Elected as Andover’s 2023-2024 Student Body Co-presidents last March, Ryan Lam ’24 and Eleanor DeHoog ’24 have worked over the past year to leave behind a legacy of collaboration with the administration and continue to look to the future throughout the rest of their term.
In a school-wide email sent on February 7, Lam and DeHoog reflected on their journey as Co-Presidents over the past year, returning to their platform that acted as a foundation for their work and reviewing the initiatives from their campaign.
“As promised throughout our campaign, we’ve strived for transparency throughout the duration of our tenure… Last Spring, we ran on a platform of Community Health & Bonding and Transparency & Involvement. Heading into this school year, the initiatives on our plate have been our top priority: Day Student Dorms, Town Hall, Community Committee, [and] meals with the Co-Presidents, Dr. [Kington], Dr. [Mardon], Blue Plates, and Oasis Spaces,” wrote Lam and DeHoog.
The two Co-Presidents have worked to incorporate the values of their platform through finding opportunities to collaborate with various groups to address the impact of current events in the community. Among their initiatives to foster community conversation and inclusion were facilitating Frank Tipton’s “Israel-Palestine 101” presentation and discussing the day student experience.
“[We] helped partner [the] Head of School office with JSU, MSA, and SWANA to discuss how best Andover could support its students in light of the heavily nuanced conflict [which] led to discussions with faculty and Mr. Frank Tipton’s presentation: ‘Israel-Palestine 101’… [We are also] working with one of Andover’s statisticians, Dr. Conoscenti, to collect statistical and anecdotal data on the Day Student Experience to inform further community integration [with a] survey coming soon,” wrote Lam and DeHoog.
In addition to working with the Andover administration, Lam and DeHoog lead Andover’s Student Council, which consists of three class representatives from each grade and five pairs of Cluster Co-Presidents. Ozochi Onunaku ’25, one of the Class of 2025 representatives, spoke on his experience working with the Co-Presidents.
“Working with Nor and Ryan has been an amazing experience. As Co-Presidents, they’ve been really helpful, informative, and resourceful about how they wanted to go about their initiative and planning… I really like the way in which they approached each meeting while at Town Hall, in this case, with such efficiency. They all held us to a high standard of respect and opened up a space for dialogue and for us to talk about our own ideas in relation to what they wanted to bring to the table… I really appreciated for them to bring… a very strong and invigorating presence,” said Onunaku.
Saraya Angbazo ’25, another one of the Class of 2025 representatives, pointed to the Co-Presidents’ Town Hall initiative and the impact she has seen it have on the broader Andover community. She elaborated on how much of the Student Council’s work has been dedicated to building community within Andover.
“In years past, Student Council meetings have always been exclusive just for Student Council members. But this year, they decided to open it up to the entire school and call it town hall as now everyone, whether you’re on student council or not, everyone is able to attend these meetings and hear what’s going on or what people are planning or hosting. Creating this inclusive environment and opening it up to the entire school has made significant strides in fostering community with Andover,” said Angbazo.
Angbazo continued, “Another thing I really liked are all the dinners that they’re hosting, like the dinners with Dr. Kington or the dinners with Dr. Mardon… Having this space to get to know these very important figures at school is really important and I’m glad that Nor and Ryan are doing something about it and doing something to help create that community and relationship.”
Aya Murata, Assistant Dean of Students and Faculty Advisor to the Student Council, described the Co-Presidents’ journey in their roles and the challenges and obstacles that they’ve faced. She highlighted the ways Dehoog and Lam have confronted Andover’s slow approach to change and new ideas.
“As with any school Co-President initiatives there are some things that hit some bumps in the road but it’s not for the lack of trying… We are a slow moving ship, Phillips Academy, as most institutions are, and so sometimes there are unforeseen obstacles that get in the way of progress. They’re only school presidents for one year and so they have to plant the seeds for progress that will happen over time or pick up ideas that previous school presidents have wanted to pursue but in their short lived timeframe here on campus in that role, sometimes they’re not able to move as quickly as they would like,” said Murata.
Murata continued, “They lean in with curiosity, they lean in to understand what the obstacles are and try to understand, is there a way to be creative about approaching this from a different direction or does it just feel like, ‘Shoot, maybe this isn’t meant to be this year.’ They’ve been very patient and persistent in their communications of wanting to see, is there a different way to approach this and… sometimes the answer is, ‘Yes, actually,’ and sometimes it’s, ‘No, not right now, it’s not the right time.’”