Summer Opportunities Office to Hold Fair On Sunday Featuring 65 Programs, Trips

Designed as an opportunity for Phillips Academy students to discover unique programs that will allow them to have exciting summer experiences, the annual Summer Opportunities Fair will be held in the Upper Dining Halls of Commons on Sunday from 11am-3pm. The thirteen-year-old fair will host 65 programs and is the main fundraiser of the Parents of Students of Phillips Academy organization (PSPA), which collaborates with the Summer Opportunities Office to create the event. The Summer Opportunity Office sends over 350 applications to prospective companies in the fall and hosts approximately 70 of these. “We invite a wide range of summer opportunities to attend and hope to get a balanced group of exhibitors,” Director of the Summer Opportunities Office Roxanne Barry explained. Programs include a diverse range of categories, including academic, wilderness/adventure, internship, community service, and cultural opportunities. Job opportunities for students are also available. Although the fair itself is free, the PSPA charges a fee to the exhibitors for table space, and uses this money to host speaker events. Dozens of Phillips Academy students have attended programs which they discovered through the Summer Opportunities Fair. One of these students include Matt Kane, ’03, who attended the Rhode Island School of Design Pre-College Program during the summer of 2002. “My art history teacher made me see art in a completely new way, and sparked a desire in me to study art history in the future,” Kane recalled. Kane also attended the EF International Language School’s program in Florence, Italy during the Summer of 2001. “I chose to stay with a host family, as I wanted to take advantage of every chance I had to speak the language. I loved my host family. They were extremely generous, friendly and encouraging of my exploration of the city and the culture,” he said. Because the Summer Opportunities Office hopes to present a healthy balance of different types of programs to suit each student’s desires, it also includes several camp-like programs. One of these programs include the Longcare Expeditions Blue Ridge Expedition, which Charlotte MacMillan ’05 attended during the Summer of 2002. “This experience with Longacre Expeditions changed my life and I will never forget about the people that I met or about the great adventures that we shared,” MacMillan said. Caroline Kemp ’04 also participated in a program last summer which she discovered through the Summer Opportunities Office. Traveling and sightseeing in New Zealand for five weeks with the Experiment for International Living program, Kemp remarks that her summer was “really amazing.” Similar to the Rhode Island School of Design, the EF International Language School, and the Longcare Expeditions Blue Ridge Expedition, many of the programs featured at the fair have a long-standing relationship with Phillips Academy through student participation. According to Mrs. Barry, the fair originally began as an effort “to inform our PA students, as well as the public of the…Summer Opportunities available to them.” In fact, the fair is beginning one hour earlier this year, in an effort to attract even more students as they attend brunch. The Summer Opportunities Office’s resources and its accompanying fair are unique to Phillips Academy. Although peer schools have offices devoted to summer programs, none are as extensive as Andover’s. Furthermore, although other schools have fairs that adverise programs, most tend “to be camp fairs” and are not geared as exclusively to high school students as Andover’s is, according to Mrs. Barry. Deadlines are quickly approaching for many of the programs featured at the fair and Mrs. Barry advises students to remember to sign up for them. “It is a good time of year to think about summer opportunities and good to line up ideas for the next summer,” she said. Another job of the Summer Opportunities Office is to provide materials for students seeking to take off one year between graduating from Andover and attending college. 10% of last year’s graduating class took advantage of this interim year.