Cheers broke out across upperclassmen dorms on campus after the first Senior Head of School Day (HOSD) was announced in an email sent by Jennifer Elliott ’94, Assistant Head of School for Residential Life and Dean of Students, to all Seniors on May 14. Following the tradition of the annual all-school HOSD, all classes for Seniors were either canceled or excused.
According to Elliott, this was the first official Senior HOSD. Mary Muromcew ’22 explained that she and others who were involved in organizing the event were motivated to give the Seniors a much-needed chance to relax and destress.
“Sean and I brought [the idea] up to Tori Darling, who’s a [Senior] class rep at a student council meeting—I think sometime in the fall or winter. She convinced Dean Elliott to get on board and then Dean Elliott, [Student Program Coordinator] Ms. Cormier, [Director of Student Activities] Mr. Capano, and the people from campus grounds did most of the planning for us, which was awesome. We’re very very thankful to them. I know that our class, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve had a very interesting four years here. And everyone who helped plan it knew that it would be something really needed and really enjoyable. And it ended up being that way, it was really fun for all of us,” said Muromcew.
Many Seniors reacted to Elliott’s announcement—which also revealed that the school would be providing food and games, including an ice cream truck, a dunk tank, and Slip N’ Slide on the fields behind the stadium—with screams of joy. Elina Choi ’22 enjoyed the sunshine and found the event to be a great way to bond with friends before graduation.
“I was in my common room and everyone screamed at the same time; I only checked my phone to see what everyone was looking at. I was so excited for the free day, especially after seeing that the weather was going to be beautiful. My best friend and I got breakfast and donuts downtown before heading to the fields to join our friends. I had so much fun lawning, taking 0.5 selfies, and going on the Slip N’ Slide. The whole day was so much fun, and it was great to spend time with the whole class outside, and bond in the weeks leading up to graduation,” wrote Choi in an email to The Philipian.
Chenault Ellis ’22 also enjoyed playing lawn games, getting dunked in the dunk tank, and doing the Slip N’ Slide. He highlighted that he had the most fun playing nine-square, which he had fond memories of playing since his junior year at Andover.
“I spent the majority of the day shirtless on the fields behind Snyder. I ate popsicles, Chick-fil-A, and played a lot of lawn games like spikeball, volleyball, and nine-square. I also got dunked in the dunk tank and did the Slip N’ Slide. The most fun part of the day was probably nine-square. That game has a special place in my heart because it was the first lawn game I played when I got here my freshman fall,” wrote Ellis in an email to The Phillipian.
According to Elliott, the school recognized the Seniors’ efforts to find time to relax and reconnect with each other. Thus, the school decided to organize the holiday for Seniors because they felt it was important to give the class a chance to be together as graduation approached.
“As Seniors are nearing the end of their time at [Andover], they often seek ways to spend time with their closest friends and find time to connect with peers in new and different friend groups. It can feel emotional and overwhelming to prepare for Commencement while wrapping up final commitments and responsibilities. Sometimes we just need a day to relax, play, and be together” said Elliott.
Elliott left the possibility of Senior HOSD becoming a tradition open. Cathy Cho ’22 reflected on Senior Skip Day, a tradition that had not been school-sanctioned. She thinks Seniors deserve to have their own official HOSD in order to make the most of their remaining time at Andover, a sentiment echoed by many other Seniors.
“I had heard of the tradition of Senior Skip Day, but I never knew it might be [school-sanctioned]. I thought it was just one day all the Seniors decided not to go to their classes. And it’s not like a Head of School Day—classes aren’t excused. I think that was what it was before except they made it official this time, which I think is a nice way to just celebrate. I really liked how the institution just supported it. I think we should [continue to have Senior HOSD] for the Seniors,” said Cho.