Decorating Committee and Students Prepare for Exeter Weekend; Andover Teams Go Undefeated

In their 129th year, the Andover-Exeter athletic competitions have continued to impress students, faculty, and alumni. This year, festivities spread beyond the playing fields and into the community. Andover spirit week began last Thursday with the traditional Exeter geek day. Sporting bright red outfits and bearing their TI-83 calculators, Phillips Academy students roamed campus dressed as Exeter geeks. The elaborate costumes entertained and sparked a wave of school spirit that seemed to emanate from everywhere. Experiencing the Andover-Exeter rivalry for the first time, Aditya Mithal ’10 said, “It was fun seeing everyone dressed up in red; it really got us new students excited for the weekend games.” On Friday, tradition continued as students donned the Andover blue and white. Later that evening, students flocked to the pep rally in the football stadium. Led by the Blue Key heads, Andover cheers echoed through the night as each class took advantage of their opportunity to express their Andover pride. Blue Key Head Sam Gould ’07 said, “The overwhelming participation from each class at the pep rally showed that everyone was involved in the atmosphere of the week.” This year there was a surprise for many students as the pep rally ended with a literal bang – a fireworks display concluded the pep rally. The 25-minute show dazzled the school and local community. The fireworks show has returned after a three-year absence. According to Dean of Students and Residential Life Marlys Edwards, “Each time we have fireworks it’s because an anonymous donor has given money to the school to do them.” Lawrence Dai ’09 said, “I couldn’t believe that these fireworks were all for the students of our school. They were extremely impressive.” The fireworks were not the only new addition to this year’s sprit week – Danny Silk ’07 created formed the Andover Campus Decorating Committee (ACDC) last year. He said, “Every year, there is a big hype leading to Andover- Exeter week. However, while the students always get involved by dressing up, the campus always has remained the same.” Silk applied for an Abbot grant so that ACDC could prepare the actual campus for Andover Exeter. The club, now led by Edward Kang ‘07 and Stuart Anderson ’07, put up blue lights and posters all over campus, tying a banner across the columns of Samuel Phillips Hall. On Friday during advising period, the members of ACDC, paraded around campus behind Interim Head of School Becky Sykes, who wore a blue gown and distributed blue beads. ACDC member Molly Ozimek-Maier ‘07 said, “We are trying to bring unity to campus before the big game. We felt that the blue decorations on campus were constant reminders for school pride.” Since the club is composed of Seniors, the current board will nominate members from 2008 for the club. Through the years, students have used pranks as a less conventional way to express school spirit during Andover-Exeter week. In 2000, Andover students placed 60 blue-painted mice in the Exeter library, forcing it to be evacuated. Another prank occurred in 2002 when PA students sent roughly 1000 wrappers of Wrigley’s Big Red chewing gum filled with already chewed gum to the rival school in individual envelopes with messages to “chew up Exeter.” This year, unknown Phillips Academy students snuck more than 100 crickets into the Exeter library, making for a noisy study environment. Upperclassmen typically carry out these pranks to make their final Andover-Exeter memorable and to emphasize their Andover pride. Aside from uniting a community, school spirit can motivate individuals. Gould, a member of the Boys’ Varsity Soccer team, said, “It was incredible seeing and hearing the fans that were cheering for us. The fans really got the adrenaline pumping and made the team want to play harder.” Andover’s school spirit extends beyond school boundaries. Three years ago, Alumni Affairs and the technology department started an online broadcast of the Andover-Exeter game. Alumni Affairs established the system so that Phillips Academy alumni could watch the game at home with their families. A total of 1,116 viewers tuned into the game this past weekend for an average duration of 68 minutes. Whether battling the Big Red on the field, dressing up as an Exeter geek, hanging blue lights, or cheering on the Big Blue there are many ways to express Andover school spirit, the past week was filled with school pride that set the mood for Andover football’s big win on Saturday.