Students and Faculty Receive Abbot Grants to Fund Academic and Recreational Projects Alike

The Abbot Academy Association awarded 22 grants this spring term to fund projects such as a new cricket club, guest speakers and Wellness Week programs. The Abbot Academy Association met on May 14 and 15 to discuss and review all Abbot Grant proposals. The application process involves three components. The first consists of a written proposal, which all 11 board members read. The second is an oral presentation during a dinner held for both the applicants and the board. The dinner also allows the board to ask questions about the proposals. For the third step of the application, the board reviews all of the proposals in a one-day session and then approves certain ones. Natalie Schorr, Instructor in French and Faculty Coordinator for the Abbot Association, said, “The amount [awarded] varies according to the needs of the project and the appropriateness of the amount requested. Amounts have ranged from a one-time $100 to $300,000 over a three year period,” she said. There was a vast array of grants funded. Vijit Kapoor ’10 was awarded funds to buy equipment for a new club, the Andover Cricket Club. He hopes that the club will enable students of all abilities and backgrounds in cricket to play, attend or just learn more about the sport. Though Kapoor owns his own cricket equipment, he hopes the club will sustain itself beyond the duration of his years at Andover. Kapoor chose to apply for the grant so future students could enjoy the cricket experience. Jessica Frey ’09 wrote her grant with the help of the Dance Committee, which also includes Kiara Brereton ’09, Sayer Mansfield ’10 and Stephanie Xu ’09. They applied for $750 that they would use to enhance costumes for the Dance Open. Frey said that the statements in the applications allowed the Dance Committee to express their passion about the Dance Open and the importance of costumes. She said students are typically required to produce their own costumes by using clothes they already have, searching through the Dance Department’s collection or paying for costumes out of their own pocket. Frey said, “We want to have an application process for choreographers to apply for a specific amount of money to buy their desired costumes. Those costumes would be used by that choreographer in the Dance Open and then become a part of the Dance Department’s collection.” Aya Murata, Pine Knoll Cluster Dean, Michaeljit Sandu ’09 and Trisha Macrae ’09 applied for a grant on behalf of Mosaic, an affinity group open to students who self-identify as multi-racial/ethnic. With their Abbot grant, they will bring James McBride, author of “The Color Water,” a New York Times bestseller, to campus. Macrae said, “Bringing speakers to PA helps [Mosaic] remain a presence on campus.” She added that with the help of speakers Mosaic is able to spread their message to a larger audience and also to maintain Mosaic’s enthusiasm for identity and culture. In the past, Mosaic helped to bring Kip Fulbeck, an ASM speaker in the fall, to Andover. Macrae said, “[Fulbeck] challenged audience and livened up some classrooms, getting people to think about questions of identity in new ways. That’s what we’re hoping to do with James McBride. He’s an author, a composer and a musician who will hopefully speak in a public presentation.” Audrey Adu-Appiah ’10 and Margaret Bonaparte ’10 applied for an Abbot grant to acquire start-up capital for Andover Film Society. The club hopes to host screenings for the community. The money would primarily go towards the cost of food and decorations for the screenings. Adu-Appiah said, “While this school has several film-making clubs, we had hoped to fund a club that was more focused on cinematic appreciation and discussion. In the same way that an English class discusses the themes of a book and how the book was interpreted by each individual, we hoped to foster discussion about the art of cinema.” Adu-Appiah and Bonaparte thought the application process was nerve-racking. “We had no idea what questions the board of the Abbot Academy Association would throw at us, and we’d seen a fair number of people get absolutely grilled on their intentions and planning,” said Adu-Appiah. Elizabeth Oppong ’12, Junior Representative of Af-Lat-Am, and Ziwe Fumodoh ’10 applied for a grant to bring Black Violin, a musical ensemble, to campus during Black Arts Weekend. Oppong said that she was impressed with the innovative ways Black Violin combined hip-hop with classical music. “Typically, hip-hop is attributed to the African American culture much more than classical music, and Black Violin breaks that gap. We decided to bring them for our Black Arts Weekend because they are very entertaining and their music is amazing,” said Oppong. Abbot Grants are not granted only to students but also to faculty. Carlos Hoyt, Associate Dean of Students, requested a grant to introduce a few more positive workshops to Wellness Week. Hoyt will use the grant for the instruction in waltz, salsa and swing. Wellness Week was initiated two years ago in order to consolidate Andover’s various health education programs, said Hoyt. Hoyt said that the Wellness Week operation needs a large array of offerings for the approximately 1,100 students who take part in the event. “The students particularly appreciate that workshops feature positive content on health promotion and being well versus merely avoiding what is bad for you,” said Hoyt. “The dance instruction workshops being proposed would represent a significant enhancement of the Wellness Week program by providing instruction in a useful skill or art that enhances fitness, fosters positive social interaction and is just plain fun,” he added. Patricia Russell, Instructor in Biology, and Thayer Zaeder, Instructor in Art, are both a part of the Solid Waste and Recycling Task Force. With their Abbot grant, they hope to improve the trash and recycling systems on campus. Russell said that Andover produces 671 tons of trash and has paid North Andover $48,000 to incinerate that trash. She said that the Solid Waste and Recycling Task Force would like to pilot a new system of trash and recycling units in outdoor athletic areas and dorms. The pilot dorms will be Fuess and Bishop, two boys dorms. Schorr said that the board was particularly impressed by the quality of the proposals this year. “The board was so sorry that it could not fund any more proposals,” said Schorr. “It is gratifying to see students learning the skills of how to write a successful proposal. The board was impressed by the students’ creativity and their dedication to service and also by the quality of writing in the student proposals,” she continued.