Grandparents Weekend Draws Crowd Despite Weather, Alumni Grandparents Reconnect with Andover

Grandparents from across the globe came to the Andover campus on Saturday to see their grandchildren and participate in a variety of courses during this year’s Grandparents Weekend. Grandparents met up with their grandchildren at a continental breakfast in George Washington Hall and proceeded to attend their grandchildren’s classes. Sandy Butters, Director of Parent Giving, said, “Attending classes with their grandchildren is the number one opportunity that [the grandparents] really love because they’re just so impressed to see how attending classes in high school has changed so dramatically since they were in high school.” Stan Clay, grandfather of Jennifer Sluka ’13, enjoyed visiting the classrooms. Clay said, “We particularly liked talking to the teachers; they were very professional.” “We would visit again next year. We’d like to see more of the classrooms because we only got to see two,” he continued. Sluka said, “In history, [my grandparents] liked that it was a discussion. They both enjoyed being in Ms. Mulligan’s class; they really liked her style of teaching. In math, they liked that my teacher, Mr. Hurley, really explained the concepts instead of having us just do problems.” “My grandpa’s a math major, so he really enjoyed going to math with me. After class, he talked to Mr. Hurley about [math],” Sluka continued. Kristina Rex ’11 brought her grandfather, a member of the Class of 1957. During his visit, he told Rex of what the buildings were like during his time, since the purposes of several academic buildings shifted over the years. “He liked math a lot. He thought it was very interesting, especially because he didn’t remember the algebra part. He tried to ask me what calculus was, but I couldn’t tell him, which was pretty funny,” Rex said. “His favorite thing is always Commons. He likes the free food. He thought it was very cool.” Marsha and Bruce Johnson from Elkins, New Hampshire, grandparents of Katherine Svec ’10, enjoyed Svec’s Russian class even though they did not speak the language. After sitting through a class discussion led by Seth Bardo, Instructor in English, Johnson wanted to buy the book the class was reading. Grandparents who did not attend regular classes had the opportunity to attend a variety of master classes, which highlighted some of Andover’s unique facilities. Brian Allen, Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art, gave a presentation about the Addison Gallery and how the gallery acquires artwork. Following Allen’s presentation, Elisabeth Tully, Director of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library and Tim Sprattler, Assistant Director and Interim Archivist, spoke to the grandparents about the new library technology and resources. Malinda Blustain, Director of the Peabody Museum, conducted a few tours of the museum throughout the day for the grandparents. This year’s Grandparents Day had a few changes from previous years’ events. Butters said, “Since we didn’t have the Addison, which is where we usually hold the [Head of School reception], we moved to the chapel so that the grandparents would have plenty of room to spread out.” At the Head of School reception, Barbara Chase spoke to the grandparents, giving her unique perspective as both a grandmother and a grandchild. Chase reflected on time spent with her own grandmother who lived to be 102 years old. According to Butters, one advantage of moving the reception to Cochran Chapel was that there was more space for student performances. The Yorkies, Azure, Unaccompanied Minors and SLAM all performed for the grandparents. Nikita Saxena ‘10, Co-President of the Unaccompanied Minors, said, “One of the goals that Unaccompanied Minors [emphasizes] is the ability to reach out to a variety of people, who may or may not otherwise listen to an orchestra.” Saxena found that playing for the grandparents was a great way of accomplishing the groups’ goal. “It was an honor to be asked to represent Andover music, and I hope and feel that we put on a good show. We had a warm reception from both the Grandparents’ Day coordinators and the visitors themselves, and we look forward to potentially playing for more of these events in the future,” she continued. Lisa Whittall came from Greenwich, Connecticut to visit her grandson, Boyd Whittall ’12. “I loved all the singing groups. I thought that was wonderful. Unlike many grandparents, I love that kind of music,” she said. Lisa Whittall also enjoyed visiting the Peabody Museum. “I have worked all my life at that kind of museum in New York. I thought the [Peabody] curator was so interesting and amusing. I could see that the collection was interesting,” she said. “The group on the tour was fascinated. Their assistant curator talked about how she had learned so much at Andover and she was going to go on field trips to the west, so that was nice, too,” Lisa Whittall continued. The grandparents also enjoyed the quality of the food served at Paresky Commons. Clay said, “We were very impressed by the lunch service. I was surprised; I thought that was quite unusual for a school. It was very nice. I’d like to have that for my lunch every day.” Boyd Whittall said, “We ate lunch in [Paresky] Commons…[My grandparents] thought the food was pretty good, and they were glad to see that I was eating healthily.” Boyd Whittall enjoyed giving his grandparents a tour of the campus despite the gray weather. “I was bummed out because the weather wasn’t very nice. It wasn’t good tour-weather. [My grandparents] had been here before, so they knew some of the campus, but [the rain] wasn’t very good for showing them [the rest],” he said. Each year, grandparents contribute to the Andover Grandparents Fund. “In the 27 years of the Grandparent Fund at PA, grandparents have contributed over $1.1 million has been contributed to the fund by the grandparents,” said Butters.