American news website “Business Insider” published a video featuring Andover last week, titled “Inside the Best High School in America, Which Costs 53,000 Dollars a Year.” Since its time of publication, this three-minute video had received over 39,000 views.
Tracy Sweet, Director of Academy Communications, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The main purpose of the [series] was to explore the top-ranked independent school in the country. Each year, ‘Niche.com’ ranks schools based on a number of criteria. For the last two years, Andover has come out on top.”
She continued, “Our main message was to make it abundantly clear that Andover is accessible to the most talented and promising ‘Youth From Every Quarter.’ ”
The video was created as part of a series on Andover published by “Business Insider.” So far, an article on Andover’s admission process and a spread about the day of a life of an Andover student have been posted to accompany the video. The latter has received over 845,000 views since its publication.
Recorded earlier this fall, the video takes a look inside a U.S. History class co-taught by Head of School John Palfrey and Jennifer Elliott ’94, Dean of Students and Residential Life, and features interviews with both of them as well as with Jim Ventre, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. It also gives a tour of Chase House and various buildings on campus, including Paresky Commons and Samuel Phillips Hall.
“We hosted a reporter and videographer for a day on campus. They enjoyed a student-led tour, visited a dorm, had lunch in Paresky, and observed a class, in addition to having conversations with students, administrators, faculty, and
staff,” said Sweet.
In an interview with The Phillipian, David Tsai ’18, the “Business Insider” team’s campus tour guide, said, “The whole setting was extremely relaxed… My job was essentially just to take them on a tour around campus like I would take any other prospective family and show them the Andover experience, as I would for anyone who was interested in joining Big Blue.”
Shahinda Bahnasy ’20 was happy with the coverage of Andover.
“I thought it was such a well-filmed video and automatically put a smile on my face. If I hadn’t been at Andover already, I would most definitely hope to attend it solely based on the video… My sisters, including a sister who attends Exeter, saw the video and their perspectives changed — positively, of course,” said Bahnasy.
Hugo Solomon ’19, a student in Palfrey and Elliott’s section of U.S. History, met the reporters during class.
“They did a really excellent job of portraying what the school really is. A ton of people, in general, get misled by statistics and tuition and alumni happenings, but this isn’t a placewhere you’re constantly fighting to prove you’re the best. It’s so much more welcoming than that. It made me proud to be here,” said Solomon.
The goal during the filming of Elliott and Palfrey’s classes was to make all students feel comfortable.
Elliott said in an interview with The Phillipian that students should never feel pressured to speak to a journalist at any time, and to speak to an adult on campus if they are approached.
Another student, Alice Rogers ’19, met the reporters during her lunch period. Although she enjoyed their work, she wished that reporters had spent time with a larger variety of students. However, she expressed that the “Business Insider” team acquired a good sense ofAndover’s values.
In contrast, Elliott thought that too much emphasis was put on college admissions.
Elliott said, “My perception of the article was that there was way too much of a focus on college admissions. That wasn’t part of my remarks in anyway, in terms of college admissions… Our conversation was much more centered around that than any notion of [Andover] being a feeder school to any set of schools. I think the headline and some of the focus there was striking and surprising to me.”
There were varying reactions to the video and article among students as well.
Solomon said, “I thought the title was a little bit misleading. I mean, I’ve only been here for two months now, but it doesn’t seem like a super elitist, cutthroat, super competitive school. I know the article doesn’t really portray us like that, but the title was something like ‘One of America’s Most Elite Boarding Schools.’We are up there, definitely, but I don’t feel like that defines what our community is as much as some of the other aspects that I’ve seen so far.”
Peter Ling ’20 enjoyed the video, but thought it could have benefitted from input from more students.
He said, “I thought that David did a really good job showing the school, but I feel like maybe more students should have been speaking in that rather than just one. I feel like the audience would have liked to get more feedback from the students. I mean Mr Palfrey and Ms Elliott’s words were good but I feel like it would have been more beneficial to also have more than just one student speaking.”