Northern School Notebook: May 4

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NYA grant boosts learning commons project

A $50,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation will contribute to North Yarmouth Academy’s $700,000 renovation and expansion of the library space at 148 Main St. 

The NYA Learning Commons will be the “nerve center of the school,” according to a news release, and provide “state-of-the-art” space for online education, tutoring, content creation, meetings and studying.

The scope of the project more than doubles the current space to 3,250 square feet. The NYA Learning Commons will provide the structure and space for information technology, online education, tutoring, collaboration, content creation, meeting, reading, and study.

In addition to providing space for NYA’s Upper and Middle School students, the NYA Learning Commons will also support various Lower School programs, including new early literacy and science, technology, engineering and math learning known as STEM.

The Davis Family Foundation grant will be combined with donations from NYA families and other commitments from benefactors that bring the full total committed to $400,000 for the Learning Commons project.

NYA also held a soiree on April 27 at Thompson’s Point, during which $226,040 was raised – $153,300 of which will be put towards the learning commons. NYA will continue to raise the funds needed to complete the $700,000 project through additional private and foundation gifts. 

The Davis Family Foundation is a public charitable foundation established by Phyllis C. Davis and H. Halsey Davis of Falmouth to support educational, medical, and cultural/arts organizations located primarily in Maine. 

“NYA is deeply appreciative of the Davis Family Foundation’s commitment to supporting 21st Century learning for our students,” Head of School Ben Jackson said in a news release. “The NYA Learning Commons will be a major resource to ensure the Academy is preparing our students for success in today’s changing world.”

DaPonte String Quartet hosts free student workshop 

The DaPonte String Quartet is accepting applications to its annual three-day Quartet Workshop for High School String Players at Camp Kieve’s Wavus campus in Jefferson this September.

Every year since 2001 the Quartet has mentored some of the best aspiring young players in Maine—and as of last year, from urban schools out of state – in the beautiful, secluded and relaxed lakeside setting, at no cost to students.

The three-day weekend is dedicated to the study of chamber music, its preparation and performance, through the great works of the string quartet literature. Twenty students, selected by audition, are organized into five string quartets. They are coached in the round by the individual members of the DaPonte String Quartet (violinists Lydia Forbes and Ferdinand Liva, violist Kirsten Monke and cellist Myles Jordan).

The coaching sessions focus on the elements of ensemble playing: listening, communication, cueing, rhythm, intonation, blending, and theory and music history. At the completion of the workshop, a concert is presented by all the students for parents and friends. For some, this is a student’s first exposure to playing chamber music, and it is an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Last year the Quartet implemented a long-held goal of inviting string players from urban performing arts schools outside Maine to participate, in order to broaden the experience for all students. Their travel costs are largely underwritten by the Friends of the DaPonte String Quartet. The cost of food and lodging for all students is made possible by an endowment created by the Kennedy family, founders of Camp Kieve, in 2001.

This year’s workshop runs from Sept. 21-23. The deadline for applications is June 15. To apply, visit

The Falmouth varsity boys’ lacrosse team, along with Coach Dave Barton, volunteered at the Portland 10 Miler to benefit Spurwink Services on April 22. The inaugural race attracted 1,600 runners and benefited a statewide behavioral health nonprofit.

This spring, Greely Middle School students who took home first- and second-place medals in the Maine National History Day will be competing in the nationals in Washington, D.C., June 10-14. From left are Connor Albert, Devin Gifford, Don Strawbridge, Meredith Cloutier, Matthew Gibert, Lucie Noonan andTeddy Conway.