/18Senior Speeches: Daniel Edgerton Dickey, Savannah Shaw, Henry Briggs
11/18Last day of classes before Thanksgiving Break
11/21First day of MPA Athletics. Check the Athletic Schedule for practice times.
11/28Classes resume
 12/2 Senior Speeches: Andrew Ray, CJ Conner, Sam Johnson 10:15 in the Gym
 12/3 NYA Craft Fair 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
12/7Dress Down Day to benefit Holiday Families
Math Meet # 3 at Freeport H.S.
12/8Student Recital: Suzanna Butterfield and the Jazz Combo6:30 p.m. in Higgins
12/9Senior Speeches: Suzanna Butterfield, Grace Dexter, Haven Cutko10:15 in the Gym