Orientation Activities Begin As New Students Arrive at Andover

During the weekend prior to the start of school, students new to Phillips Academy participated in two days of Orientation activities, including a tour of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library and an overview of the online resources available for students. The Orientation will continue into the second weekend of school, featuring activities such as a ropes course challenge held in the Sanctuary. The Student Activities Office, in conjunction with the student Orientation leaders, the Blue Key Society, organize weekend activities. Blue Keys Heads rotate each year and include two representatives of the Senior class from each of the five clusters. Day students also participate fully in Orientation through their respective clusters and through a special mentoring program which began this year. As the schedule remained largely the same as last year, the first new students to arrive on campus were new international students, who registered on September 3 to participate in their own Orientation. The Blue Key Orientation Staff then returned to campus on September 5 for their orientation before the rest of the new students arrived on Saturday, September 6. On the 6th, new students and their parents driving to campus along Main Street were greeted by screaming Blue Keys holding signs, whistles and horns and blasting music. “I was incredibly impressed not only by the Blue Keys’ energy and enthusiasm, but also by their great job pulling together to put orientation together,” said Flagstaff Blue Key Head Steve Travierso ’04. Parents attended an opening reception in the Shuman Admissions Center before they met their child’s house counselors, academic advisors and cluster deans. Parents of new Seniors and post-graduates also had the opportunity to meet with their child’s college counselor. Furthermore, parents and students planning to be involved in student-run cultural clubs such as the Af-Lat-Am Society and the Asian Society attended informational meetings. Following these meetings and a more formal welcome meeting in the Cochran Chapel for students and parents, new students participated in their own activities in groups led by each cluster’s Blue Key Orientation Staff. Such activities included “get-to-know-you” games such as duck-duck-goose and freeze tag. All families were asked to depart campus by 5:30 p.m. so that their child might fully participate in the Orientation activities. New students also met with their academic advisors later in the evening. On Sunday, September 7, new students participated in a full day of Orientation activities, including a building tour and technology, library, and community service informational sessions. This year’s Orientation also included a new scavenger hunt. The day concluded with a matriculation ceremony in Cochran Chapel, in which new students were officially welcomed to the Academy community. The same day, returning students arrived and registered. On Monday, students received their academic schedules and took necessary academic exams. New Uppers and Seniors also took a required swim test, while auditions for Theatre 520 and Dance 400 were held. Monday night, Seniors and faculty enjoyed a dessert reception at Phelps House as cluster meetings were held for all students. This Saturday, orientation activities will continue with additional information sessions, including a tour of the Community and Multicultural Development and Brace Center buildings, an introduction to the theatre program, and team building activities in the Cochran Sanctuary.