Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington Announces 33rd Head of School Day

Cheers filled the Cochran Chapel during Friday’s All-School Meeting (ASM) as Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington announced Monday, April 8, as Andover’s 33rd Head of School Day (HOSD). Following ASM, an email was sent out to the Andover community detailing the logistics for the upcoming three-day weekend.

In the past, HOSD has been announced the evening before in Paresky Commons as a surprise to the Andover community. With the total solar eclipse occurring next Monday, however, Kington decided to announce HOSD two days in advance this year.

“Because of the eclipse, I thought it made sense to announce [it] on Friday at All-School Meeting so that those who wanted to travel to see the eclipse would have more time,” wrote Kington in an email to The Phillipian.

In keeping with tradition, Kington’s announcement was accompanied by a symbolic prop: a blue top hat decorated with a bold white ‘A.’ Kington described the inspiration behind selecting this prop, which he customized himself.

“I knew that prior [Heads of School] had used various sports equipment (field hockey stick and squash racket as I recall!) to announce Head of School Day, and I think I saw the blue hat in an online hat catalogue (I am a fan of hats but try not to buy too many since I end up never wearing them as often as I thought I would) and decided to buy it, attach an Andover ‘A’ and used that as my prop!” wrote Kington in an email to The Phillipian.

Although this year’s HOSD announcement deviated from tradition, Simi Gandhi ’24, a four-year Senior, appreciated the timing. She expressed how the ASM, in which Dr. José Manuel Zorrilla Matilla, Instructor in Physics, and Caroline Odden, Dean of Studies, presented on Monday’s solar eclipse, enhanced her excitement toward the announcement.

“Having the ASM be about the eclipse…created an additional layer of excitement. I’ve just been used to having HOSD announced the night before, and while it is exciting, I think the whole presentation about the eclipse [built] up the suspense and momentum to make it really exciting… I’ve been talking with my friends and I think we’re going to New Hampshire or Vermont to try and see a [fuller view] of the eclipse. It should be really fun,” said Gandhi.

Analisa Sevilla, Teaching Fellow in Spanish, also hopes to travel on Monday to observe the solar eclipse. As she had already planned for HOSD in her teaching schedule, Sevilla did not view it as a major disruption to her curriculum.

“I’m excited for HOSD and that it’s falling on the same day as the eclipse so I can drive up to New Hampshire to see it in person… [Since] we planned our syllabus to account for HOSD, when we knew we weren’t going to have classes, it just shifts things, [and] it’s not too bad for me,” said Sevilla.

Mayari Burt ’27 emphasized HOSD as a useful break from the stress of Andover’s daily schedule. She described her plans for her first HOSD at Andover.

“I’m really happy about [HOSD]. I really needed this mental health day. I know we just got back, but I’m already beginning to feel the pressure of the end of the year, and with all the snow and the erratic weather, the winter blues are back. I think this is the perfect way to break them… I’m definitely going to [have] a lot of fun with sleeping and spending time with friends, and [getting] prepared for the next week,” said Burt.