Six of 19 Students Displaced By Hurricane Katrina Leave Phillips Academy, Return to Former Schools

After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in August, Phillips Academy accepted 19 displaced students. However, due to the re-opening of some schools in the New Orleans area, six of these students have decided to leave PA after only a term: Camille Robinson ’07, Alixe Ryan ’07, Joshua Sartisky ’07, Mallory Robinson ’06, Matt Usdin ’06, and Forrest White ’06. Though all students accepted after the hurricane had the option to remain for the entire year, a few wished to go back to their friends and homes. New Orleans, however, is still in the reconstruction process and many believed it would be better to stay at Andover until conditions in the city improved. The nieces of Dean of Studies Margarita Curtis, Camille Robinson and Mallory Robinson, both returned to their former school, Isidore-Newman School, in New Orleans for the rest of the school year. Though Camille Robinson was initially frustrated about leaving the rest of her displaced friends in Texas or Louisiana, she came to love Andover. She said, “The second I got to Andover I stayed with my best friend there Alixe [Ryan] all day every day and we were both so intimidated and scared and overwhelmed with everything that was happening. We both were dreading the first day of school, not to mention counting down the days till we would be home for good over Winter Break.” Robinson continued, “But as the semester went on, we both fell in love with the school and honestly had such a good time. We are both so glad we went to Andover as opposed to any other school in the country.” Yet both Camille and Mallory were ready to return to their home after a term at PA. Ryan left because of a commitment she made in 2004 to the U.S. House of Representatives Page program in Washington, D.C. Students live at the school, where they also serve as helpers for the representatives. She said, “Despite the circumstances, my term at Andover was incredible. Even though I was stressed and tired out of my mind for most of this past fall, I never once regretted it. I learned so much about other people and made so many friends that I will never forget.” According to Rosie DuPont ’06, White was torn between PA and New Orleans but ultimately decided to leave to “complete his experience at his old school.” However, most of the New Orleans students decided to remain at Andover for at least the winter term. Jara Crear ’08 decided to stay at PA “because I figured that the curriculum at my other school wouldn’t be up to what it used to be since there aren’t as many teachers or students and [because] people aren’t concentrating on school. Also the way that Andover works, my schedule at home would be messed up.” Lauren Owen ’06 also stayed on to complete her senior year at PA. She said, “I thought it would be better for me to stay on because of the academics, but my parents made the final decision.” The city should be ready for all of the New Orleans students to return in the fall of 2006. Ryan, who was in New Orleans over winter break, said, “The city looks and feels completely different, but the people have not changed. Everyone is so enthusiastic about rebuilding.”