144th Editor in Chief, Jay Aziabor Reflects on his Tenure for The Phillipian, Emphasizing Community

Jay Aziabor ’22, a four-year Senior from Atkinson, New Hampshire, served as the 144th Editor in Chief for the previous board of The Phillipian. Aziabor worked as a Sports writer in his lower year, later becoming a Sports Associate Editor, after which he was selected as Editor in Chief of The Phillipian vol. CXLIV. His tenure on the paper was heavily affected by Covid-19, as the Sports section lacked usual game coverage. Aziabor additionally began his tenure as Editor in Chief remotely. He plays on Andover’s Varsity Boys Soccer team and is an 11 year fan of the club team Manchester City. In his free time, Aziabor enjoys exercising, running, playing soccer and FIFA.

1. What first made you interested in writing for The Phillipian?

It all started with my original revisit day… I remember walking to Morse and seeing a photo of The Phillipian Upper Management wearing their Patagonia sweatshirts. I didn’t completely understand what The Phillipian was at that time, but I definitely had this instinct that it was something that was truly important on campus and showed significance. Going into my lower year, I knew I wanted to, in some way, be part of the paper. Due to my love of sports, the Sports section was the way I found a home in the paper.

2. Why did you first choose to write for the Sports section?

Sports is more than just the physical games, but the culture of sports on the Andover campus, whether that’s been through writing more news-type articles or through promoting the integration of sports opinion pieces… I would say that understanding sports is important, and rather than just focusing on teams, focusing on the significance it holds for Andover culture is important.

3. What was one of your most difficult experiences as Editor-in-Chief of The Phillipian? 

In one of my first meetings as [Editor in Chief], I was told that I was probably the first Black Editor in Chief of The Phillipian and that was something which made me realize how big a privilege and opportunity I had received. I, however, also saw my identity and role as coming with an obligation to leave a physical legacy and to ensure that I wasn’t the last Black student to lead the paper. Even though I had some ideas based on intentional recruitment, actually finding the time to institute my ideas was difficult. I am still very proud, though, of how we diversified our content, whether it was through dipping into the archives or including more identity-based pieces in our print issues and translating them into other languages.

4. What was your most memorable moment as Editor-in-Chief?

Seeing everybody face to face for the first time, and really reestablishing that sense of community and that sense of camaraderie—it’s something I still look back on with fondness. But I’d also say that being able to sell copies of our commencement issue at graduation last year was an amazing moment. The sense of seeing like a physical representation of all the work you and the editors had put in and being able to share that with the entire community, whether that be faculty, fellow students, or alumni—I think that was an amazing opportunity. Overall, my tenure has been full of lots of moments, but when I look back on it, the things that really stand out are just those small moments that really put everything in perspective.”

5. How has life changed now that you are no longer as directly involved with The Phillipian?

It is a strange feeling, taking a more backseat role with my involvement with The Phillipian. I still have been offering support to the new members, new editors, and The Phillipian in general, just trying to ease their transition in and doing anything possible to make them feel more comfortable in their new roles. That’s been something that I’ve had to shift—not being so responsible in terms of the content of the paper, but still trying to participate when my presence is needed.

6. As someone who plays Varsity Soccer and is very passionate about the sport, what team do you root for and who is your favorite player?

I’ve been a fan of Manchester City since 2011. I’d say quite a long time. And my favorite player was Kün Aguero, who was a player from Manchester City. Soccer has been something that I’ve not only tried to make my own in terms of just playing, or just the way I interacted with the sport, but it’s something that’s been passed down through my family through my father. Although he supports a different team—he supports one of my team’s rivals, Chelsea—I think that part of the reason why I became a Manchester City fan was to almost branch off, to create my own identity within the sport and with the team I chose. 

7. Do you have any secret pregame routine in soccer?

No matter if I’m playing at home or away, in the freezing cold or in the heat, for every game, I wear the same Adidas white thermal wear shirt below my jersey. I don’t know why I started doing it, but after I wore it during a few games in pre-season and made the team, it was something I refused to give up, even when it was a little uncomfortable or frankly ridiculous to wear it. 

8. What was it like growing up with a twin brother and entering Andover together?

[Having] a twin who is in the same grade as you, you know someone you can directly relate your experiences to, whether that’s different classes, sports, or clubs. Another advantage would be the ability to take your Andover experiences in different ways. Both of us really love soccer and tennis and we like similar subjects, but I’ve been more involved in The Phillipian and he’s done more in photography and other things. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity, whether it’s through friend groups or through the things I commit myself to on campus, to branch out and establish my own identity.

9. What type of music do you listen to?

I’m a big Roddy Ricch fan, I am into all of his music. Especially for soccer games, I like to listen to music that gets me hyped up and gets me in the zone, so I’d say “Every Season” by Roddy Ricch is a personal favorite. My mother and father are from Ghana, so sometimes I listen to Ghanian and African music. Sometimes it’s more hip hop. Sometimes, for my games, it’s R&B or pop music. My music taste is all over the place.

10. What is your favorite place on campus?

People close to me know that I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the Newsroom. Especially over the past year, the Newsroom has been a safe space for me, but also a place where I feel constantly motivated and challenged, as well. It almost connects you with people who have been in your position before you, who aren’t physically in the space. The sense of legacy is something that I’ve tried to establish, especially over the past year. I tried to leave the paper in a spot where future board members can make it their own, and I tried to make it my own in different ways as well. And I think seeing everyone’s names on the wall, especially people who I’ve worked with, grounds me and keeps me focused. That’s why I fell in love with The Phillipian, not just because of the content but because of the people and the connections that I’ve made.