Each year, Andover welcomes 30-35 new students who enroll as Post-Graduates (PGs). These students have already completed four years of a conventional high school education and come to Andover from all over the world. Many PGs come to Andover to hone their athletic abilities to prepare for college athletics. On Andover’s fields, rinks and courts, these PGs have an immense impact on the teams they play for.
In an interview with The Phillipian, Football Head Coach Leon Modeste described PGs as players who bring guidance and a wealth of experience to their teams.
Modeste said, “They bring a lot of leadership because they come from virtually all over the Americas. They bring a lot of experience and different levels of play. They bring us grit because they have had experience. They’ve done the whole Friday night lights thing. One of the things that happens at Andover that doesn’t necessarily happen at other schools is that our PGs aren’t apart from our team. In fact, we only choose PGs to fill holes. I think they are embraced right away because they are filling holes.”
Field Hockey Head Coach Kate Dolan added, “In general, PGs are exceptionally consistent, reliable and dependable – they have more experience, so they tend to be strong role models and leaders by example. [PGs] Jacqueline Diffley ’16 and Olivia Golini ’16 both bring a great deal of experience, poise and athleticism to [Andover Field Hockey].” Dolan also recognized the great attitudes shown by her PG players in the influential roles they play on the team. Dolan said, “Golini is our starting goalie, so, by her position alone, she has a great deal of impact. Diffey is a forward and an incredibly unselfish player. They are leaders by example, and their teammates value and respect their skills, their leadership and their goodness, above all.”
Modeste also praises another redeeming quality of PGs: their ability to play meaningful roles in their respective teams while integrating themselves into a new school environment.
“What these kids are doing is amazing because they come from all kinds of different cultures, and we’re asking them to be Seniors but they have the experience of a [Junior]. They are still new students. For many of them it’s the first time they are away for a significant time away from home. That’s a lot, and we’re asking them to be leaders and complete our team,” said Modeste.
Many PGs’ transitions to Andover are streamlined by their team’s seasoned group of veterans who reach out to new teammates.
“I think our Captains John Simourian ’16 and Jumaane Ford ’16, along with our seasoned guys like DeWitt Burnham ’16, Jack Belluche ’16 and Matt Whalen ’16, are the core guys who have been here for three or four years,” said Modeste. “They have made it comfortable for the new guys because they set a nice tone of camaraderie. So the PGs just join them. Everyone’s sort of in it together.”
Modeste cites Andover’s 2013 NEPSAC Championship team as a good example of a tightly knit group complemented by a strong selection of PGs.
“You have to understand that that core group of Seniors two years before didn’t win a game. We went 13 games without winning a game. So those kids had been together through the absolute worst. But you could see these guys were together. And when we put that group of PGs with them, that was quite a team,” concluded Modeste. That season, PG running back Matt Ilalio ’14 averaged 8.8 yards per carry, while quarterback Ian Maag ’14 recorded an average of 131 passing yards per game.
Female PGs also made a big impact, most notably shown by Field Hockey goalie Hayley Silva ’15, who played an integral role in the team’s undefeated regular season record. With Silva’s strong defensive prowess, Andover outscored its opponents 55-23 on the season.
This fall, PGs have continued to serve as leaders and role models in Andover athletics. While the Boys Varsity Cross Country team has not seen many PGs in recent years, the team welcomed Patrick Dolan ’16 this season. Boys Cross Country Head Coach Patrick Reilly said, “Patrick has great running and leadership experience, and I have no doubt that he will contribute to another successful cross country season.”
Boys Varsity Soccer also enjoyed the addition of several PGs, adding Brad Schlosser ’16, Myles Romm ’16 and Alejandro Diaz ’16 to the roster.
Boys Soccer Head Coach Will Orben said, “PGs can take up any role within the soccer team. Sometimes they are key goal scorers or shot stoppers, but they can also be dedicated position players who fill a need within the group. I really appreciate that our team includes PGs and that during a short period of time they become essential parts of our whole.”
Orben added, “Last year, one of our PGs gave a terrific half time speech to the team that showed his own maturity but also his appreciation of the Andover experience and its value. It was inspiring for all of us, and it shows how much PGs can bring to the school in a short period of time because they have a unique exposure to the school and a valuable viewpoint.”
Orben added, “They often have a calming and balancing effect on the team because they are mature student athletes who know how to work really hard while keeping a healthy sense of the bigger picture.”