Community Reflection Serves as First ASM of 2024

Ryan Lam ’24 and Eleanor DeHoog ’24 emphasized two values, love and luck, in their speech.

Deputy Head of School Merrilee Mardon and Eleanor DeHoog ’24 and Ryan Lam ’24, Andover’s 2023-2024  Student Body Co-President, facilitated a Community Reflection at last week’s All-School Meeting (ASM) by discussing goals for the Andover community for the new year. Students and faculty also enjoyed musical performances by the Fidelio Society and a jazz duet at the meeting which was held on January 5. 

New Deputy Head of School, Dr. Merrilee Mardon, opened the discussion by formally introducing herself to the community and detailing her journey to becoming a faculty member at Andover. Mardon also presented the most important values for her going into the new year. 

“Three things have become, personally, really important to my growth: humor, humility, and optimism. And, it is January, it’s 20 degrees outside, and there are hard times. So humor, humility, and optimism have become [core] values and when you face hard times, you can get through quite a bit [with these values],” said Mardon. 

Following Mardon, DeHoog and Lam talked about the theme of core values and shared their New Year’s resolutions for Andover. They highlighted the key values of their campaign — love and luck — as well as how they can set guidelines for the rest of the school year. 

“So we’re going to talk a little bit about love, and a little bit about luck. You [probably] haven’t noticed yet, but I want everyone to take a look back at all the emails that we’ve sent to you all this evening. Every time we write an email, we sign off with ‘with Love and Luck, Eleanor and Ryan.’ Love and luck are the guiding principles that we want to take with us in 2024, and we hope you do the same,” said DeHoog and Lam. 

Christine Marshall, Instructor in Biology, appreciated the sentiment of the All-School Meeting, prompting the whole community to get to know each other more. Marshall also reflected on Dr. Mardon’s speech as well as the personal experiences DeHoog and Lam shared to represent their resolutions for the new year. 

“I thought the ASM was great. It was really meaningful to hear from Merrilee Mardon, our new Deputy Head of School, because she is new to our community, and it was fun to hear a bit about her past to Andover and what she was looking for, a vocation for herself and her family. I think this ASM was focused on us and our community. It was an opportunity for us to learn a bit more about one another. It was great that Eleanor and Ryan had a chance to share their experiences with the community as well as [highlight] how one year is closing and [how] their graduation year is opening up,” said Marshall.

Jay Wei ’27 expressed his perspective on this ASM as a new student as well as his appreciation for its message. Additionally, Wei discussed how the musical performances felt welcoming and lifted the spirits of the meeting.

“It was a pretty welcoming ceremony for us to get back into school and to see my peers perform on stage. It was really exciting, especially Brandon Fu [’25’s]performance and Jacob Kaiser [’24’s] spectacular accompaniment. I want to highlight how our community is so supportive, because there was a lot of clapping during Dr. Mardon’s speech, and that shows our affection known to our faculty and staff,” said Wei. 

In a separate interview for The Phillipian, Mardon considered how students have struggled with previous winters and offered a New Year’s resolution for the Andover community to follow. She acknowledged the resources available during the winter term and encouraged students to appreciate Andover for its supportive faculty.

“What I would love is if all of us stop talking about how bad winter is and focus on how good it is to be in such a lovely place. For students, I would most wish that, if they are starting to feel like it’s too much, they ask for help instead of holding onto bad feelings. Some adults here want to be helpful,” said Mardon.