Andover magazine - Summer 2019 issue

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Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts 01810-4161

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Households that receive more than one Andover magazine are encouraged to call 978-749-4267 to discontinue extra copies.

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The magazine you’re holding is a direct result of your input, and we need your help. Andover magazine will soon be redesigned and we’re counting on your feedback to create the kind of alumni magazine you want to read and share with others. Please visit We look forward to hearing from you as we develop the next generation of Andover magazine!



Do you have a favorite spot on the PA or Abbot campus? Send me an email at; we may feature it in an upcoming issue of Andover magazine.

THANK YOU! Your PA Giving Day Impact

A Love Letter to Abbot Campus


donors supported Andover

$2.48M raised for vital priorities




A cozy corner in the McKeen Room.

Phillips and Abbot classes gave back I was instructed to meet my potential new boss in Abbot Hall. Walking left around the Sacred Circle, I caught site of the grand stairway leading to the main entrance—or so I thought. I imagined myself confidently throwing open the doors, sunlight radiating behind me, as I entered the beautifully decorated waiting room. Reality was quite different. After carefully hobbling up on my high heels, I delicately tried the door. No luck. I tried again, harder. Still no movement. Then I began to yank, harder still. A friendly voice hollered over from across the circle, “Hi! That door doesn’t work. It’s always locked. You have to enter at the ground level.” My visions of a grand entrance dashed, I walked back down and entered through the more pedestrian lower-level door. I still chuckle to myself thinking of this story. It reminds me of the many unique aspects and yet untold stories of this sleepy part of campus.

My favorite spot in Abbot Hall is the large arched window on the second floor that overlooks the Sacred Circle. No matter the time of day or weather, the light is perfect, illuminating the elegant marble staircase and offering a quiet respite in the midst of a hectic work day. The McKeen Rooms in Draper Hall offer inspiration every time I walk in. I love the upholstered window seat, the elaborate wallpaper, and the dusty antique volumes lining the bookcases. I can almost hear the whispered giggles of Abbot girls as they gathered here, dressed in their finest, for their weekly social with the Phillips boys. As I enter my fourth year at the Academy, I look forward to discovering more special locations on this beautiful campus and sharing them with you through this magazine.

Allyson M. Irish, Editor


parents and grandparents participated


countries and 38 states represented





The view out of the second floor window of Abbot Hall on a recent summer morning.

scholarships created for talented students


Photos by Jessie Wallner

y first visit to the Abbot campus was on a quiet mid-June morning in 2015. Parking on School Street on my way for a job interview, I entered through the Merrill Gate and was awestruck by the sheer beauty of the campus. The brick buildings. The artists’ names engraved on Abbot Hall. The meticulously cared for grass and trees. The carefully maintained walkways. “This,” I thought, “would be a lovely place to work.”

FEATURES 12 Points of Pride

Sharon Tentarelli ’90 takes a look back at Andover’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, an organization she cofounded 30 years ago.



23 For the Love of Teaching


This year’s three retiring faculty members embody the best of Phillips Academy.

They’ve tackled some of the toughest issues of our time: human trafficking, juvenile lifers, world peace. A look at the impact of our dynamic alumni.

28 Your Dutiful Son, Samuel

In poignant letters from the Phillips Family Archives, a young Samuel Phillips Jr.— future founder of Phillips Academy—expresses the joys and frustrations of boarding school life. 30 The Palfrey Effect

Some said he was too young. Too inexperienced. Too different. Yet in seven years, Head of School John Palfrey proved himself worthy, making the most of his Andover education.

14 DEPARTMENTS: From the Head of School 3| Dateline Andover 6| The World Comes to Andover 10| Sports Talk 11| The Buzz 40| Alumni Calendar 41| Andover Bookshelf 42| Class Notes 43| In Memoriam 91| End Note 96| CLOSE-UPS: Lucy Bingham ’64: A Lifetime of Wanderlust 58| Chris White ‘93: More Than Just Yourself 78|

38 The Power of Participation

Learn why more than 7,320 Andover donors have joined the Bulfinch Loyalty Society.

Access these sites at





Linked In



Andover | Summer 2019



SUMMER 2019 Volume 112, Number 3 PUBLISHER Tracy M. Sweet EDITOR Allyson Irish DESIGNER Ken Puleo ASSOCIATE EDITOR Rita Savard CONTRIBUTORS Writers: Matthew Bellico, Nancy Hitchcock; Design: INDUSTRY11 ©2019 Phillips Academy, Andover, MA All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Andover, the magazine of Phillips Academy, is published four times a year by the Office of Communication at Phillips Academy, 180 Main Street, Andover, MA 01810-4161. Main PA phone: 978-749-4000 Changes of address and death notices: 978-749-4269 Phillips Academy website: Andover magazine phone: 978-749-4677 Email: Periodicals postage paid at Andover MA and additional mailing offices. Postmasters: Send address changes to Phillips Academy 180 Main Street Andover MA 01810-4161 ISSN-0735-5718

1942 Pot Pourri

To the Editor:

Letters to the Editor Policy Andover magazine welcomes letters of 200 or fewer words from members of the Andover and Abbot communities addressing topics that have been discussed in the magazine. Letters will be edited for clarity, length, and civility. Opinions expressed in the Letters to the Editor section do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the editorial staff or of Phillips Academy.


Andover | Summer 2019

I was heart-warmed to see that the photo my dad, Fred Kahn II ’42, [right] took of his friend and classmate George H.W. Bush was selected to be on the cover of the winter 2019 Andover magazine. It is an iconic moment of a great young man looking toward the future. My father would have been so moved.

Frederic Kahn ’79



WITH GRATITUDE for distribution through St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program, San Francisco’s largest such endeavor. Andover’s commitment to “youth from every quarter” is equally on display 365 days a year. The Team Shuman admissions office has once again yielded an extraordinary group of young people for Andover’s 242nd entering class. Team Shuman set records with the largest applicant pool, the lowest admit rate, and the largest number of underrepresented students of color admitted. The yield rate—students accepting Andover’s offer of admission— was once again astonishing. The quality and diversity of the student body is awe-inspiring. “Knowledge and goodness” frames our capital campaign. When we reached out to the Andover community for PA

Giving Day in March, you all responded. The day met its goal in terms of number of gifts (3,500+) and set a record in terms of funds raised (more than $2.4 million). The Andover community has demonstrated time and again a willingness to invest in this core value. Also this spring, the Andover community gathered at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Hosted by Bill Lewis ’74, the event was an emotional and reflective experience especially because the entire museum was open for a few hours just for the Andover community. Andover is far from perfect; we don’t get every decision or every teaching moment right. But everyone works hard and, by and large, gets it correct far more often than not. Our students are growing up in

Dave White

uring my term as head of school, I’ve often been asked by alumni: “What’s surprised you the most about Andover?” While I have a range of responses to that question, I thought I’d devote this final letter to a related question: “What’s impressed you the most about Andover?” I’ve been so struck by this school’s enduring values and the effort the community makes to live those values, day in and day out. I think the alignment with and the endeavor toward those values makes Andover strong. For more than a decade, Non Sibi Day has brought the campus and community to life in ways that are inspiring and humbling. The Office of Community Engagement organizes literally every student and most adults into teams to work on projects ranging from Andover Bread Loaf seminars for young kids writing poetry and food prep in soup kitchens, to work on issues of homelessness in our region and the world. Alumni join our campus community in this effort, and this year participated in more than 40 projects in 19 cities and across three continents. Meals on Wheels is in its 10th year as a Non Sibi Day project in New York City, led by Marcia McCabe ’73. Chrystal Akor ’00 leads meal packing and delivery with Open Hand in Atlanta. On the West Coast, Murrey Nelson ’80 leads three non sibi projects, one of which is organizing donated clothes

an environment where adults model this behavior at every level of the organization. This alignment of our values with lived experience will ensure that Andover’s students and graduates lead lives of purpose. That may well be the most important thing we can do. I’ve enjoyed many things about my seven years as Andover’s 15th Head of School. The opportunity to connect with the Andover community—students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, trustees—is high on that list. It’s been a great privilege to serve you and this extraordinary institution. I really mean it: Thank you. Sincerely,

John G. Palfrey P’21, ’23 Andover | Summer 2019


On Rabbit Pond Great blue herons are often spotted on Rabbit Pond, which was one of ornithologist and faculty emeritus Tom Cone’s favorite campus locales. “There used to be a farmer in the area by the name of Babbit,” says Cone. “If you look at old maps, this was originally called Babbit’s Pond, but somewhere along the way the ‘B’ got replaced with an ‘R.’” Photo by Jill Clerkin


Andover | Summer 2019

Jessie Wallner

Andover | Summer 2019




President-Elect Amy Falls to Chair ‘Search for 16’

Two senior administrators have been appointed new interim leadership roles for the 2019–2020 academic year coinciding with the search to replace John Palfrey P’21,’23, who left Andover this summer to become president of the MacArthur Foundation. Jim Ventre ’79, assistant head of school for admission and financial aid, will be interim head of school, and Jill Thompson, current director of admission, will become interim dean of admission and financial aid. Both Ventre and Thompson will return to their respective roles once Palfrey’s successor is on board. Rising through the ranks in the Office of Admission since arriving in 1983, Ventre’s strategic outlook and entrepreneurial spirit have benefited both the campus and the wider independent school landscape. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Ventre will focus on “keeping school,” ensuring that students continue to thrive and that the Academy remains guided by its strategic priorities. As interim dean, Thompson will draw upon her institutional knowledge and expertise in student recruitment and enrollment management. A graduate of Bowdoin College with a master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Thompson came to Andover in 2004 as a teaching fellow. She joined the admission office in 2005 and has served in several roles on the team, becoming director of admission in 2015. Living on campus with her family, she is also a house counselor and academic advisor. Ventre looks forward to a smooth transition this summer as he works to advance the school’s highest strategic priorities and support Thompson’s leadership of the admission enterprise.

