2021 Abbot Grants Promote an Array of New Project Ideas

Since the merger between Abbot Academy and Phillips Academy in 1973, the Abbot Academy Fund has awarded Abbot Grants twice a year to sponsor projects at Andover. The selected projects align with the historical ideals of Abbot Academy and the current community values of Andover. The grant is available to students, faculty and staff members, and alumni of Andover. This past fall, 11 projects—ranging from the arts, academics, and community-based proposals— received Abbot Grants.

One of the more generous grants was awarded to Amara Neal ’22 who proposed a new club called, “Life’s Little Things: Creating Care Packages for Massachusetts Based Homeless Shelters.” Neal’s proposal received $9,700 to get the club up and running and spread awareness and support of the homelessness crisis in the U.S. In an interview with The Phillipian, Neal emphasized the accessibility of Abbot Grants.

Neal said,“My first course of action is after determining homeless shelters we want to donate care packages too. The first chunk of money would go to buying materials like conditioner, shampoo, and socks for homeless shelters around [Andover,] Lawrence, and the Greater Boston area.”

She continued, “You could really apply for anything [in an Abbot Grant] that you think will make the community better. I’ve literally seen people ask for money for massage chairs and things like that. So if you think of anything that can make the [Andover] community better, literally just apply for it – as it’s very easy to do so.”

Patrick Chen ’23, Alex Shieh ’23, and Ben Garazzo ’23, representatives of Phillips Academy Political Poll, plan to use their Abbot Grant to create a transparent polling system. With a Grant of $1,000, the club hopes to conduct a preliminary survey for the upcoming midterm elections.

“We came up with the idea last spring, one of my close friends and I, Alex Shieh. We realized that last election cycle in 2020, during the news media and the polling and everything, there wasn’t much transparency, and it was really hard to understand how all of these media sources actually conducted their polls. As high schoolers we wanted to give it a shot, because it’s really interesting to find out who’s winning an election and to try and find out what each candidate can do to boost their chances at winning an election,” said Chen.

To fund musical projects, a grant was awarded to Marc Vidal ’23 and Alex Zhu ’23 and their proposal of an All Student Performance of Mozart’s “Requiem.” Some of the goals Abbot recipients aim for are to foster a sense of unity and honor the people, opportunities, and time lost to Covid-19.

“Despite the differences in cultures, languages, traditions the goal of the project is to unite the community with the one language we are able to comprehend and that is music… we believe that the best way to bring our community together is through a grand-scale music performance that has never been done.The piece I thought was most relevant and befitting was Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ which truly is an amalgamation of serenity, nostalgia, and hope,” said Vidal.

Abbot Grants were also awarded to support existing clubs on campus. Darla Moody ’24 expressed enthusiasm for the $1,080 grant awarded to Flow Arts Poi Assets, an art club that practices Poi—the movement of swinging two small, colorful weights in rhythmic patterns. The grant will cover the purchase of eight more Poi Props.

“Right now we have four pairs of poi, which means that in all live performances we are limited to four people for routines. Basically with this [money] we will be able to include more people than we had before in our performances around campus, and it’s cool because the more we can perform the more interest there is, which means the more equipment we need so we’re going really strong right now. The grant is definitely the propulsion this club needs to be able to keep expanding,” said Moody.

Led by Lesley Tan ’22, Kate Lee ’23, and Carolina Tieppo ’24, Active Minds’ “Stress Less Days” received $4,200 to sponsor campus events regarding the mental health of students.

“We originally wanted the money to fund an initiative for my club, Active Minds, which is a new mental health club that I started with Carolina Tieppo this year and we wanted to have events called ‘Stress Less Days,’ which are just fun activities that call awareness to mental health on campus with events such as having a booth with destressing toys and books. We also have another event with journaling and hot chocolate —just little things to help students destress a bit and serve as reminders for students to take care of themselves,” said Tann.

In addition to the donation from the Chemistry Department, Chemistry Club received an Abbot Grant of $3,100 to the Chemistry Club Learning Opportunities for more experiments and resources. Club leaders, Elizabeth Zhang ’22, Arnav Bhakta ’22, and Jaeyong Shim ’23 look forward to the new experiments that they will have access to going forward.

“We want to take questions from the National Chemistry Olympiad and help people do lab practicals, get a really great grasp of chemistry and apply knowledge within the lab which is ultimately where people will be doing research in the future, which is really helpful. In addition to that we also want to take people to competitions and professional research conferences so they can see the applications of chemistry and really be inspired by the cutting edge research that’s going on today,” said Zhang, Co-President of Chemistry Club.