Taking Off the Skirt; Blue Key Heads Pass the Torch

From screaming contests to dirty dancing, Blue Key Head candidates were put to the test this week as the current heads conducted interviews to select next year’s school spirit leaders. Beginning Monday, Blue Key Head hopefuls could be seen and heard as they did Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in Ryley Room, screamed across campus, and cheered in Commons. From a pool of about thirty applicants, only ten students will be chosen to represent their clusters next year at athletic events and during the Andover/Exeter pep rallies. Each pair of Blue Keys must have both a male and a female, however, some clusters have had a dearth of male candidates; Abbot Cluster has had no applications from males as of yet. Throughout the week, teams of two Blue Key Heads interviewed the candidates from their respective clusters. On Thursday, March 30 at 8:00, the current heads met with Director of Student Activities Cindy Efinger to discuss each applicant; they will conduct interviews for each candidate, and cluster deans will have the final say in the decision. Each Blue Key duo designed interviews for their own cluster. Candidates showed up for their interviews decked out in blue and white attire to show their Andover spirit. The interviews consisted of questions, both serious and humorous, and various public challenges like screaming for as long and loud as possible and encouraging students in Lower Right to shout Andover cheers during lunch. Flagstaff (FLG) candidates were required to play a dart game, which FLG Blue Key Co-Head Kalmakis said was designed to “test their blue sharking.” West Quad South (WQS) Co-Head Fahad Missmar ’06 said, “We try to get a sense about two things: (A) why they want to be a blue key head and (B) how they react under pressure in front of other people.” WQS Co-heads Missmar and Jane Henningsen ’06 asked their hopefuls, “What animal would you have sex with?,” “How would you eat us if we were ice cream?,” and “Would you rather be salt or pepper?” They also had their applicants listen to an iPod with headphones and dance around Ryley Room. FLG candidate Liv Coffey ’07 was given a bottle of face paint and told to put on as much on as she could in 15 seconds. When asked if she had any special talents, Coffey performed the Napoleon Dynamite dance. After answering more serious questions such as how the current Blue Key Heads could have improved, West Quad North (WQN) applicant Jocelyn Gully ’07 was asked to draw a picture of James Watson ’06 with mustard and ketchup on a napkin. They also asked her, “What type of animal she would want to have a relationship with and why?,” and she was given her challenge versus Co-Head Julia Littlefield ’06 in a game of DDR. Kalmakis and FLG Co-Head Gracia Angulo ’06 tested Anne Wernikoff ’07 on the highest level of DDR. They also asked, “If you were stranded on a desert island with an Exeter student what would you do?” For her interview, Wernikoff braided her hair into cornrows, which she then colored with blue finger paint and glitter glue. She said that the permanent marker on her arms, legs, may remain for about a week after her interview. Wernikoff, who has wanted to become a Blue Key head since she arrived at Andover as a new Lower, was not afraid to show her spirit. Standing in front of Day Hall, she was asked to scream for as long and as loud as she could. Her yell turned heads of confused classmates across the campus. Wernikoff said, “I have fun being embarrassed.” Questions asked in the more serious portion of interviews included queries like “Why do you want to be a Blue Key Head?,” “What role do you think a Blue Key Head plays at the school?,” and “What is something different you have to offer?” While all the applicants interviewed for this article reported to having enjoyed their interviews, current Blue Key Heads agreed that the process is bittersweet. Kalmakis said, “We’re all going to deeply regret giving up our skirts, but we’re confident that we’ll find a group of ten people that are worthy of them.” Missmar found it harder to see the sweet side of ending his reign as WQS Head; he said, “I am not giving up my skirt.” Henningsen said about the selection process, “The decisions are going to be very hard, but we know we can’t go wrong with any of the candidates.”