After 31 entertaining and spirited tryouts of Blue Key Head (BKH) hopefuls, 10 students have finally been selected to serve as the Class of 2011 Blue Key Heads. The 2011 Blue Key Heads are: Chris Cameron ’11, Julian Danziger ’11, Jay Dolan ’11, Aniebiet Ekpa ’11, Katie Hess ’11, Olivia Howell ’11, Jeremy Hutton ’11, Sheya Jabouin ’11, Nikita Lamba ’11 and Teddy Smyth ’11. Similar to previous years, the process involved a written application as well as a live audition before an audience of students. Prior to auditions, the list of BKH candidates is sent to the cluster deans for approval. When the deans grant permission, auditions begin. Stassja Sichko ’10, a 2010 Blue Key Head, said, “The auditions involved the things that you’re supposed to be able to do as a Blue Key Head: being loud and entertaining a crowd.” Pairs of this year’s Blue Key Heads held auditions, which consisted of random, spontaneous interview questions and commands from the 2010 heads to perform a variety of tasks. Each candidate was also asked to lead two cheers and serenade a student from the crowd. For his serenade, Smyth sang “Touch My Body” by Mariah Carey. He said, “I enjoyed the song a lot and knew the words, but I got about halfway through and totally blanked. So I just made up some words.” Smyth’s favorite aspect of his tryout was “Running around, yelling and being in front of all the people.” He was “not at all” embarrassed. Rather, Smyth said that his audition was the “happiest moment of [his] life.” Ekpa was especially anxious about her serenade. “I can’t sing at all. I can’t recognize notes,” she said. “The fact that everyone in Lower Right was cheering for me made the whole thing even more intimidating, and the people interviewing me didn’t smile or laugh,” Ekpa continued. However, Ekpa said she enjoyed auditioning. Howell said about becoming a Blue Key Head, “I’m on top of the world. I’m on cloud nine.” “Being a Blue Key Head is like having a glass of chocolate. Being a Blue Key Head is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get,” she continued. For her tryout, Lamba did pushups, imitated an animal, and tried to throw gummy sharks into a cup. “I missed every time,” she said. Lamba said she was a little nervous before her audition, especially since she had been in Isham for a fever the morning of her tryout. As soon as it started, however, excitement immediately took over. As a new Upper, Lamba said that she was a little more worried, “because [she] wasn’t as familiar with everything.” “I hadn’t seen the auditions before,” she said. “On the other hand, two of the Blue Key Heads last year were new Uppers also. They did it, and they’re awesome Blue Key Heads. I’m hoping to follow in their footsteps.” Remembering her own tryout a year ago, Sichko said, “I was telling everyone this year that even if you’re not sure you want to [be a Blue Key Head], the tryout alone is worth the experience.” Cindy Efinger, Director of Student Activities, said that she and the current Blue Key Heads “look for students that love their school, that are spirited, that have a lot of energy, want to work hard, and want to become a leader.” Sichko said that in choosing the new Blue Key Heads, she looked for candidates who are “approachable, outgoing, fun, always willing to get people excited, and always smiling.” She said, “There is no other position that is quite as game-changing for your Senior year” than serving as Blue Key Head. Though she called the turnover of Blue Key Heads “bittersweet,” Sichko said, “Just looking at [the new Blue Key Heads] and knowing how much they have in front of them is just really exciting.” Smyth said, “I’m so thrilled. These past couple of days have been some of the best days of my life already.” Lamba reflected that the hardest part of the process was not the actual audition, but “the wait between the audition and finding out [the results].” “I could not sleep,” she said. Lamba and Smyth felt motivated to try out by their own positive orientation experiences. Smyth said, “My orientation experience inspired me to want to make future generations of orientees have just as great of an experience.” Lamba said that her transition to Andover was the best she’s ever experienced. “It’s great to know that you’re going to be a part of that,” she said. Ekpa said, “Every year, the Blue Key Heads inspire enthusiasm in Andover, for both new and returning students. That enthusiasm kept me going throughout the years, and I wanted to do the same for others.”
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