Spring Term Brings New Beginnings, Both In and Out of Andover

Despite an unusually cold spring with the temperature hovering around the mid 50s for most of the term, students flocked to the Great Lawn donning pastel-colored shorts and sunglasses whenever the sun peaked out over the clouds.

During the first few weeks of Spring Term, the student body elected David Gutierrez ’15 and Rebecca Somer ’15 as School Co-Presidents for the 2014-2015 school year. Gutierrez and Somer are the school’s first co-ed presidential pair and will succeed Clark Perkins ’14 and Junius Williams ’14.

Students also flaunted their school spirit, cheering on 31 members of Class of 2015 as they partook in the nerve-racking but thrilling Blue Key Head (BKH) auditions in Lower Right of Paresky Commons. Current Uppers Lila Dolan, Rob Irvin, Claire Jacobson, Paul Kinard, Benny Ogando, Ellie Simon, Kory Stuer, Jordan Swett, Lane Unsworth and Kinsey Yost now wear the symbolic blue pleated skirts as Class of 2015 BKHs.

Adding to the excitement on campus, many of the 427 newly admitted students for the 2014-2015 school year joined the Andover community for a revisit day. 366 students are planning to matriculate next fall, resulting in a record-high yield rate of 85 percent.

Alumni, students and faculty gathered in April for Andover’s Coed@40 weekend to discuss issues of gender and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the merger between Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy.

A string of disciplinary cases in April regarding “sexting” on campus prompted the administration to reach out to house counselors and faculty members to address the issue during dorm meetings. Sexting was also included in the Personal and Community Education (PACE) curriculum.

This term especially, campus buzzed with discussion on the topic of race. In continuation of the conversation that was initiated by the More Than Just a Number (MTJAN) movement during Winter Term, students and faculty continued to engage in a dynamic dialogue through social media, articles in _The Phillipian_ and offline. MTJAN, working with faculty and other student-run groups like the Out of the Blue team, hosted forums and created a Tumblr page to better inform the community regarding diversity and microaggressions.

Head of School John Palfrey also joined this discussion when he addressed diversity, equity, inclusion and respect as it pertains to Andover at an All-School Meeting (ASM) in May, clarifying and declaring that Andover is an intentionally diverse community.

In late April, Andover welcomed back alumnus Chris Hughes ’02, co-founder of Facebook. Hughes spoke at ASM, where he emphasized the importance of hard work and dedication on the path to success as well as sharing his own experiences at Andover.

As April showers were replaced by May flowers, members of the Andover community gathered to commemorate the life and accomplishments of the late Navy SEAL Erik Kristensen ’91, who was killed in 2005 while attempting to rescue his fellow SEAL members. Letters from former Presidents George H. W. Bush ’42 and George W. Bush ’64 expressing gratitude and respect for Kristensen’s service were read aloud before the screening of “Lone Survivor,” a film adaptation of Kristensen’s mission to save his comrades, in Cochran Chapel.

In addition to the Kristensen commemoration, the Andover community also united for a different cause. Through walking around the cage for the Relay for Life Fundraiser, hosted by Andover Campuses Against Cancer, students and faculty members raised over $45,000. This year, many students walked in honor of David Benedict ’15, who was diagnosed with Leukemia this April.

As the school year drew to a close, the students maximized their last few weeks at the school, tanning on the Great Lawn, playing tenni-golf and tossing frisbees. Seniors in particular celebrated their last moments as Andover students, spending time with alumni, faculty and classmates and engaging in multiple school-hosted activities before Commencement came with its white dresses and blue ties.