Already a familiar face on campus during Orientation, Cynthia Efinger will serve as the Director of Student Activities beginning this fall, after working at Phillips Academy for 12 years as a photography teacher and water polo coach. Mrs. Efinger, whose husband is Instructor in Theater and Dance Mark Efinger, has worked as a house counselor in Rockwell North and taught photography during Andover’s Summer Session. Mrs. Efinger plans to use her first year in her new job to determine what type of activities appeal to the student body. She said that before she solidifies any specific ideas, she wants to spend “lots of time with the students” to discover their needs and desires. She plans to use the year to “kind of feel it out.” However, Mrs. Efinger said she remains open to any new ideas that students might have and will consider as many as possible, as long as they are financially prudent and supported by enough members of the community. One initiative that Mrs. Efinger feels should be implemented, however, is the facilitation of a longer and more involved relationship between Blue Key Orientation leaders and the new students whom they lead. Traditionally, although the Blue Keys spend most of Orientation with these students, the relationship between them and their wards breaks down after the first two weeks of the school year. Mrs. Efinger said that new students need continuing guidance and support from their Blue Keys for the entire first year, as many face adjustment problems throughout. Consequently, Mrs. Efinger plans to encourage this relationship through the organization of activities specifically for Blue Keys and their students throughout the year. One of the most controversial topics of last year was the logistics surrounding the Senior Prom. Kevin Driscoll, the former director of student activities, shortened the Prom by two hours, citing health concerns for students who stay up all night and then attempt to study for spring term final examinations. There was also debate over whether the traditional boat ride should be included, because students who wished to return home early would not be able to do so. Mrs. Efinger acknowledged that she has heard all of the arguments for and against the longer and shorter prom, but she needs more information before making an official decision for 2004. To gain information on such issues about the length and nature of the Prom and general information about students’ needs and desires, Mrs. Efinger plans to administer a school-wide survey. Mrs. Efinger realizes, however, that despite her efforts to accommodate as many reasonable activities as she can, no group of activities will please every student. “If kids do not want to participate [in the planning of the activities], they can’t complain if they don’t like them,” she said. Before her job at Andover, Mrs. Efinger spent most of her life running Cindy Studios, a photography studio that she owned. Mrs. Efinger’s love for teaching and interacting with young people brought her to the Academy, although she was required to give up her photography business. Mrs. Efinger was educated at the University of Utah, where she received a degree in Communications. She has two college-aged sons, Nathan and Tanner ’02, and a third son, Trevor, who attends Lawrence Academy, a private school in Groton, Mass.
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