Students Arrive at Andover to New Orientation Schedules and Traditions

Blue Keys and Blue Key Heads cheer as new students arrive to campus.

On September 5, students and Blue Key Orientation Leaders arrived on campus for Orientation, a two day program to introduce new students to Andover. Throughout Orientation, students received tours of campus, were introduced to their advisors and other members of their Student Team, and participated in events such as icebreakers and games with their Orientation groups. 

While most of the planning of orientation came from the Dean of Students Office and the Student Activities Office, it was largely directed by student leaders such as the Blue Key Heads and Blue Keys once it started. Christopher Capano, Director of Student Activities, spoke on the role that student orientation leaders played in the programming and new students’ introduction to Andover.

“The Blue Key Heads are basically the student orientation leaders. The best way to describe it, [they] keep spirits high, keep everyone happy, [and are] a welcoming presence to the new students and their parents. Then once kids are here, on this year it was Tuesday afternoon, they were going on tours and skill building and team building. That continued on Wednesday, the Blue Key Heads helped lead those groups around campus,” said Capano.

This year, over 100 Blue Keys, all of whom were Senior volunteers, helped with Orientation and led small groups of new students around campus to their activities, referred to as Blue Key groups. Mario Calvo ’24, a Blue Key, spoke on the role that they played in the orientation process. According to Calvo, Blue Keys were responsible not only for introducing the students to Andover, but also for helping them bond with each other and build community within their class. 

“The main thing that we did was just really helping to get new students oriented into the school. [For example], showing them around the school, giving them a particular vision of what it’s going to be like being a student at Andover, and also helping them just find community within our campus and spaces they feel comfortable in,” said Calvo. 

As a part of the Orientation programming, new students were given the opportunity to speak with returning students and their Blue Keys to gain insight into what student life at Andover is like. Bryan Bu ’26, a new Lower, expressed his gratitude towards Andover for providing him opportunities to learn from older students and get situated to his new student experience. 

“I thought Andover did a really nice job introducing us to new people, especially people who definitely knew the place well, so you can kind of see what your future might be like because these people had a lot of experience. I think it gave you pretty good insight on how the year would hopefully turn out,” said Bu. 

However, when describing the programming of orientation, Frank Hu ’26, another a new Lower, felt that the orientation was disorganized. Hu noted that he felt new students would benefit with a shorter orientation.

“Lowers, Uppers, Seniors, and PGs [Postgraduates] were all put into one group, and we went through a bunch of activities throughout the day. I’m not going to lie; it was very hectic. It felt not well-organized; we had two Blue Keys in charge of each group, each mini-group of about ten or so students, and a lot of people had a hard time finding them. People got mixed up. It was chaotic, to say the least. Overall, I think if we had one day of orientation, it would have been better than two,” said Hu.