Voted in as president-elect of the Phillips Academy Board of Trustees this past winter, Amy C. Falls ’82, P’19, ’21, is already hard at work on her first assignment: leading the search for Andover’s 16th Head of School. Falls will succeed current board president Peter L.S. Currie ’74, P’03, in July 2020, becoming the first woman to hold the seat in the school’s 241-year history. “Amy is a devoted trustee with broad institutional knowledge, financial savvy, and exceptional ability to engage and motivate others,” says Currie. “We are thrilled to have her wisdom in the boardroom and guiding the search for Andover’s next head of school.” Falls launched that process this spring with a stakeholder listening tour, reaching out to faculty, staff, trustees, students, alumni, and parents. Early conversations yielded a set of essential characteristics for the next head. In an email to the community in May, Falls wrote: “To lead Andover requires intellectual rigor, diplomacy


Andover | Summer 2019

and decisiveness, the ability to communicate with conviction, equal measures of confidence and humility, and a deep understanding of the pressures facing adolescents. Above all, meeting Andover’s high standards must be authentically rooted in a personal value system that aligns with the school’s mission.” Falls has been a charter trustee for seven years and serves with Currie and Joseph Y. Bae ’90, P’21, ’23, as cochairs of Knowledge & Goodness: The Andover Campaign. Her record of service has earned high praise across generations of alumni and parents and her leadership on the campaign front has meant personal investment in Andover’s future, as well as strategic involvement in all facets of planning and execution. The chief investment officer at The Rockefeller University and a former partner at Morgan Stanley, Falls earned degrees from Georgetown University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; her professional experience

Student Publication Delves into Themes of Identity and Experience Giving voice to Andover’s motto of “youth from every quarter,” a second volume of student narratives on issues of equity and inclusion will be published later this year. Fully curated and edited by the student organization Out of the Blue, Into the Blue will include student essays on identity and intersectionality, among other topics. The original book, Out of the Blue, was published in 2014 and served as a teaching tool and conversation prompt for students, faculty, and other adults on campus. Funding for the second edition was provided by the Abbot Academy Fund. For more information or to order a copy, email

John Gillooly

includes positions with Morgan Stanley as managing director and global fixed income strategist. Prior to Rockefeller, she was Andover’s first CIO from 2005 to 2011, helping to build a New York–based team that managed Andover’s endowment through both prosperous and challenging times. Her non sibi portfolio is also expansive and includes seats on the boards of the Ford Foundation and Harvard Management Company. As Falls chairs the search for the 16th head of school, she credits John Palfrey P’21, ’23, for “inspiring an institutional vision that continues to bear fruit.” Every aspect of the 2014 Strategic Plan, she notes, is either complete or well underway. The plan was a launch pad for the historic Knowledge & Goodness campaign. “Andover has never been stronger, from either a mission or execution standpoint,” Falls says. “It’s an honor—and a humbling one—to serve the school at this important time of transition and excellence.”

Award-Winning Documentary Explores Puerto Rican Independence Movement When Juan Segarra ’68 attended his 50th Reunion, he was accompanied by a documentary filmmaker. It was the final stretch in a story that, through numerous interviews, deep research, and seemingly nonstop filming, took more than 10 years to tell. The result is The Last American Colony, winner of the 2019 Harlem International Film Festival award for best documentary. At the heart of the film—which examines Puerto Rico’s longstanding oppressive relationship with the United States—is a redemption story told through the eyes of Segarra who, after receiving a world-class education at Andover and Harvard, was drawn to fight for Puerto Rico’s independence as a member of Los Macheteros (The Machete Wielders). Segarra was arrested in 1985 for his central role in Los Macheteros’ 1983 bank robbery of $7.2 million from Wells Fargo, and granted clemency in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. He was released from prison in 2004 after serving 19 years of a 55-year sentence. Now a strong opponent of using violence as a means to an end, Segarra—through his compelling narrative—illuminates many shocking truths and provides a much-needed history lesson on Puerto Rico’s problematic David and Goliath relationship with the United States. The documentary was shown this summer at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Woods Hole, Mass. Andover | Summer 2019



Food is precious. Yet, access to healthy food isn’t as easy as it should be. Phillips Academy, says Flavia Vidal, English instructor and director of the Brace Center for Gender Studies, is uniquely positioned to address issues of food justice: where it comes from, how it is processed, who gets it, and how it gets there. The Academy’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, equity, inclusion, and wellness has followed many students after graduation and into professions related to food. In 2018, campus offices and academic departments —through the generosity of the Abbot Academy Fund and the Kemper Lectureship Fund—joined forces to foster community interest in food justice with a year’s worth of educational programming and events. The culmination was a Food Justice Symposium in March that brought alumni food activists back to campus to share their stories. Food justice is a grassroots movement that seeks to address the disparity in food accessibility; it’s also a response to a nationwide crisis in which economic pressures have led to limited access to diverse, healthy, culturally relevant, affordable, and sustainably produced foods. “The kitchen can be the best place to fight for food justice,” says Hanover Vale ’15, a classically trained chef and current student at Dartmouth where she created Thirdspace, a program that combines food education, sustainability, and fine, affordable dining for students. Sharing the Kemper Auditorium stage in March with fellow alums Bing Broderick ’81, Sarah Chang ’05, Alexandra Donovan ’13, Felipe Storch de Oliveira ’12, and Taryn Wiens ’09, Vale told students that food justice isn’t just about access to healthy food—it’s also about educating people and changing their relationship to food. “When talking about food, learning how to prepare it, and then sitting down to enjoy that meal, it bridges gaps and gets people thinking about food’s intersectionality—and the place it has in our lives,” Vale explains. “Everybody

deserves access to nutritious food that they can enjoy.” Whether we like it or not, food is political, added Chang, a program manager at Champions for Change—a California-based social marketing campaign designed to promote fruit and vegetable consumption and food security. Immigration, the price of oil, labor, insurance costs, the stock market, and the government shutdown all have an effect on the food we eat. “The impact of this is reflected in our health outcomes, showing high instances of obesity and a rise in chronic diseases among the nation’s poorest citizens,” Chang says. “This is not something we should stand for.” Andover alums and educators hope students will continue the conversation. “We’re trying to show the work we do at Andover has real world implications,” says LaShawn Springer, director of the Office of Community and Multicultural Development, and one of the main organizers of the March symposium. “We’re calling on students to reflect on their privilege and work toward achieving greater equity for all, because everyone should have access to healthy food, regardless of their income level.”

REPRESENTING ANDOVER & THE USA Hearty congratulations to Andover boys swim & dive team, selected among all high schools to represent the United States at the 2019 World Schools Championship in swimming this May in Rio de Janeiro. The six-member PA contingent competed against 17 other elite high-school programs representing their respective nations. Also in May—and representing the red, white, and blue—National Hockey League players Cory Schneider ‘04 (a goalie for the New Jersey Devils) and Chris Kreider ‘10 (a forward for the New York Rangers) took part in the Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia. Finland won the competition, edging out Canada in the final game.


Andover | Summer 2019




Andover's Smoke Talks Imagine this: a group of men, faculty mostly but also local businessmen and area college students, sitting in a wood-paneled room on campus. The air is thick with smoke as the men listen intently. Some stroke their beards and nod in agreement while others animatedly disagree. Archived in a half dozen boxes in the Peabody Institute of Archaeology, Andover’s “Smoke Talks”—as they were colloquially known—were a regular part of the campus social scene in the early 1900s. Though membership was strictly limited to men and talks generally held in Peabody House (the student union located behind the Peabody Institute) students were occasionally invited and the event moved to a larger space in the chapel. During “ladies’ nights,” wives and sweethearts were allowed to attend with their male chaperones. Warren K. Moorehead, the second director of the Peabody, served as chairman of the Phillips Club Entertainment Committee, the governing body that managed the Smoke Talks. Moorehead oversaw the dues-paying members, which numbered roughly 70 to 100 each year, and would reach out to potential speakers. Topics ranged from the banal—military, insurance, and science—to the more exciting “Grand Strategy of the War,” “Conditions in China,” and “Prison Reform.” Moorehead regularly corresponded with Headmaster Claude M. Fuess about committee matters, often discussing the budget. Taking into account the impact of WWI, Moorehead penned the following to Fuess in a May 25, 1918 letter: “I consulted with one or two of the men here and they thought that in view of the war and that there are no more smoke talks [this year], the $18.00 unpaid should not be collected. We can let it go until next year. We don’t need this money and a collecting tour at this time might be misunderstood.” Director of the Peabody Ryan Wheeler calls the correspondence, which includes marketing pamphlets from potential speakers, “a treasure trove of information.” “These letters shed light on some of the important topics of the day,” said Wheeler. “They also provide insight into the social atmosphere of Phillips Academy in the early 20th century.”

