With warm sunlight streaming in through the Paresky Commons windows, multiple students’ heads turn as a Blue Key Head, wearing red beaded necklaces and bright pink lipstick, walks into the room. Looking around, the Blue Key Head finds a group of students and plants a pink kiss on one student’s cheek. Scenes like this are often the hallmark of a typical Valentine’s Day at Andover.
For Andover students, February 14, Valentine’s Day, is traditionally a lively day full of candy, serenading, and kisses, which are dealt out by the Blue Key Heads (BKH). Student Activities Director, Christopher Capano, believes BKH kisses have been a tradition for at least 15-20 years.
Capano said, “The goal of the day is to kind of spread some cheer and fun. It never feels like a romantic Valentine’s Day thing, which is the more traditional idea of Valentine’s Day. The kisses are never about romance, it’s more about having fun. It’s mostly just trying to brighten everyone’s day in the middle of winter.”
BKH Sophia Lee ’21 described the usual activities for BKHs leading up to and on Valentine’s Day—selling BKH kisses, candies, or other “extravaganzas” in Paresky, filling Paresky with Valentine’s Day themed decorations, and finally going around handing out candies and kisses. The money the BKHs earn from selling kisses and other gifts typically goes to charity.
“Each BKH will make a special surprise thing that they’ll do if you get an extravaganza for your friend. So, in past years, they’ll give you a hand massage or they’ll serenade you or they’ll do a photoshoot with you… And it’s just a really fun way to spread joy and love a time that is normally very dark and cold,” said Lee.
According to BKH Martina Gil-Diaz ’21, although Valentine’s Day is normally celebrated on campus, with Covid-19 barriers, Capano and the BKHs have been searching for innovative ways to include celebrations for virtual and on-campus students this year.
“We’re thinking of possibly sending things to virtual students, having people send letters to one another, or doing something where we could possibly come to classes quickly… We also have some activities planned for the seniors who are here as well,” said Gil-Diaz.
Capano also shared that for seniors on campus, BKHs are planning on possibly giving out stickers and hand stamps that have lips or other Valentine’s Day themed decorations on them. Additionally, the BKHs have plans to deliver chocolates and valentines to dorms, and possibly even to students at home.
“It’s not going to have that same sort of in person, love, and joy, and all this fun stuff that we like about it. But hopefully, it’s [still] a time that people can be really excited about something… and maybe get some of the Andover spirit that we’ve lost from not being physically together,” said Lee.