Twenty-Five Projects Receive Abbot Academy Funding

Students can look forward to music streaming from new speakers on the pool deck, an eco-activism initiative on campus and the opportunity to learn CPR at free weekly classes at Isham next year. These new projects are examples of the 25 Abbot Academy proposals will be funded by the Abbot Academy Association in the 2011-2012 academic year. Applicants presented their proposals at the Abbot dinner two weeks ago after submitting an online application and budget proposal. The board met on the next day to discuss, argue and vote on the proposals. There were 30 initial proposals. Sofia Duque ’11 is no newcomer to the Abbot Academy grant process. She was awarded two grants this spring, in addition to a grant that was approved in the fall of 2010. Duque’s program “Speak Up!” will include summer reading and training for student leaders who will facilitate diversity discussions on campus in the fall of 2012. These students’ personal experiences will be compiled in an anthology to be published in the spring of 2012. Duque also received funding for CPR/AED training classes. Katherine Vozeolas, Director of Nursing at Isham, will take charge of this program. In the fall of 2010, Duque received funding to send selected students to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Philadelphia for the fall of 2011. Duque said, “We are so privileged; we are the only high school in the world that gives money to students to do whatever they desire. It takes a few hours to write a grant and maybe a couple of chases to get signatures, but it is so worth it!” “That’s why I decided to apply for Abbot grants–because I want to improve our community, and this is an intrinsic step to achieving dreams,” continued Duque. Carlos Hoyt, Associate Dean of Students, received funding for his proposal, “Breakfast of Companions,” which will allow Hoyt to take several individual students out to breakfast at the Lantern Brunch each week. Hoyt said, “In my role as Associate Dean of Students and coordinator of areas of enrichment and ‘goodness’ at the Academy, I know it benefits me to be able to make the special connections that come out of these breakfasts.” According to Hoyt, he already takes one to two students out to breakfast each week. “I am confident that the students I eat and talk with come away feeling that their school is serious about the desire to take care of them and provide opportunities to develop constructive and meaningful relationships with adults,” Hoyt said. “I’ve found that there is no better method of nurturing than nourishing, no better way to connect than to consume together, no better stress reliever than a retreat from the academic crucible and no better way to prepare our students to become young adults capable of egalitarian interaction than to sit across a table and share some good food and conversation,” continued Hoyt. Fay Feghali ’11 received funding to bring Arabic musician Karim Nagi to campus. According to Feghali, she developed the idea for her grant in conjunction with Hafida Bourote, Instructor in Arabic. Feghali said, “I think my grant is unique because there is a great void of Arabic culture on campus…it will be great to have a talented, renowned performer such as Karim [Nagi] come here and promote the club’s mission of spreading true Arabic culture.” Heather Menar ’12 received funding to bring Latin dance group Salsa and Control to campus on Friday, October 7, 2011 in honor of Latin Arts Weekend. The group will perform and offer dance lessons. “I hope this event will encourage people to look at different cultures and different forms of artistic expression…my goal is to destroy boundaries of race,” added Menar. Other funded projects include Bus trips to Richardson’s Ice Cream, a game of Quidditch on campus, a performance by “The Dean’s List” next fall, doors on the Garver room in the OWHL, laptop chargers in the PACC, an International Club magazine, aerobic dance classes for students and faculty, supplies for an Architecture club and a plaque for Muslim Student Union in CAMD. The Abbot Academy Association meets twice annually to hear proposals for student and faculty grants. Natalie Schorr, Abbot Academy Association Coordinator and Instructor in French, said, “The presentations went well and included faculty, staff and students. All were well prepared, spoke well and were able to answer questions about their proposals.” The Abbot Academy Association board includes Robert Barber ’68, David Duckenfield ’84, Mindy Diane Feldman ’73, Susan Goodwillie Stedman ’59, Lynne Langlois ’62, Ann Nguyen ’96, David Othmer ’59, Alison Picott ’88, Sara Su Jones ’91, Mimi Won Techentin ’79 and Ruth Wiener ’66. According to Schorr, 30 applications are typical for this time of year. There are often more applications in November. “We were pleased with the number of applications and with their quality. The process of applying for a grant is valuable in itself, so for this reason alone it’s good to have as many applications as possible,” Schorr added. Students and faculty may apply for a grant as individuals or in groups. Each grant is funded for a maximum of three years. If approved, the applicants will submit reports throughout the following year. “Abbot Grants are a unique opportunity for students to learn how to become social entrepreneurs and change makers whether on a small scale or a larger one,” Schorr added. Schorr said that the Abbot Academy Association advertises for the grants throughout the year in The Phillipian, the Faculty Gazette, the Campus News Section of PAnet, faculty meetings, All-School Meetings and on their website at, with the hopes of increasing student and faculty interest in the grants. “We would, of course, like to see even more [applications], and we’d like to see more faculty, staff, and students working together on proposals,” Schorr added. The Abbot Academy Association was established in June 1973 with an original endowment of one million dollars. According to Schorr, projects to benefit the quality of life at Andover are approved on a case-by-case basis. Past Abbot grants have funded Graham House, the Associate Dean of Residence for Heath Issues, Black Arts Weekend, student leadership conferences, Latin American Studies program, the Brace Center and Non-Sibi Day. Next year, Othmer and Techentin will assume the roles of Director and Program Director, respectively, of the Abbot Academy Association.