Many speakers were considered for Andover’s Smoke Talks of the early 20th century. Some wrote letters (see left) offering their services, while others (middle and right) provided visual marketing materials.

Allyson Irish

A partner in the New York law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, Chris Auguste ’76, P’09, ’12, previously served as an alumni trustee from 2010 to 2014 and a member of the Alumni Council from 2004 to 2008. Auguste was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 2018, which recognized his exemplary non sibi commitment. Auguste was instrumental in the launch of the Alumni Council’s Non Sibi Day initiative in 2007 and remains active in community engagement projects that benefit Andover and global communities. Auguste has served on the advisory board of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers and was a member of the 2014 Strategic Planning Task Force, among other advisory roles. He currently is a regional association leader and a member of the Alumni Award of Distinction Committee, and supports student mentoring through the Office of Community and Multicultural Development. He holds degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Auguste will serve a sixyear term as a charter trustee. Dan Lasman ’73, P’06 is CFO at Fish & Richardson, a global intellectual property and litigation firm with 11 national and two international offices. Lasman has served as a class cohead agent for the past 30 years and was a member of the Annual Giving Board (AGB) from 2004 to 2007. Reappointed to the Alumni Council in 2015, he became cochair in 2017. In addition to cochairing the AGB, he sits on the Alumni Council Executive Committee. A member of the Andover Development Board, Lasman is committed to the advancement of Andover’s philanthropic efforts, serving on the Boston Regional Committee of Knowledge & Goodness: The Andover Campaign. Lasman was awarded the Yale Bowl as a senior and played for Andover’s storied undefeated 1971 football team. He holds degrees from the University of Chicago and Yale University. Lasman will serve a two-year term as an alumni trustee and cochair of the AGB. Yichen Zhang ’82, P’18, ’20, is chair and CEO of CITIC Capital, a Hong Kong-based global alternative investment management and advisory company with more than $25 billion in assets under management. Under Zhang’s leadership, CITIC Capital has invested in some of China’s leading companies, including McDonald’s China, Alibaba, Sina, and Harbin Pharmaceutical. Through investments, Zhang is the chair of McDonald’s China and Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Company as well as Universal Medical. He is active in political, economic, and social communities, serving on the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, among other leadership roles in China and globally. One of the first students to attend Andover from the Harbin Institute of Technology, Zhang has remained actively connected to the Academy. An ambassador for the Knowledge & Goodness campaign, Zhang is a member of the Campaign Leadership Council and the Parent Advancement Council, and is cochair of the Asia Council. Recognizing his legacy of support, Zhang was honored with the Distinguished Service Award in 2013. Zhang is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He will serve a six-year term as a charter trustee. Andover | Summer 2019




mong the many notable visitors to Andover this past winter and spring, the following speakers enlightened the community on subjects ranging from overparenting to surviving the Holocaust to Artificial Intelligence.

Julie Lythcott-Haims

How do parents buck the trend of overparenting and raise confident, self-sufficient adults? Julie Lythcott-Haims visited Andover in January and offered advice based on her experiences as a former Stanford University dean of freshmen, which she documented in her book How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. The New York Times best seller prompted a 2016 TED talk that received more than four million views.

Martín Espada

The purpose of his poetry, says Martín Espada, is “to humanize the dehumanized; to remember that human face that belongs to all of us.” The first Latinx poet to win the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2018), Espada visited campus this spring and read his poem “Alabanza” about the 43 workers who lost their lives on 9/11 while working in the Windows on the World restaurant on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. Espada has published nearly 20 books, including The Republic of Poetry—a Pulitzer Prize finalist—and his latest, Vivas to Those Who Have Failed.

Patrisse Cullors

Cofounder of the international #BlackLivesMatter movement, Patrisse Cullors was the keynote speaker for the Academy’s 29th Annual MLK Day Celebration. An activist and organizer, Cullors wrote the New York Times best seller When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. She told the PA audience that she believes we have a collective responsibility to create the foundations for freedom so that “our children and their children and their children’s children are not fighting the same fight that we are.”

Anton Musgrave

What will life look like 10, 20, and even 30 years from now? What skills will be required and how will businesses thrive in this new economy? Futurist Anton Musgrave is passionate about addressing these questions. A senior partner at FutureWorld International, Musgrave spoke to the Andover community in April, discussing Artificial Intelligence, and how non-machine traits such as empathy and relationship building will be critical to advance society.


Andover | Summer 2019

Barbara Pierce Bush

Barbara Pierce Bush is cofounder and board chair of Global Health Corps, a nonprofit created to build the next generation of global health leaders and develop health equity around the world. A granddaughter of 41st President George H.W. Bush ’42 and daughter of 43rd President George W. Bush ’64, she also spoke about the importance of her family relationships. Recently, with her twin sister Jenna Bush Hager, she published Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life. “The context of our lives is remarkable and different, but our day-to-day lives were normal,” says Bush. “My grandfather was very present and humble at all times. He was so involved in our life I thought he was like every other grandfather.” When he was president, she says “he was kind and gentle, which could have been seen as a weakness…I think my grandfather’s way is good leadership.”

Darnell Moore

“It feels good to be free, to be who you are, and to name that,” says Darnell Moore, a writer and activist, talking on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah about being a gay black man in America. As the Academy’s Black Arts Month keynote speaker in February, Moore talked with the Andover community about overcoming adversity. In his debut book, No Ashes in the Fire, Moore reveals how, at age 14, three boys poured gasoline on him and attempted to set him on fire because they suspected he was gay. Today, Moore is an advocate for social justice.

Leo Ullman ’57

As the number of Holocaust survivors decreases, Leo Ullman says it is even more critical to tell the stories of this horrible time in history. During a spring presentation on campus, Ullman recounted his own family history, which he wrote about in his book 796 Days: Hiding as a Child in Occupied Amsterdam During WWII. Ullman explains how, when he was 3 years old, his parents had him “disappear” by living with a policeman and his family while his parents hid in an attic for more than two years. Ullman ultimately reunited with his family and moved to the United States, where he graduated from Andover and Harvard, and earned MBA and JD degrees at Columbia University. He served as a U.S. Marine, established a law firm, and later managed Cedar Income Fund, which developed into a billion-dollar enterprise. —Nancy Hitchcock


Behind the Mask by Allyson Irish

It’s an age-old question. One that’s been pondered by thousands of faculty, students, and alumni: Who is behind that freakishly happy gorilla mask, and how did they get that cool job? Andover magazine was able to track down the wily spirit animal and—in an unprecedented secret interview—obtain information never before revealed about the clandestine tryouts, the rigors of being Gunga, and what the future holds for Andover’s unofficial mascot. Why did you want to become Gunga? I think, truthfully, I’ve always been a gorilla on the inside. It was only a matter of putting on the suit. More seriously, however, I wanted to cheer on and represent Big Blue. It was the best decision I ever made. John Hurley

What were Gunga tryouts like? Did you do anything to prepare? I had no idea beforehand how to prepare. I looked at myself in the mirror every night and imagined myself representing Big Blue on the field, the court, and the arena, hyping myself up and sort of just growling. The night before I watched some videos of professional mascot tryouts. They are actually really funny and I got a lot of ideas from them. What’s your primary responsibility as Gunga? My job is to be the soul of Andover, the living, breathing, school spirit. I represent Andover at all sports making sure everyone—including each and every rival student and athlete—knows exactly what Big Blue stands for. Gunga is the one spirit leader that everyone can have fun with. Some people may not know certain Blue Key heads and it can be intimidating. But no one knows who is behind the mask, so everyone can interact and have fun. How do you protect your true identity? I’m a really good actor. That’s all I can say without revealing too much. Sometimes I have to lie to a lot of people or make up random excuses. What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done as Gunga? Hmmm. Good question. I once got yelled at for going in the softball dugout to give our team high fives. The coaches did

NOT like that. My proudest moment in the suit was at winter A-E when I was playing knockout during a break at the boys’ basketball game. I’m normally pretty terrible at basketball and I wasn’t expecting to make any of the shots I took, especially in the Gunga suit. Nevertheless, I made a three-point shot on my first try. It was legendary. What is the hardest thing about becoming Gunga? Not talking. Definitely. It’s really, really hard not to talk and to go along with the cheers and the songs the Blue Key heads sing. Also, the suit itself is pretty gnarly. There’s a bunch of clothes pins and Velcro holding it together in all sorts of places and it gets sweaty— like really sweaty. Having to lie to keep your identity secret is also hard because the whole school is trying to figure out who you are. It can be very stressful. So, this goes out to all students: let Gunga be and let Gunga thrive. All Gunga wants to do is have fun with you guys! What about little Gungas on campus—what do they do? They are the sweetest. The first time I saw a little Gunga I almost died, it was the best thing ever. The little Gungas are our little mascots and they do a great job. Why do you think Gunga is so popular? Hmmm. The secret identity for sure. Andover students want to know EVERYTHING and if they don’t know something then they make it their mission to figure it out. People love a good secret at PA. What does the future hold for Gunga? I wouldn’t object to a video or an Instagram page. Gunga needs a new suit, too! Any advice for future Gungas? Be wild. Be the most insane, powerful, non sibi gorilla you can possibly be. Make the suit your own and a part of the spirit of this campus. Be the Big Blue, be crazy, and make everyone feel a part of this amazing and special campus. Be silly, run around, have fun and interact with the crowd, and always enjoy yourself. 

