Abbot Grants Fund Native American Library, Guest Speakers

This October, the Abbot Academy Association awarded $76,010 to Andover students, faculty and clubs to fund project proposals. Donations funded 25 projects, which ranged from money for campus speakers to the creation of a campus garden. The board received a total of 30 applications, a significant decrease in proposals from previous years. Last spring, the board received a total of 42 preliminary proposals. Nathalie Schorr, Faculty Coordinator for the Abbot Academy Association, said the decrease in applications may have resulted from campus budget cuts and that students may have been discouraged from applying for unnecessary grants. The board awarded $2,000 to Tristin Moone ’10 to create a Native American student lounge in the Peabody Museum. The lounge will include material on contemporary Native American life, films and Native American art from New Mexico. Moone said she thought of the project after arriving at Andover and noticing she was one of few Native American students. After talking with faculty and admissions officers about Native American recruitment, Moone realized that Native American students would feel more comfortable in a “community where we have something that we can connect to,” she said. The project “will serve as base in the Peabody Museum to spark interest in [Native American] culture,” she added. Grants also funded proposals to bring two campus speakers. Jessica Blake ’10 received a grant to bring environmental activist Annie Leonard to campus to discuss sustainability. Dominic Dejesus ’10 will bring gay rights and HIV/AIDS activist Cleve Jones to campus. Jones will discuss his experiences as an activist in the 1970s and 1980s and relate them to the twenty-first century. Dejesus said he wanted to bring Jones to Andover because Jones’ message reaches out to a broad spectrum of students from different economic backgrounds. Mohammed Harba, Instructor in Arabic, applied for one of the six faculty grants. Harba’s grant will fund a small library of movies, prints, artwork and other class materials to transform the Arabic classroom at PA. Harba said, “We will create an interactive environment in the class. So, when we read a novel from a country we will change the classroom setting to represent the setting of the novel.” Harba hopes to obtain pottery from local artists to add to the authenticity of the classroom. He continued, “The fact that the Arabic program is expanding very rapidly made the need for [improving] the Arabic classroom urgent.” David Fox, Instructor in English, proposed a retreat for 11 teaching faculty with the Teaching and Learning Study Group. The faculty will study developments in cognitive science and educational psychology. Fox wrote in an email, “We will spend time not only discussing readings but also being teachers and learners. Our hope is that the study group, particularly the retreat, will help each of us to become better teachers, which will then influence our students.” Ten currently established Andover clubs also received funding for their organizations thanks to the Abbot grants. Among those clubs included Pot Pourri, Model UN, In the Mix, Mock Trial, WPAA, Amnesty International and Unaccompanied Minors. Schorr said WPAA received a grant to improve the recording studio, and this improvement might increase student interest to record personal CDs. “It’s great to see how multiple groups [of students] could benefit from the funding,” Schorr said. The Abbot Academy Association funds approved proposals in October and May. According to Schorr, the Abbot Academy grants a total amount of $375,000. Schorr said, “[We hope] the funded proposals will enrich the community and are forward thinking.”