Last Friday marked the first day for the newly elected Blue Key Heads (BKH). Over a week after their auditions behind the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL), the newly elected 2021-2022 Blue Key Heads dashed through the library in celebration of their new designation.
Amara Neal ’22, Cathy Cho ’22, Nnenna Okorie ’22, Myra Bhathena ’22, Mary Kerrigan ’22, Sam Elliott ’22, Kane Goodman ’22, Presley Kmeta-Suarez ’22, Emiliano Caceres Manzano ’22, and Danny Ferris ’22 were chosen as the new Blue Key Heads for the Class of 2022. For Caceres Manzano, hearing the news was wonderful and exciting.
Caceres Manzano said, “It was a sheer joy. We all found [our position] at the same time and it was just so exciting. Because also not just for me, but to see all the people who I got picked with, I am eager and very excited to get to know [everyone] and hopefully bond with as the years go along.”
Blue Key Heads are the spirit leaders on campus, a positive source for the Andover community. According to 2020-2021 Blue Key Head Kameron Saalfrank ’21, the role of being a Blue Key Head extends further than just leading in pep rallies or being symbolic figures on campus.
“It is also the role of Blue Key Heads to be as outgoing and friendly to the people you know. And for people that you don’t [know], it’s still your job to make them [feel] as welcomed as possible even though you are a complete stranger,” said Saalfrank.
Growing up on campus, Elliott always wanted to become a Blue Key Head ever since he was young, and was also excited to be selected.
Elliott said, “I grew up on campus as a faculty kid, [and] in third grade, I dressed up as a Blue Key Head for Halloween. I remember I was in Abbot at that time and one of the Blue Key Heads was there and he was like you are going to get my skirt when you come to high school. And ever since, it has always been a dream of mine to be a Blue Key Head. It’s such a cool tradition, meeting all the people who are gonna be your partners. It is a really fun and gratifying experience.”
The audition process for becoming a Blue Key Head was rather rigorous. Each applicant was first asked to submit a written application before the audition, then respond to random acts and questions given by the former Blue Key Heads. According to Cho, applicants were sent a mysterious invitation email scheduling their auditions.
Cho said, “They sent us really cryptic emails saying, ‘Oh the sorting hat is calling. Be here by [6:20 p.m.] and RSVP with a drawing of my patronage’… The audition requirements were to learn all of the past thirty Blue Key Heads’ names, do 10 push-ups, sing a memorized song, and know all the cheers. Those were the audition criteria, and in between you have to go and interview them and they ask you random questions like ‘who is the oldest faculty on campus?’ And while I was playing my violin they said ‘you could redeem your musical abilities, rap right now,’ I had to make up a rap. They ask really random questions that make you act on the spot, and I think they were looking for spontaneity and energy.”
Some of the Blue Key Heads, such as Caceres Manzano, shared their ambitions for the upcoming year and sent their gratitude towards other members of the group and their hope of fostering tighter relationships with them.
Caceres Manzano said, “I think our big goals are to really make the most of everything. Because of the pandemic and everything, a lot of traditions have been put on hold and so our biggest goal is to come back with a bang, really introduce to people who missed them this year, all the great traditions, all the great things that Blue Key Heads get to carry on and the joy they bring to campus.”
“It is definitely a tiring job, the second day my legs were shaking and I was wheezing. But it’s such a rewarding experience, I love having another family on campus, having another group of people you could rely on,” said Cho.
Editor’s Note: Cathy Cho is a Video Editor for The Phillipian. Amara Neal is a Photo Editor for The Phillipian.