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Sykes Announces HOSD Monday night

A series of videos posted on Andover’s Facebook page gave this year’s Head of School Day a modern twist. After the last video was posted on Monday night, Associate Head of School Rebecca Sykes entered Paresky Commons to raise the field hockey stick. “[The video] was completely unscripted,” said Tracy Sweet, Director of Academy Communications. “This modern video will never replace the field hockey stick. I wouldn’t want to take away from that tradition.” “We established a ‘Facebook’ page for Phillips Academy five months ago with a lot of original content including Green Cup Challenge updates and webcasts by Barbara Chase. What we learned is that the majority of students are not yet fans of this page,” said Sweet. “[The Communications Office] worked together and brainstormed how we could attract fans and create a plan to boost membership. When we approached Ms. Sykes and Ms. Chase about shooting a video, they signed on right away, embracing the power of social media,” Sweet continued. Neil Evans, Web Editor at the Communications Office, came up with the idea and shot the video. Since the video was posted, the Phillips Academy page has gained 481 new fans, more than 100 comments, and 489 ‘likes’. Not all students appreciated the video. Blake Grubbs ’12 commented, “It didn’t ruin the surprise, but it ruined the fun a little bit because people knew about it before dinner.” “Everyone anticipated Mrs. Sykes’ arrival with posters saying things like, ‘Whip it Out,’” said Elizabeth Paul ’12. Head of School Barbara Chase typically wields the field hockey stick. “This is my fourteenth year [as Associate Head of School] and I’ve carried the stick at least four or five times. This year Ms. Chase was away on business,” said Sykes. “One year there was a blizzard and Ms. Chase was away with the field hockey stick. We wrote ‘Hockey Stick’ on a piece of computer paper and I held that up instead,” Sykes continued. According to Sykes, Sweet was one of the few informed of Head of School Day’s date prior to Monday night. “A small group of us confer and make the decision a few days in advance. It is top secret,” said Sykes. Sykes said that many factors are taken into account when deciding Head of School Day’s date. “We try to avoid disruption of classes and activities. Some years we choose based upon how many people are sick, and in the 90’s, we once had it on a day that was below zero degrees.” Other activities of the day included the annual Head of School Day Scavenger Hunt. The event began at 11 A.M. in Paresky Commons and provided students with two and a half hours to find everything on their list. Organized by Julie Xie ’10 and Laura Wu ’10, students searched campus for a list including items like “a faculty child” and “a football signed by Bill Belichick.” “It was started as something fun to do on Head of School Day. You can catch up on work, but you can also run around campus looking for all sorts of things and stalking out people to take pictures with you,” said Xie. Some students took the opportunity to catch up on work and rest. Alex Hyder ’13 said, “It was very exciting because it was my first [Head of School Day] and it saved me from several tests the next day. Students resumed class on Wednesday.