Can’t get enough of Gunga?

Andover | Summer 2019


Points of Pride

”We had no idea what to expect that first night. Would anyone show up? Would anyone object?”


ow a presence at schools across the country, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance had no model to emulate when it began 30 years ago at Andover. Thanks to the courage of student and faculty changemakers, the GSA blazed a trail for future generations of LGBTQ students on campus. In the late 1980s, daily notices printed on blue paper were commonly posted on bulletin boards all over campus. The signs captured a cross-section of administrative information and student activities. On February 7, 1989, students were reminded to check the winter trimester exam schedule, that they could get warts checked out at a dermatology clinic or buy carnations for Valentine’s Day. But one item, with the eye-catching subject “GAY RIGHTS,” stood out. It announced a meeting that evening for a discussion of gay rights, sexual preference, and related topics. All were welcome. The previous year, following a controversy about the senior class trip, the Class of 1988 held a meeting to wrestle with topics of racism, sexism, and elitism. Shaun McCarthy ’88 came out as gay at that meeting, and his courageous statements about how that affected his experiences and treatment at Andover resulted in weeks of further awkward conversations throughout the school. After Shaun graduated, there were no publicly out students at Andover. I had only come out as a lesbian to a few close friends, but I had heard the oft-quoted statistic that one in 10 people


Andover | Summer 2019

is gay, lesbian, or bisexual and—in a school of over 1,200 students—I knew there had to be others besides me. So in early 1989, desperate to find kindred spirits, I decided to start a group where lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, plus straight allies, could develop a supportive community for ourselves. Cilla Bonney-Smith, the school counselor and associate dean of residence who led AIDS education efforts, seemed like the perfect administrator to approach for help. Not only was she willing to say the word “gay” in public, she was also married to a male math teacher and she looked and dressed like everybody’s middle-aged mom. She could also sponsor the group as a straight ally, which was somewhat less of a professional risk. Cilla agreed to help and reserved a conference room for our first meeting. We had no idea what to expect that first night. Would anyone show up? Would anyone show up to object to it? We had a few blurry photocopies of information to use as discussion points; would that lead anywhere useful? The dozen or so people who came that night—students and faculty, gay and lesbian and bisexual and straight—could not have imagined we would start an organization that is still going strong 30 years later. What we did know, after talking through the blurry photocopies and moving on to a freewheeling discussion and supportive laughter, was that we were creating something important and valuable.


by Sharon Tentarelli ’90

Jenny Savino

The Gay-Straight Alliance, later renamed the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, has now been a thriving and supportive organization for a full generation of Andover students. Andover’s GSA was only the third such high school group in this country when it began, and in those early preinternet days, everything we did was uncharted territory. We continued with our weekly meetings, having discussions and occasionally watching movies. By late spring, when The Phillipian produced its annual “Relationships” issue, we were visible enough to warrant the headline “Homosexuals and Bisexuals Struggle to Find a Place.” The article encouraged awareness, tolerance, and acceptance. That autumn, we took our activism off campus, joining a Massachusetts State House rally advocating for gay and lesbian couples to be foster parents. In the spring of 1990, we held the first “Gay Awareness Week,” with a series of talks, movies, and biographies about famous gay people posted around campus. Reactions to the GSA were mixed in those early years. Students who were uncomfortable with the group tended to ignore direct confrontations, though muttered comments were common. A spoof “Exonian” issue of The Phillipian showed that homophobia, along with racism and sexism, was still quite prevalent though many students were willing to grapple with the problem. The administration was dealing with the GSA in its own ways, but Cilla BonneySmith and teachers like Nancy Boutilier and Tony Rotundo were successful in keeping students mostly insulated from administrative pushback, and Headmaster Don McNemar ultimately went from wary to supportive. Over the decades since its founding, the GSA has evolved to become even more inclusive, as has the campus environment as a whole. Transgender people weren’t even on the GSA’s radar in 1989, but in recent years Andover has become more inclusive and accepting of students whose gender identity or gender expression may differ from binary cisgender norms. Karissa Kang ’17 worked on a Brace fellowship research project, which led to the opening of Andover’s first all-gender dorm in 2018. A recent awareness campaign around PGPs (preferred gender pronouns) has led to more openness and inclusive language use. Since 1999, same-sex faculty couples have been allowed to serve as house counselors, which is critical for professional equality and provides valuable diversity in terms of adult resources and role models. On a lighter note, the drag show performed in April as part of the 30th anniversary celebration drew over 300 attendees for an uproarious, outrageously fun evening. I’ve returned to Andover several times over the decades to celebrate various milestone anniversaries with the GSA. Each time, I have been struck by how some issues remain the same. Showing the students the front page of The Phillipian’s “Relationships” issue from 1989, they marvel at how many articles still relate to campus life today: students still want sex education and birth control, interracial dating is

Samuel Phillips Hall decorated for the GSA 30th anniversary this past April still complicated, guys and girls still differ in what they find attractive about each other, and nobody quite wants to ask how that works for the homosexuals and bisexuals who are still struggling to find their place. Throughout all of these changes (and similarities) students still find the GSA to be supportive and serious, fun and celebratory. The GSA continues to offer a community of acceptance where it’s OK to be whoever you are, and where it’s OK to still be figuring out who you are. The GSA continues to work toward making the campus a better and more accepting environment for all.  Sharon Tentarelli ’90 is an analytical chemist who lives in Massachusetts with her wife, Ellen, and their one-eyed cat, Molly.

Alumni interested in supporting the GSA can contact Community and Multicultural Development Office Director LaShawn Springer ( or faculty advisors Corrie Martin ( and David Farnsworth (

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TRAILBL Pioneers. Innovators. Disruptors. These are the people who drive change and shake up the status quo. Andover was their front door to the future. Now they are using their original perspectives, combined with a great deal of determination, to transform the world in a multitude of ways. by Rita Savard


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BLAZERS Noy Thrupkaew ’92 Jon Rou

Shining a light on human trafficking


he men were farmworkers. Six of them. Mostly from the North and Northeastern regions of Thailand. Survivors of human trafficking, they were brought to the United States by Global Horizons, a Los Angeles-based labor recruiter later indicted in what had been the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history. Gathering around a woven mat serving as a make-shift table on their living room floor, they shared personal stories with a reporter. “They’d feed me these over-the-top meals,” recalled Thrupkaew. “One day they asked me what sort of fruit I liked, and I said that I liked strawberries. So the next day when I came by…they put all the food on the mat, including a plate of perfect long-stemmed strawberries.” “They’re all for you,” one of the men said. They didn’t eat strawberries much, Thrupkaew explained,

