Abbot Academy Association Awards $163,439 in Grants

A Chinese dragon, colorful lights in Uncommons and Medieval weaponry are among the new additions to Phillips Academy’s campus in the coming year, thanks to this fall’s Abbot Grants. After discussing the proposals for two days, the 11 members of the Abbot Academy Association chose 29 recipients at Phillips Academy for Abbot Grants. The Abbot Academy Association distributed a total of $163,439 to students, faculty, clubs, sports teams and other groups on campus, ranging from $100 to $25,000. The Association will sponsor the purchase of colorful staging lights in Uncommons for a comfortable ambiance that “will enhance the mood in such a cold place,” said Cindy Efinger, Director of Student Activities. Efinger, who received one of the larger Abbot grants, said that the idea of the lights for Uncommons came from student suggestions. The lights may be ready by January, but if not, they will be in place from Spring Term until the opening of the new Commons. After the opening, the lights will be donated to the Andover Theatre and Dance department. A highlight of this fall’s Abbot grants was the money distributed from the Craig Thorn IV Memorial Fund for Student Media. Funds donated in Thorn’s memory were used specifically to fund media-related proposals. Natalie Schorr, Abbot Academy Association Coordinator, said, “Being able to award the Craig Thorn award was special this time.” The two recipients of the Craig Thorn IV Memorial Fund this fall were Philip Oasis ’09 and Philip Hofer ’10. Oasis will use the money to purchase two additional cameras for the school yearbook, Pot Pourri. He said, “We previously had ten photographers and only three cameras, so we really needed cameras.” With the added cameras, students can now cover more school events to provide the yearbook with better pictures. Hofer, who also received one of larger student grants, will purchase equipment for WPAA to sponsor live music events. The Abbot Academy Association awarded another student grant to Andrew Clay ’08, captain of the Andover Cycling Team, to buy four new team bikes. Clay said, “Riders using the current team bikes are at a distinct disadvantage to the other riders in the league. These new bikes would help create a level playing field between Andover riders using the team bikes and other league riders.” The bikes will be ready before this spring’s cycling season. Clay added, “Coach Zaeder and I are hoping and planning to have a race on campus this spring, possibly spurring more interest in the sport.” Money was also granted to support enrichment in languages over the summer. John Maier, Instructor in Spanish, received a grant to use as scholarships for students participating in a summer study-abroad program in Spain. Charles Clerc, Instructor in French, will start an educational summer program for students in France this year. The Abbot Academy also continued to fund projects from last year. Emma Frey, Instructor in History, Malinda Blustain, Director of the Peabody Museum, and Donald Slater, an Educator and Assistant Collection Manager at the Peabody Museum, plan to develop and augment the medieval weaponry unit to introduce History 100 students to Medieval combat. Frey said, “We plan to let students touch and try on the various pieces of armor we have in the collection this winter as a follow up to the Fall term’s trebuchet lesson, which was created as a result of an Abbot Grant last fall.” Abbot Academy awarded the Chinese Language Club $3,000 to buy a 50-foot long fluorescent dragon costume and a new lion costume for the New Year’s Festival and to fund a performance by an off-campus group Ben Laccetti ’08, president of the Chinese Club, said, “The Chinese Club has wanted to do this for a long time. It was Mr. Conley, the rest of the board and I who ultimately got the ball rolling.” Dancers Brenna Liponis ’10 and Liz Lavin ’10 were awarded a grant to start a new organization called Twinkle Toes. PA dancers will teach young children in Lawrence basic skills for movement and creative expression. Liponis and Lavin are very excited to start Twinkle Toes. They said, “We would be teaching children who wouldn’t have gotten the chance to dance and express themselves otherwise, and maybe even influence these children to be passionate about dance.” The Abbot Academy Association strives to sponsor a large variety of proposals and ideas and encourages students and faculty to take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity. The board will approve another round of grants this year in April 2008 deadline. More information can be found at the organization’s website,