Students watched as Head of School John Palfrey removed his blazer, dress shirt, and tie to reveal a Thanos t-shirt before the faculty band performed the “Avengers” theme during Wednesday’s All-School Meeting (ASM).
Hosted by the current Producers, Ria Viera ’19, Rhea Prem ’19, Carley Kukk ’19, and Sam Katz ’19, the Community Entertainment ASM included performances from the faculty band; Downbeat, a student acapella group; Handbell Choir; Ma’am Slam, the faculty step group; and other faculty and students performers.
Diamond Gray, Teaching Fellow in Art, performed with Ma’am Slam. According to her, the best part of being part of Ma’am Slam was the close group atmosphere developed in practices.
“Working with my fellow colleagues [was] an awesome experience! We built a strong sense of community during the month we practiced. Everyone helped out one another throughout the days leading to our performance. What made it all worth it was how students enjoyed themselves during the performance. It warmed my heart to see kids having as much fun as we did while on stage.”
The ASM was concluded by Kevin Graber, Senior Associate Director of Admission, and Terrell Ivory ’00, Assistant Director of Admission, with their rendition of “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from the movie “A Star is Born.” As Graber and Ivory encouraged the community to sing with them, students swayed along to the beat.
“[Graber and Ivory] are really creative and the talent they are bringing out there—I think it was really funny and they helped the school, the community, because they are people that basically everyone knows, just to see them onstage, having fun, it helps you see them not in a serious way,” said Caroline Empey ’22, who performed with the Handbell Choir.
Another performance was by Nikki Cleare, Instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, & Computer Science, who performed a monologue from a Trinidadian poet as a salute to the class of 2019. According to Cleare, she wanted to give a shout out to the students of color who share her same Caribbean heritage.
“To be more inclusive, I also say thank you to my students who do share their authentic selves with me, whoever that is. I think that’s what we are about here at Andover. We’re striving to be an inclusive community, not just having people from different communities, but learning to share and what we can learn from each other’s cultures,” said Cleare.
Kareem Lewis, Instructor in Theater & Dance, performed a dance piece choreographed by Judith Wombwell, Instructor and Chair of Theater & Dance. According to Lewis, the ASM allowed him to show his artistic side to the school, especially for the students he teaches.
“[There was] a lot of excitement, a lot of nervousness because it’s about a thousand people sitting in the audience. But [I was] also really inspired to be able to be in front of the students and the entire community and perform and show my artistry and skill,” said Lewis.
Audience member Harry Chanpaiboonrat ’21 said, “It was amazing seeing the teachers that I knew going up there and expressing themselves that might put them out of their comfort zone.”
Amour Ellis ’22 believed that the ASM helped build trust between students and faculty.
“It made me trust the faculty more because it made me realize they are people too, not just teachers,” said Ellis.
According to Siddhant Sinha ’21, the ASM allowed him to view faculty members in a different light.
“It was remarkable to see all the faculty displaying their talents considering we only know them in a classroom setting,” said Sinha.