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Jon Rou

because when you pick them all the time, “The system was built to obscure,” Thrupkaew they told her, “they swim in front of your eyes said. “As a result, labor trafficking often goes when you close them.” unrecognized, unseen, and unprosecuted. And Thrupkaew, an investigative journalthe systems that support it go on unchanged. ist whose byline has appeared in the We simply do not want to acknowledge that New York Times, Washington Post, much of our global economy was built National Geographic, and The on chattel slavery and still depends Nation, started thinking about all on poor and exploited people’s the products she buys and conlabor, that our migration system sumes every day—from clothes to entrenches exploitation, and that electronics to face moisturizer, our criminal justice systems are that unlimited shrimp buffet, often used in punitive rather and everything in the grocery than protective ways against the store. Whose hands made it, most disenfranchised, increasgrew it, or harvested it? Were they ing their vulnerability to being being treated with respect and digtrafficked. I mean, you can call nity? Were they even being treated it vulnerability. But we should lawfully? just call it injustice.” The Thai farmworkers are among The Thai farmworkers hundreds of survivors, law enforceThrupkaew interviewed were ment officials, and NGO workers promised three years of agriwhom Thrupkaew has interviewed cultural work from Global Horizons. Thrupkaew started thinking during the past 13 years in researchTaking a risk for a better life, they, ing and writing about human traffickand hundreds of others like them, about all the products she buys ing. Her reporting on the economics sold their land and cherished perand consumes every day—from of exploitation has taken her around sonal belongings to pay the recruitthe world and inside cases within ment company. When they came to clothes to electronics to face the United States. News on the America, their passports were confismoisturizer, that unlimited hard-to-cover-topic is limited, and cated. Some of the men were beaten Thrupkaew’s investigative journalism and held at gunpoint. Some worked shrimp buffet, and everything in has not only shed light on this largely so hard, they fainted in the fields. the grocery store. Whose hands unseen crime, it has exposed what And yet, the men resisted—many the crime looks like on U.S. soil. tried to escape, to organize, to documade it, grew it, or harvested The statistics are staggering: More ment their mistreatment. it? Were they being treated with than 20 million people are victims of “We often dwell on human trafforced Iabor worldwide, according to ficking survivors’ victimization,” she respect and dignity? Were they the International Labor Organization. said. “But that has not been my expeeven being treated lawfully? “There is a common misconceprience of them. They have taught me tion that human trafficking always that we are more than our worst days. relates to forced sexual labor, Thrupkaew said. “While forced That each of us is more than what we lived through.” prostitution is one aspect of trafficking, most people don’t In 2016, the labor recruiter was ordered by a federal judge know that most of this issue is around forced non-sexual labor, to pay $7.6 million for subjecting the farmworkers to abuse that men are also victims, and that current laws—both interand a hostile work environment. national and right here in America—allow human trafficking While there are no silver bullets to solving the worldwide to continue.” human trafficking epidemic, Thrupkaew believes that collecHuman trafficking is defined by the United Nations Office tively we can make a difference. on Drugs and Crime as “the acquisition of people by improper “What would happen if we truly held corporations accountmeans such as force, fraud, or deception, with the aim of able for abuses in their supply chains? If domestic workers exploiting them.” Forced labor, slavery, servitude, and even and farmworkers could access equal labor protections? If we organ removal are other very real aspects of trafficking, which ended recruitment fees for migrant workers and decided that has become a growth business raking in billions of dollars guest workers should have the right to organize without fear annually. And loopholes in domestic and international laws of retaliation? And what if we stood in solidarity with traffickhave created a culture of complicity. ing survivors, workers’ rights groups, social justice and racial Digging into the agricultural sector, Thrupkaew found there justice movements—the people who are trying to end the syswere too many fields, too few labor inspectors, and multiple temic injustices that actually lead to labor exploitation? These layers of plausible deniability between grower, distributor, and would be decisions heard around the world.” processor.


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Mitchell Gail ’59

Advancing Healthcare The numbers tell a sad story: One out of every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. While a cure remains elusive, innovative treatments are advancing and screening tests play a significant role in early detection. Among those working feverishly to address the disease is Mitch Gail—a pioneer in the effort to crack breast cancer’s code. His father was a doctor, so while at Andover he thought about a career in medicine and then pursued the profession at Harvard. His focus on cancer risk assessment was cemented during his medical internship. Gail recalls having lunch with a colleague who was treating high-risk women for breast cancer. “He was concerned that some women had exaggerated risk factors and were then taking measures, including prophylactic mastectomy, that were unwarranted,” Gail explains. We’ve all heard the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, Gail reminds us that it takes a village to save a life too. “I was among a talented group,” he says. With a mind for statistics and a dream team helping him

work on the problem, the Gail Model was developed in 1989. It was the first model for assessing breast cancer risk that could be used for the general population and has since become one of the most well-known and widely used. Based on a series of personal health questions that women and their doctors answer together, the result is a Gail Score, which estimates the risk of developing invasive breast cancer in the next five years. For 30 years now, the Gail Model has helped millions of women get the right Gail’s research has also type of care. Gail’s research has also led led to groundbreaking to groundbreaking medical applications medical applications for assessing HIV and AIDS, and gastric for assessing HIV and cancer prevention. AIDS, and gastric As he continues work on the applicacancer prevention. tion of risk models, Gail notes that the field of medicine, through technology and human determination, is always advancing. By investigating large amounts of data from biological samples, clinical studies, and environmental research, Gail and other healthcare professionals are continuously gaining more knowledge to address long-standing questions from new perspectives.

Kristin McIntire ’14

A Commitment to Science Dr. Albert J. Wong, she then presented her findKristin McIntire has always grappled with pressings in 2017 to the Society for Neuro-Oncology ing issues. Global warming. AIDS. Genocide. and was catapulted into the international medical Political instability. community’s spotlight. “As a young person, it’s easy to become overMcIntire graduated from Stanford’s human whelmed by the choice of a career and where you biology honors program in 2018. She founded should spend your time to help the most,” she says. the Stanford Kids with Dreams writing program, “When you have educational privilege, how do you pick the problem in which to invest your energy? which publishes an annual book of art and writing And even if you could decide, how do you begin by youth impacted by disabilities, and is also the to touch such massive problems as one person?” founder and president of Practice with Pals, an McIntire wrestled with those questions and organization that matches college students with Glioblastoma is decided to “start with the worst of the worst.” children in long-term medical care to help teach a brain tumor so The No. 1 cause of medical deaths in childevelopmental learning, foster age-appropriate fearsome that dren is cancer. The deadliest cancer in children, play, and improve psychosocial outcomes. oncologists call it she adds, is brain tumors. Glioblastoma is a brain McIntire continues to work with Dr. Wong, “the terminator.” tumor so fearsome that oncologists call it “the researching and studying pediatric brain cancer McIntire has terminator,” and McIntire has made it her main in the hopes of discovering better treatment made it her main area of research and work since she first learned options and, eventually, a cure. area of research about the aggressive cancer in her Bio 600 class “It’s an exciting area of research,” she says. and work. at Andover. “There are a lot of new ideas and treatment strategies that have emerged in recent years, but I also After analyzing survival data on glioblastoma from over 6,000 patients in adult clinical trial studies and think the problem will not be solved by one person. There are 1,000 children in oncology treatment, McIntire authored the a lot of smart and dedicated people working across healthcare. first study investigating the survival and treatment trends of glioWe’re stronger together.” blastoma. Working with Stanford’s professor of neurosurgery, Andover | Summer 2019


Jed Walentas ’92

Reinventing Brooklyn


ities have always been places where imagination thrives. For 10-year-old Jed Walentas, New York was a nexus for people, ideas, and possibilities to come together and create the future. Little did he know, while wondering and wandering in 1980s Manhattan, that someday he would play a crucial role in reimagining New York neighborhoods for the next generation—including the city’s most buzzworthy borough. CEO of Two Trees, a family-owned real estate development firm, Walentas is synonymous with the Brooklyn boom. Over the past two decades, he’s spearheaded the transformation of the area known as DUMBO (District Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) from a shuttered manufacturing wasteland into a vibrant, creative community. Tucked under the Brooklyn and Manhattan suspension bridges, DUMBO is an architectural model linking the past to the present that attracts both tenants and tourists—think cobblestone streets and prewar factories housing galleries, artisanal shops, specialty boutiques, tech startups, and notable brands, including Etsy and West Elm. “We’re in a business that has been extremely lucrative and I’m fortunate for that,” says Walentas, whose go-to uniform is sneakers, jeans, and a crew neck sweater. “But I also love what I do. Two Trees is headquartered in Brooklyn. I live in Manhattan. So naturally you entwine yourself with the community and it helps you make better decisions. The goal is always to create something that is meaningful to people and that has a positive impact on lives for the long haul.” But building a successful development is never easy. Blending housing, business, retail, arts, entertainment, and recreation in the right proportions borders on alchemy. And through the web of zoning issues, public hearings, permits, and seemingly endless red tape—Walentas has managed to perfect the recipe. “Luck and timing,” he humbly adds, are also important elements. Before joining the family business, he got a crash course in how to manage a staff by working as a newspaper editor. His introduction to journalism was at The Phillipian. Walentas says he was struck by two things at Andover: “the athletic opportunities and the amazing teachers.” “I was a tennis player and a mediocre football player who went from playing on soccer fields covered in broken glass [in New York] to these pristine grounds that were always perfectly maintained. But the big standout was the incredible faculty and their unrelenting dedication to us. The choice they make to work and live on campus so they can be immersed in our lives every step of the way was an incredible gift to all of us—it’s a very unique thing.” Walentas then attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he spent a year and a half burning the midnight oil as sports editor of the school paper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. He managed a 30-person staff, content, and press deadlines. “It


