Abbot Academy Association To Fund 21 Campus Projects Next Year

The Abbot Academy Association awarded a total of $236,894 to 21 student, faculty and staff projects for the 2013-2014 school year. Projects ranged from hovercrafts to a class trip to London. Twenty-one of 24 proposals were awarded grants. The total amount of money decreased from $237,392 awarded last fall, but increased from the $162,697 awarded last spring. According to Natalie Schorr, faculty liaison to the Abbot Academy Association, the total amount granted from the fall and spring remain fairly constant year to year. David Fox, Instructor in English, received a grant for his class “London Colloquium.” Taught by fourteen different teachers, the London Colloquium is a Senior independent project seminar for next Fall Term. The grant will cover travel costs, proportional to the the amount of regular aid received, of the 19 Seniors enrolled in seminar to travel to London, England for five days. “[The course] focuses on a particular period, from about 1640 to 1720, and so actually seeing many of the sites that we’re talking about during the course and having access to other expertise outside of the fourteen teachers involved should help their understanding,” said Fox. Sina Golkari ’15, Isabel Taylor ’15 and Kayla Thompson ’15 received $700 in funding on behalf of the Architecture Club to create a scale model of the Andover main campus for display in the library. The club plans to work on the model during the next Fall and Winter Terms. “We wanted to bring a new architectural perspective, literally, to the Andover campus because people don’t really appreciate the buildings around us, ” said Golkari. “The scale model of the Phillips Academy campus is a challenging collaborative venture for the architecture club. The Abbot Academy Association hopes that the club will also consider doing a model of the Abbot campus,” said Schorr. Alexandra Barr ’15 and Kai Kornegay ’14 are bringing six students to the “Student Diversity Leadership Conference” in Washington, D.C. next December with their $12,000 Abbot Grant. “The conference provides a great opportunity for students to not only learn about diversity and learn about leadership, but also to network with other students,” said Barr. On behalf of the Andover Robotics Club, Claire Carroll ’14 and Tadeas Nemec ’14 received an Abbot Grant of $400 to build a manned hovercraft. The hovercraft will allow students to levitate a few inches off the ground, and will be used by Science Club, Techmasters and Science Club for Girls, a community service program for young girls that are interested in science, according to Carroll. Katherine Tobeason ’14, Elizabeth Rao ’14 and Bridget Higgins ’14 received a $400 grant on behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Club to build a bat house on campus. The house will act as a habitat for bats, bringing environmental awareness to campus while also reducing the mosquito population during the day, as one brown bat can eat more than 1,000 mosquitoes per hour, according to Tobeason. The bat house is the Wildlife Conservation Club’s first major project and will be built in the fall. Eden Livingston ’15 and Emmie Avvakumova ’14, the founders of a new Fashion Photography club, received $700 in funding for makeup and hair materials for models in their club. “Art’s really important because it helps people cultivate their creative mind… so we feel that there are not a lot of opportunities that let students foster creativity,” said Livingston. “Culture, Politics, and Religion” and Hindu Student Union partnered to screen two films about gender and culture through an Abbot Grant and Chapel funds for next year. They plan to screen “A World Before Her,” a film about gender norms within modern and traditional India, and “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican,” a film about the women’s roles in the Catholic Church. They also plan on bringing Nisha Pahuja, director of “A World Before Her,” to campus. “I think, for both the films, they’re both very relevant right now because they both deal with the topic of gender and gender roles. With the Feminism is Equality movement right now, it fits really nicely with the themes on campus,”said Meera Bhan ’14, one of the organizers. The Abbot Academy Association was founded in 1973, after the merger between Abbot Academy and Phillips Academy. A board of eleven Abbot Academy alumni chooses the grants after discussing the applications and listening to oral presentations by each of the applicants. The board considers the value of the project, practicalities and plan of action, scope and effect of the project and financial viability, according to Schorr. “I enjoy the variety and scope of proposals more than any single project. What I particularly like though is to see a particular project fit in with a larger and very worthwhile educational theme. I can give two examples of that. The bat house project in the [Cochran Bird] Sanctuary enhances the theme of how the Sanctuary can contribute to the educational program, particularly in science. Another terrific example is the proposal for a panel to discuss the role of digital communication. I admired the fact that the student proposers planned an interesting and effective event for the school while keeping costs down,” wrote Schorr in an e-mail to The Phillipian.