Senior Tea Hostess Barbara Cataudella Retires After 23 Years, Nancy Kashanek to Take Her Place

For the first time, Barbara Cataudella enjoyed a Senior Tea that she did not host herself. Friends and former work duty students bid Cataudella, the recently retired Senior Tea hostess, farewell during a Senior Tea on October 11 planned in her honor. “Twenty-three years of fun,” Cataudella called her time serving as the Senior Tea hostess. Cataudella acted as the hostess for Senior Tea starting in November 1984, the second person in Phillips Academy’s history to host the tri-weekly occurrences. By the time she retired last June, she had hosted Senior Tea for 23 PA classes. Senior Tea is an informal event exclusively for Seniors, held in the Underwood Room during conference period on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of each week. The hostess works with Commons to provide tea, coffee, hot chocolate and other refreshments. Prior to becoming the hostess for Senior Tea, Cataudella used to drive her three children to Phillips Academy for school, for a combined total of seven years. “My car automatically went to Phillips Academy [when I drove them to school], and then when I started working here, my car automatically went to Phillips Academy again,” said Cataudella. In addition to her role as the hostess of Senior Tea, Cataudella rotated working for the Summer Session program, the Head of School Office, the Admissions Office, the Music Department, and the Language Learning Center during her career at Phillips Academy. Her favorite, however, has always been hosting Senior Tea. Dean of Students Marlys Edwards said, “Her heart has always been in Senior Tea. In her heart, she has never left this place.” Vimala Mohammed, Administrative Assistant in the Dean of Students Office said, “I enjoyed sending all the work duty students to her. If they came as Lowers, they usually wanted to stay [in the Senior Tea work duty program] until they were seniors, because they thought it was such a cool place to do work duty.” “In the days prior to the existence of the catering department in Commons, Cataudella would wake up at 6 a.m. on the Senior Tea days, shop for groceries, bake, and bring all the food in herself,” Mohammed wrote in an email. Reflecting back on her time at Andover, Cataudella thinks of her tenure in terms of the nourishment she’s provided. “I’ve often tried to calculate how many cups of coffee, how many cups of tea, how many cups of hot chocolate, but I could never quite figure it out,” she said. One of her most memorable experiences as hostess includes “the day the boy came through on a skateboard, [and] crashed.” She also remembered when the school had flooded after a day of heavy rain. “Within half an hour, OPP cleaned up the whole mess, and Senior Tea went on as usual,” Cataudella said. She continued, “We managed to have it most every day. I knew it was something the kids depended upon, and I knew they’d be let down if there was no Senior Tea.”