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was a great experience, shaping a lot of my management skills, work ethic, and problem solving,” he says. “But the lifestyle also burnt me out. I’d leave the paper at 4 a.m., go to 7-Eleven and buy an extra-large Coca-Cola, and watch Sports Center for two hours before my 9 a.m. class.” After graduation, Walentas turned down a job at the New York Post, choosing instead a one-year business internship with Donald Trump, for whom he immediately dove into a conversion project at 40 Wall Street. The move to real estate came naturally for Walentas, who grew up visiting construction sites with his developer dad, David Walentas. In 1997 he began working for Two Trees, which was carefully curating DUMBO. The commercial piece of it, Walentas says, “was a happy accident.” The raw factory spaces and short commute to Manhattan were appealing to startups. Adding affordable rents, short-term leases, and dog-friendly buildings attracted Millennials in droves. “We created a place where young and entrepreneurial companies wanted to be. And mainly, they wanted to be here


John Marks ’61

Being the Change

Walentas’s mark on Brooklyn and New York’s other boroughs is far from over. In summer 2018, he opened a six-acre public park along the East River in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section. Built on the site of the former Domino Sugar Refinery, it didn’t take long for Domino Park’s Instagram-friendly views, playgrounds, gourmet taco stand, volleyball, and bocce courts to make it the city’s newest tourist destination. Kezi Barry ’02

because the people they wanted to hire would be here.” Walentas’s mark on Brooklyn and New York’s other boroughs is far from over. In summer 2018, he opened a six-acre public park along the East River in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section. Built on the site of the former Domino Sugar Refinery, it didn’t take long for Domino Park’s Instagram-friendly views, playgrounds, gourmet taco stand, volleyball, and bocce courts to make it the city’s newest tourist destination. Domino Park is Walentas’s favorite project to date—and appears to be the neighborhood’s magic ingredient that will continue to give something back to the community long after he’s gone. “As a developer, often when you finish building something you might never set foot inside the space again. But the park is a place where I can experience the impact of the project in a unique way—kids doing fun things, people walking dogs, drinking margaritas, and eating ice cream cones. The community was starved for open space. To see how they’re using it is a proud and awesome thing for me.”

During some of the darkest days of the Cold War, John Marks held out hope that there had to be a better way. “Like so many others at the time, I was terrified by the prospect of nuclear war,” Marks says. “I genuinely believed, as Jonathan Schell famously wrote, that the ‘fate of the earth’ was at stake.” In 1982, Marks, a former U.S. diplomat and investigative journalist, founded Search for Common Ground (SFCG) to help build bridges between East and West. With the help of his wife, Susan, Marks led the organization for more than 32 years, growing SFCG from one person to 600 employees performing innovative conflict resolution work in 35 countries. From its inception, SFCG’s mission has been to shift how the world deals with conflict. Along the way, the organization has pioneered many forms of peacebuilding, includIn 1982 Marks ing “edutainment”—using film, radio, founded Search TV, and other forms of media to engage for Common conflicting parties. Ground (SFCG) SFCG’s popular award-winning soap to help build opera series, The Team, is based on a bridges between fictional football (soccer) team and adEast and West. dresses the hatred that arises from ethnic and religious divisions while promoting peaceful conflict resolution. The show was produced in 20 countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. SFCG also played a key role in laying the groundwork for the U.S.’s nuclear agreement with Iran, and helped establish a model peace-building program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it provided conflict resolution and violence prevention training to soldiers and police. Though Marks is no longer president, he continues work with SFCG as a senior advisor to the organization, which was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last year. “For more than 50 years, I have been moved by the idea of non sibi, which translates for me into transforming how the world deals with conflict—away from adversarial, win-lose approaches to win-win problem solving.” Andover | Summer 2019


Helen Levin ’75

Changing Lives for Juvenile Lifers


Kriston Jae Bethel

ichard was 14 when he and two other boys decided to enter a seemingly abandoned house in their lowincome Philadelphia neighborhood. The oldest, who was 16, ventured inside while the others waited outside. To his surprise, there was a woman at home. She screamed and he fled, with Richard and the other boy following—all running away as fast as their feet could move them. None of the boys knew the woman had a heart attack and died until they were arrested soon after. Richard was convicted of burglary and murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. There are hundreds of other stories like Richard’s in Pennsylvania. The state’s prison system has the country’s highest number of people permanently locked away for crimes committed as juveniles. Richard grew up behind bars and expected to die there. But a 2016 Supreme Court ruling and a relentless public defender by the name of Helen Levin helped rewrite his story. For the first time since his arrest in 1985, Richard—and the state’s 500-plus juvenile lifers—had hope. Levin came to Abbot Academy in the fall of 1972, one year before the school merged with Phillips Academy. “I loved everything about school,” Levin says. “My closest group of girlfriends, to this day, is from Andover.” A self-described “mediocre student,” Levin doesn’t mince words when she talks about the demands of her studies: “I had to work my butt off to be middle of the road.” After graduating from Northwestern University, Levin was a social worker in Chicago’s inner-city. Being a dorm parent in a home for delinquent teens gave her a crash course into poverty and alarming racial disparities in the justice system. “Lawyers didn’t seem to explain much to the kids and the kids were unclear about why they were in placement. It was then I decided I was going into law. It feels good to be able to give excellent representation to people who can’t choose their lawyer.” Levin was drawn to the worst cases. In part, to make sense of it all. In part, to make a difference. But mostly because of her belief in the power of the law—despite all its flaws and inequities—to serve the greater good. “People play a significant part in balancing the scales of justice. That’s something we should all take very seriously, especially when you look around and see that over 90 percent of juvenile lifers are children of color,” Levin says. “Those numbers are real and so shocking that everyone should be asking, ‘Why?’ and doing something to change it.” Following law school at the University of North Carolina, Levin joined the Defender Association of Philadelphia in 1985. She has spent the last 20 years working as a trial attorney in the homicide unit, representing many young people along the way. Philadelphia was notorious for its harsh laws and practices that pushed thousands


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of children into adult courts. Approximately 300 of the 500 juveniles sentenced to life without parole in Pennsylvania were from Philadelphia. In 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Miller v. Alabama that the mandatory sentencing of juveniles to life without the possibility of parole was unconstitutional, especially because science had shown the human brain is not fully developed until age 25. SCOTUS followed with a 2016 decision that applied Miller retroactively to all prisoners given mandatory sentences of life without parole as juveniles. Thousands of inmates across the U.S. were suddenly up for resentencing, beginning a nationwide conversation on reforming juvenile sentencing in state legislatures and courts. Levin’s firm took on 75 percent of the cases in Philadelphia. To help hammer out a plan that included a much-needed support system for those released, Levin founded the Juvenile Lifer Project (JLP). From June 2016 to June 2019, the JLP

Beyond prison walls, former inmates face new obstacles. Finding employment and decent affordable housing with a murder conviction and no work history is a daily challenge. Levin provides help obtaining birth certificates, clothes, meals, lodging, and filling out job applications. Five men she defended now work in her office. tackled 211 cases, out of which 94 percent of defendants received new sentences—making them eligible for parole either immediately or in the future—and 111 have been released. Richard served 33 years before his release in 2017. Beyond prison walls, former inmates face new obstacles. Finding employment and decent affordable housing with a murder conviction and no work history is a daily challenge. Levin provides help obtaining birth certificates, clothes, meals, lodging, and filling out job applications. Five men she defended now work in her office. Through a support group called Life after Life, which the lifers themselves created, former inmates meet twice a month. They talk about hardships and small victories. Of day-to-day plans and long-term goals. Some have jobs. Some are still looking. Some volunteer at local soup kitchens, shelters, and community centers. Levin hopes to continue working to free long-serving lifers and is laying the groundwork for the next chapter after the JLP, the Lifer Advocacy Project. “Of course, not everyone is released by the parole board,” Levin says. “One fact that is hard to live with is the number of juvenile lifers who are innocent. When you look at the mass incarceration problem in our country and how quick we were to put children behind bars for life without hope of ever getting out, it’s real depressing. The law has helped us make some changes for the better. But I wonder, are we going to do better?”

