Students were able to participate in this year’s Giving Day through a special scavenger hunt for Andover’s mascot: Gunga. This year, a total of ten stuffed Gungas were hidden around campus. Each came with a 500 dollar reward that students could donate to an area of the school that is important to them.
A tradition that started five years ago, PA Giving Day allows Andover alumni, families, faculty, and staff to support the school through donating gifts to various institutions within the academy. According to Nicole Cherubini, Director of Development in the Office of Academy Resources, the event date fluctuates each year due to specific deadlines in the academic calendar.
“The date has shifted, but it has always been in the spring window. We tend to align [the day] with what is called End-of-Tuition Day, which means after a certain point in the academic year, tuition is no longer covering the full cost of students, so the resources at that point are coming from either from alumni gifts or they’re coming from the endowment,” said Cherubini.
Marek Deveau ’23, one of the students who found a Gunga, commented on how the event helped him show gratitude towards the school and its efforts to provide students with the best opportunities. Furthermore, as a new Upper, this experience allowed him to participate in a school event and give back to Andover.
“It was a really cool experience. It’s my first year at this school and I helped out on a task, so being able to do that firsthand on this campus was really nice. [It allowed me] to show appreciation and also generosity, which is something very important. The school has offered so many kids great opportunities [and] I feel like it’s a great way to give back,” said Deveau.
Justin Hardy ’23, who found a Gunga doll in the 3D printer of the MakerSpace, decided to donate the money towards teaching support. He explained how the donation process worked for the students. Students were asked to choose an option they resonated with most off of a list of potential in-school recipients.
“Based [on] the list of things that was on the back of the Gunga, there were some student related things, but everything on campus does have an effect on students. Whether it’s about the new music building or athletics, everything [affects] the students somehow. We decided to donate to teaching support, which was one of the options,” said Hardy.
Jessica Li ’24 was happy to find a Gunga doll soon after reading the email sent out by Jennifer Elliot ’94, Dean of Students and Assistant Head of School for Residential Life. It did not take Li long to find the stuffed Gunga.
“I found the Gunga doll in the ASC just moments after I read the email, [and] I was really surprised and happy. I donated half of it to the Andover Fund and half of it to the New Music Building,” said Li.
While it is a relatively new event, Cherubini emphasized the significance of having a day in the school year where both current students and the larger Andover community are able to give back. Whether by finding a stuffed Gunga on the paths or by donating to Andover’s PA Giving Day fund, the hope for the day was to connect both people on and off campus within the Andover community.
“This is really a day focused on participation from the community, so our greatest goal is to build awareness around the opportunities to support the academy, the importance of supporting it, and all the opportunities the kids are given and the student experience at Andover each day and each year as an educational institution. That’s really our goal, to build awareness both on campus and within the larger Andover community alumni and friends,” said Cherubini.