Donning their blue skirts for the first time, 10 students from the Class of 2013 began a year of facepaint, push-ups and cheers as Blue Key Heads on Wednesday at a Girls Varsity Lacrosse game.
The Blue Key Heads (BKH) for the 2012-2013 school year are Unwana Abasi ’13, Theo Agbi ’13, Andries Feder ’13, Pearson Goodman ’13, Henry Kennelly ’13, Laz Nyamakazi ’13, Stephanie Petrella ’13, Rhea Lewis ’13, Chia Okorie ’13 and Becca Wagman ’13.
“This year’s group of kids was…unique in that they had such, such a strong applicant pool, and so you can imagine it was impossible to decide, but we are really confident that we picked the best group,” said Katie McLean ’12, a BKH for the 2011-2012 school year.
“A good BKH is someone who combines craziness, intensity and noise with a nice, kind, organized, fun personality. They have to be able to cheer while also looking like they’re having fun everyday of the school year,” wrote Ben Manuel ’12, a BKH for the 2011-2012 school year, in an e-mail to The Phillipian.
Nick Camarda ’12, a BKH for the 2011-2012 school year, believes that the best qualities of this year’s group are “their cohesion as a team, their uncanny ability to sing a cappella, and their ability to shut out all inhibition and give everything they’ve got.”
The BKH application consisted of a written application and an audition in Paresky Commons. BKH applicants completed the application over the Spring Break and auditions were held during the first week of the spring term.
BKH applicants were required to lead cheers in Lower Right of Commons, serenade their peers, impersonate animals, do pushups and respond to a rigorous set of interview questions. Interviews and applications were conducted and reviewed by the 2011-2012 BKH’s: Camarda, Gabbie Cirelli ’12, Kennedy Edmonds ’12, Manuel, McLean, Jordan Miller-Surrat ’12, Ben Romero ’12, David Russell ’12, Yuni Sumawijaya ’12 and Ray Thamthieng ’12.
Interview questions challenged applicants to think on their feet and be creative as they were asked questions such as “If you had to kidnap one BKH, who would it be and why?” and “What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of the color blue?”
Each BKH stood out by bringing something unique to the audition. For example, Agbi threw candy at the crowd, Goodman pretended to die after “stinging” Mike Queenan ’13 during a bumblebee impersonation and Wagman sat on Manuel’s lap during a serenade and pretended to write her phone number on his hand.
Nyamakazi said, “I had to say three Andover cheers, act like an elephant and serenade someone. I chose to serenade someone with ‘S&M’ by Rihanna. Looking back at the audition process, I think it was one of the funniest moments of my life.”
Christopher Capano, Director of Student Activities, said, “By the end of the opening weekend all our new students are just so excited to be a part of the PA community and a lot of that is the way that [the Blue Key Heads] make them all feel welcome.”
Some events that the BKH’s organize and lead include Orientation, Pep Rallies, Andover/Exeter Games, Blue and Silver and Valentine’s Day Blue Key Head Kisses.
McLean said that she, Russell and Romero plan to hold a “Blue Key Head Boot Camp” this year to show the new BKH’s how to be “just as energetic as the 2012 Blue Key Heads are,” although she said that all the new Blue Key Heads are already fairly well prepared.
“We picked them so that they are all well prepared and they know what it is to be a Blue Key Head. They’ve seen us, and they’ve seen other [BKH’s],” McLean said.
Goodman said that he auditioned for BKH because of how much fun the 2011-2012 BKH’s seemed to have.
“The past Blue Key Heads do such a great job of representing the school, and they clearly enjoy doing it,” Goodman wrote in an email to The Phillipian. “They made it seem so appealing that I couldn’t help but try out. A position where you get to be yourself, have fun and go crazy while simultaneously representing your school in the best way possible sounds like a win-win to me.”
Wagman said that she most looks forward to Jell-O Wrestling, a BKH tradition, and wearing her blue skirt at pep rallies.
“I am looking forward to running around screaming. While I have always done that, to do it wearing the blue skirt makes it that much better,” said Wagman.
Okorie was happy to receive her skirt from her “elder” BKH’s. She wrote in an e-mail to The Phillipian, “The BKH ’12 passed on their skirts to us. It’s such a sweet tradition and now we all have mama and papa BKH’s.”
David Russell ’12, a BKH for the 2011-2012 school year, hopes that the newly chosen Blue Key Heads will get just as much out of the experience as he did.
“You become really close to the other Blue Key Heads. They become some of your favorite people on campus. We’re really excited for [the new BKH’s] to come together as a group and become Blue Key Head ’13 and have the phenomenal time that we did.”