Tamika Guishard ’98

Film Schooled

She’ll wear you out. In a good way. Tamika Guishard is one of those people—all energy and good humor and pluck. Take one look at her resume—middle school teacher, park ranger, dancer, writer, director, activist—and you’ll see a woman who takes what makes her curious, what makes her dream, and lets it drive her. The Brooklyn native with Kittitian roots is now resurrecting the after-school special and transforming education through her holistic media organization, Guishard Films. From 1972 to 1996, after-school television specials highlighted issues facing teens and young adults from underage drinking to the stress of living in a foster home. Guishard, spotlighted as a visionary in Shadow and Act’s 2018 Black Women Filmmakers Speak series, believes today’s youth could benefit from a thoughtfully crafted reboot. “This whole line between fantasy and reality is getting thinner and thinner,” explains Guishard, who’s also a founding member of Andover’s SLAM step team. “I want to bulk films with curriculum The Brooklyn in a way that captures this generanative is now tion’s attention and sparks intergenresurrecting the erational dialog.” afterschool special Her first feature screenplay, and transforming Rhythm in Blues (RnB), is a dancedriven, coming-of-age drama that edueducation through cates and inspires. As a graduate stuher holistic media dent at New York University, Guishard organization, was mentored by Spike Lee, resulting Guishard Films. in Jackie, a critically acclaimed short film about an Andover alumna. Jackie premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival and was showcased in Martha’s Vineyard, Atlanta, and San Francisco. This summer, Guishard will join forces with Cybel Martin—the first black woman to receive an MFA in cinematography from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts— to complete Guishard’s musical teaser Black and drum up support for taking RnB from script to screen. Guishard’s storytelling, applauded for pushing the boundaries of preconceived notions with complex characters, always manages to find strength in broken places. “Cinema can engender empathy and calibrate human experience like no other medium,” she says, “reaching people where they are and on so many different levels—for this, I am perpetually fascinated.” Andover | Summer 2019



Pat Kinsel ’03

Pushing for Digital Docs Pat Kinsel knows a thing or two about the value of failure. He left college early to start his own tech company in California, but the business didn’t survive. “There was a great opportunity in front of me,” he says of the decision to head West. “I didn’t overthink it, I just did it.” Turns out failing taught Kinsel how to become his best self. Kinsel landed a job at Microsoft, where he helped create and build innovative tech. That led to him cofounding Spindle, a company that developed patent-pending search technology for Facebook and Twitter. In 2013, while Kinsel was in the process of selling Spindle to Twitter, he experienced a “painful” notary process. When it comes to important life moments such as buying a home, assigning power of attorney, or selling a business, nothing is final until the notary public says so. The face-toface process for that legal stamp of approval typically means more legwork and waiting… and more waiting. But Kinsel’s frustration planted a seed.

Notarize is a Bostonbased startup offering the first on-demand remote, electronic notary service valid in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

“After my own experience, I thought a digital notary would be a fun and useful tool to build,” Kinsel says. His pet project resulted in Notarize, a Boston-based startup offering the first ondemand remote, electronic notary service. It's also the first platform enabling people to buy, sell, and finance their homes online. Users simply upload their document to the company’s online platform and are connected to a licensed notary via video chat. As of June, more than $2 billion in online mortgage transactions have been executed on Notarize, reducing up to a month of wait time and saving approximately $1,100 on the mortgage origination process. “At the beginning of my career in tech, I was focused on sexy tech problems—social search algorithms and all that stuff. My dad has told me my entire life that I just needed one big, boring idea. Even if we fail to build a big business, that one boring idea has forever changed how people buy and sell homes in America.”

Sara Gallagher ’91

Reaching for the Stars and Beyond Stargazers have pondered black holes for over two centuries. These great gravitational beasts represent places where the laws of physics do not apply, which is why astrophysicists are both amazed and obsessed with them. “Black holes are awesome,” says Sarah Gallagher. She ought to know. The Western University science professor, who holds a The Western PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from University science Penn State, has been researching superprofessor who holds massive black holes at the center of disa PhD in astronomy tant galaxies for more than 15 years. and astrophysics Gallagher’s experience investigating the from Penn State has cosmos and serving as an expert reviewer been researching for several space observatories, including supermassive black advisory committees for the Hubble Space holes at the center of Telescope, prompted the Canadian Space distant galaxies for Agency (CSA) to name her as their inaugumore than 15 years. ral science advisor in 2018. Reporting to the president, Gallagher makes recommendations and provides strategic advice on the future of Canada’s space research and exploration. Gallagher says her best workday yet came in December, when she was in Baikonur, Kazakhstan to see the Soyuz rocket


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launch of Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques for a six-month mission to the International Space Station. “This is an exciting time to be at the CSA,” she says. “Canada has just made a commitment to join the Lunar Gateway as NASA’s first international partner.” The gateway, an international laboratory and platform for science, also includes the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). LEAP will enable technology research and development by universities and small- to medium-sized companies and support science missions in lunar orbit, to the surface of the moon, and for future deep space travel. With next-generation space programs underway, Gallagher is excited to contribute by connecting researchers and engineers to advance the understanding of our planet and the wider universe. “There’s nothing better than helping passionate people figure out a way forward toward achieving their science goals.” 

for the

LOVE OF TEACHING A caring yet demanding coach. A spirited, whip-smart English instructor. An athletic trainer and second mom. The three 2019 retiring faculty members embody what is best about Phillips Academy. Excellence, of course. But more importantly these three longtime faculty members found a way to imbue rigor with kindness, humility, and a non sibi spirit. Read more online at www.

by Allyson Irish Photos by Dave White

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Andover | Summer 2019


There have been many legendary coaches at Phillips Academy. Frank “Deke” DiClemente, Steve Sorota, Paul Kalkstein ’61, and Chris Gurry ’66 to name a few. Now, another name has been added to this esteemed list— that of football coach Leon Modeste. After 33 years at the helm of Big Blue football, Coach Mo has decided to retire. “You know, it just felt like the time was right. I’m healthy. I feel good. Our athletics program is strong. We are building new facilities. I decided I wanted to leave at the top of my game,” Modeste said during a nighttime photo shoot in a deserted Phelps Stadium. Modeste has spent most of his PA career in and around the stadium. It’s a place he will miss dearly come this fall when— for the first time in three decades—he will not be pacing the sidelines in his trademark blue wool cap. His storied career has humble beginnings. Modeste grew up in a tough area of Brooklyn known for racial tensions. He got himself into a few scuffles before entering Poly Prep Country Day School, where he blossomed in the classroom and excelled on the football field. There he met teammate Lou Bernieri, who would become his best friend and later inform him of a coaching job at a private boarding school in Massachusetts. Modeste drove up for the job interview in 1986 and has never looked back. His Andover tenure was marked by a noticeable change in the way coaches were influencing student-athletes. Eschewing the common “tough guy” approach, Modeste and others in the athletics office embraced a new model of communication, motivation, and positive reinforcement, encouraging kids to make decisions for themselves. As he said in a 2006 Andover Bulletin article, “the kids own the game plan.” That method of positive reinforcement, coupled with discipline and training, has worked for thousands of students, including Margaret Litvin ’92, who recalled a 1988 gym class during which Modeste coached her on the rope climb. “As I tried to do it, I started to mutter that I couldn’t do it. ‘Margaret, stop verbalizing negative expectations,’ Mr. Modeste said. That was decades before ‘growth mindset’ became a thing,” Litvin says. “While I still can’t climb a rope, that appraisal of how I present myself in the world has stayed with me.” Though Modeste is moving on to a new life in Taos, New Mexico, with his wife, Jo-Ann Fortier, a part of him will always remain at Andover. Some say he’s left his heart and soul on the field. Few would disagree.

Leon Modeste

Athletic Director, PE Instructor, Head Coach of Varsity Football Years at PA: 33 Mo Stats: Lifetime Andover-Exeter football record of 20-10-2; Coached three sports: football, basketball, and lacrosse; Two stints as athletic director (1990 to 2000 and 2014 to 2019); Managed 100 interscholastic coaches and eight staff A Coach Mo Story: “Our one season on the court together [freshman basketball] gave me a moment indelibly etched in my memory: a lanky kid dives to save the ball from going out of bounds at the baseline, throws it up over his head and has no idea it laid perfectly in the basket—until he hears your booming cheer: ‘MCHALE!’ I turned to see you smiling from ear to ear. ‘McHale’ followed me through college and even into the start of my career. In fact, last year my wife gave me a framed photo of Kevin McHale for Christmas because she knows it makes me think of the nickname, of that day, and of the life lessons you imparted. Your positivity and support literally have given me nearly 30 years of smiles that won’t ever fade.” —Matt Noyes ’96 “Modesteisms”: In a 2000 Andover Bulletin story about his friend, English instructor and defensive coordinator Lou Bernieri extolled the three “Modesteisms”: Sudo ergo sum—“I sweat, therefore I am,” “Just Win,” and “We Are Family.”

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Kathy Birecki

Athletic Trainer Instructor, Physical Education Years at PA: 35 What She’ll Miss: Daily 6 a.m. walks around campus with her Dalmatian, Zoey, and colleague Mike Kuta and his dog, Sadie. Signature Homemade Treat: Mint brownies Retirement Plans: Birecki and her husband, Andy, recently moved to a condo in New Hampshire. She plans to help babysit her grandchild who lives nearby, and to continue her daily FaceTime chats with her other two grandkids in Colorado.


ape. Scissors. Bandages. Hot and cold compresses. These are the tools of the trade for an athletic trainer, and no one carried these vocational accessories more happily than Kathy Birecki. To say Birecki is well loved by PA students would be a vast understatement. Walking through the pool-area hallways one sunny spring afternoon, Birecki—wearing a bright blue PA pullover and the ubiquitous athletic trainer fanny pack—was greeted by nearly every student with an ebullient “Hi Ms. Birecki!” as they passed, some even stopping for a quick hug. Alumni remember Birecki as a kind


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stick. Every day before practice, she patiently wrapped my hand. She was truly my saving grace.” Birecki arrived at PA in 1984, a newly minted college graduate with a degree in physical education and athletic training. Most of her colleagues in the athletics office—head trainer Mike Kuta, PE instructor Karen Kennedy, athletic director Leon Modeste, and coaches and caring house counselor and cluster Kate Dolan and Martha Fenton ’83— dean (she lived in many campus houses, arrived in the same three-year span. including Newman and Bancroft), a Birecki has enjoyed lengthy personal and professional relationships with her firm but fair PE instructor, and a reliable presence in the training room and on colleagues—a rarity that has not gone the field. unappreciated. “Thirty-plus years is a long time to “Ms. Birecki took her job seriously and taped up an ankle faster than anyone work with the same people and still really like each other,” Birecki says. I know,” says Betsy Wiedenmayer Rogers ’89. During her first year, Birecki Kellie Walsh ’11 recalls breaking remembers seeing a retiring faculty member move out, crying. “I thought, her hand in a field hockey game her senior year. “I was devastated when the ‘That’s weird.’ Now I’m retiring and I feel the same way. You couldn’t ask for doctors decided to cast my hand,” she a better job or better people to work says. “However, with a little creativity, Ms. Birecki was able to pad the cast with. We’re really a big family. I’m going while giving me the ability to hold my to miss that.”

