A long line formed in the middle of the room, leading up to a photo booth with various accessories including cutouts of his face and 2019 sunglasses, as students waited to take a picture with Head of School John Palfrey. Songs like “Somebody That I used to Know” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love” played in the background while students mingled, took pictures, and ate pizza.
Palfrey’s Parting Palooza was held in Lower Right of Paresky Commons this past Friday evening. The event gave students the opportunity to say goodbye to the departing Head of School and share some of their favorite memories with him. In an interview with The Phillipian, Tyler Murphy ’19, a graduating Senior, reflected on the first time he and Palfrey met.
“I knew Mr. Palfrey before anyone else here,” said Murphy. “I remember the first time he was on campus and I think it was at a Quad Day type of event. I remember meeting him and his kids and they were all super kind. I was in sixth grade or seventh grade. I remember being really excited that if I came to Andover, he would be my head of school.”
Similarly, Claire Song ’22 shared when she first met Palfrey during her Junior orientation. She said that while she is sad to see Palfrey leave, she will never forget his welcoming attitude.
“I remember the first day of orientation he greeted all the new [Juniors]. [He] was really welcoming and I was so thankful that he was able to come and individually say ‘hi’ to us, learn more about us, and learn our names. He made it a more comfortable environment for us,” said Song.
Amidst the pizza, lemonade, and goodbyes, there was also photo booth that allowed students to take pictures with Palfrey and each other, and to create memories that they could look back on in the future.
“My favorite part was the silly pictures; they were a great expression of creativity and joy, which are very important things,” said Palfrey. “I like the class of 2019 sunglasses, because, I feel like in a way, I will be graduating with the class of 2019.”
Each picture was taken in sets of three, and students used various accessories laid out on a table next to the photo booth to individualize each picture. Kate Pfister ’21 said that while Palfrey’s departure leaves a lingering sadness in the air, she had a fun time taking pictures with him.
“My favorite part is the pictures,” said Pfister. “There [were] a bunch of hats and big cardboard cutouts of John Palfrey’s head; it’s definitely a highlight. They [printed] out cute little strips of all the pictures.”
The palooza also enabled students to express their hopes for Palfrey’s future endeavors. Murphy asserted that he had enjoyed having Palfrey alongside him during his time at Andover, and wished him luck in the future.
Murphy said, “I think that he’s been here for a long time and I think that it’s really sad that he’s leaving, and the search to find someone as good as him is going to be hard. At the same time, if he feels like he needs to leave, I’m excited for him to move on.”