Nina S. Scott Instructor in English Years at PA: 26 Before Andover: Scott was a reporter at the Winston-Salem Journal and a magazine writer in New York, interviewing, among others, Muhammad Ali, Kris Kristofferson, and Dan Rather.


f there’s anything a journalist hates most, it’s when editors “improve” their carefully constructed copy. To edit—aacckk! But Nina Scott has learned a thing or two about the craft of writing. Her instruction to students—“I know everything you write is brilliant, but sometimes you still have to delete, delete, delete!”—is one of the best pieces of advice ever, says Lucius Xuan ’15. “The journalism class I took during my senior year was a masterclass in conveying ideas precisely,” says Xuan. “The way Ms. Scott simultaneously believed in us as writers and convinced us of our ability still to improve was magical.” An English instructor at PA for 26 years, Scott was also the advisor to The Phillipian for roughly half her tenure. She was the first adult advisor of the venerated student newspaper to be allowed into the Morse Hall newsroom while the paper was being written, a change that was initially met with resistance “At first, The Phillipian alums and

editorial staff were very upset about the decision,” Scott says. “They felt the publication shouldn’t have a faculty member—even a former newspaper reporter—down in the newsroom.” After wrestling with the new role and how she might be of assistance, Scott eventually found the sweet spot. She was there only to provide a professional resource as needed. “The students did all the work,” she says. “I just stayed here in the newsroom and if they had any questions, they would ask me.” That clarity was helpful to students like Paul Sonne ’03, now a national security reporter at the Washington Post. Sonne recalled the excitement Scott brought to a journalism class he took, during which she paired him with a Boston tabloid journalist as a mentor and advised him on a story he wrote about an on-campus secret society. Sonne noted Scott’s dedication, kindness, and “above all, her contagious love of journalism.” Scott’s impact extended beyond her Bulfinch classroom and the basement of

All in the Family: Married to PA math instructor Bill Scott; all three of their children graduated from PA and two work in journalism. Nate ’05 is at USA Today, Tess ’06 is at ABC, and Haley ’11 works for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Retirement Plans: Scott will be in heavy grandmother mode with two grandbabies. She also plans to write children’s books, tutor immigrants, and travel to see former students and their parents.

Morse Hall. She coached field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball, ultimate, and—along with husband Bill Scott—provided a home away from home for kids living with them in Stowe House. Recently, Scott was in touch with an alumnus who works as a professional journalist. He was concerned about a sticky situation with his editor and just didn’t feel right about what he was being asked to do. Never one to mince words, Scott said, “You are definitely right, and the editor is definitely wrong.”  Andover | Summer 2019



Letters from the Phillips Family Archives illustrate the trials, tribulations, and joys of boarding school student Samuel Phillips Jr. by Katie Fiermonti

PA students are currently scanning original documents from the Phillips Family Collection. They can be viewed at paarchives/?page_id=1598.


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“Be careful of your clothes. Don’t wear them in the wet.” This nagging reminder to stay dry could be a contemporary text from a current PA parent. But in fact, the message is more than 250 years old. It is part of a 1766 letter from Elizabeth Phillips to her 13-year-old son Samuel Phillips Jr., lovingly composed in flowing script by quill pen using sepia-colored ink. This letter is just one of hundreds of Phillips family documents in Andover’s Archives and Special Collections in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library. The letters provide a unique and intimate glimpse into family communication in the pre-Revolutionary War colonies. Young Samuel, the future founder of Phillips Academy, was, at the time, a boarding student at Dummer Academy (now known as Governor’s Academy) in Byfield, Mass. More than two centuries have passed since “Sam,” as he was then known, and his parents exchanged missives about

teachers, classes, and activities. What the correspondence reveals—missing home and parents, requests for various items—is deeply familiar to any boarding student who has ever sent a letter home from school, no matter the century. Sam was sent to Dummer Academy in 1764 at the tender age of 12. He was a frail and lonely boy from one of the oldest English families in America, according to Frederick Allis, Jr., author of the Andover tome Youth from Every Quarter. Sam was also the only child of seven born to Samuel (known informally as the Squire) and Elizabeth Phillips to reach maturity. He grew up in relative isolation in present-day North Andover, Mass., and was raised

A What the correspondence reveals—missing home and parents, requests for various items—is deeply familiar to any boarding student who has ever sent a letter home from school, no matter the century.


Courtesy of Governor’s Academy Archives

within the strict principles of orthodox Calvinist teachings. At Dummer, Sam blossomed under the eccentric tutelage of Master Samuel Moody, who taught his pupils French and dancing, and let the boys swim in the nearby river. In one undated letter from Sam to his parents, he stated that he was “happily attached to my very dear Master.” The school’s distance from home allowed him a respite from his family’s exacting religious practices, though letters from his mother often stressed morality do’s and don’ts: “Search the scriptures daily,” Elizabeth wrote to her son on March 25, 1765. “If you’re with God, he will be with you.” Though his letters reveal a boy eager to learn, homesickness plagued Sam, at least in his first year or so at school. “Write as often as you can,” he entreated his parents on March 21, 1765. In a letter dated June 29 of that year, he used guilt to entice his parents to visit him: “If you set away very early in the morning you may make a very handsome visit and return the same day or the next. It is but fourteen miles, so I can take no denial. If I am disappointed the disappointment will be exceedingly great so [I] must entreat of you to come as soon in the week as you can, and shall depend upon it.”

A Samuel Phillips Jr., future founder of Phillips Academy, was sent to Dummer Academy in 1764 at the tender age of 12.

A He closed the letter, “I remain your dutiful son. P.S. Pray don’t fail of coming.” His parents, perhaps weary of their son’s complaints, bought him transportation—a horse—so he could make trips home himself, and the homesickness apparently receded. On April 5, 1767, he wrote to his “honored parents” that “school is in a very flourishing state.” He begged his mother to send him items such as breeches, coat buttons, and stockings. And, like any other cash-strapped teenager, he asked for financial assistance, requesting, “I should be very glad, if you would send…some quills, some writing paper and some silk…to tie my hair with, and some money.” Food also often occupied Sam’s thoughts. His mother promised him

“a spread” in a June 13 letter, year unknown. Elizabeth writes that while there were no chickens, she’d send some lamb, cake, cheese, and cider straightaway. “I will do the best I can,” she penned. By commencement in 1767, Sam was a confident young man. He wrote a three-page letter to his parents expressing his excitement at being bound for Harvard and his gratitude for Master Moody. “I am…despairing of ever recompensing him, except by behaving in the best manner.” After Harvard, Sam would marry and start a family. Among his many illustrious accomplishments, he served as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and founded Phillips Academy in 1778. But during adolescence, he was simply Sam, a boarding school student like any other, eager to do well and make his parents proud. Based on their letters, it appears they were. 

Editor’s note: For readability, spelling, and punctuation, direct quotes from the Phillips Family Collection have been modernized. Andover | Summer 2019



How does one measure the impact of a school head? Is it faculty excellence? Strong finances? Institutional reputation? Successful new initiatives? Lived values?

As Palfrey embarks on a new chapter, we took a cue from the history instructor’s own playbook and looked to the past to better understand what Andover can dream, do, and become.

For John Palfrey, all of the above applies. And then some. Palfrey took the helm seven years ago and since then has amassed a remarkable track record—a new strategic plan, a focus on student wellness and new academic initiatives, a transformed physical campus, a historic capital campaign, and much more.

The following pages illuminate his leadership approach. Compassionate, hard-working, and optimistic, the former Harvard Law School dean reinterpreted Andover’s founding values in fresh and inspiring ways. Non sibi—a value that drew Palfrey to Andover—defined both his leadership and his expectations for the community.

This summer, Andover’s 15th head of school concluded his successful tenure to become President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. One of the nation’s largest private charitable foundations, the MacArthur Foundation makes grants and impact investments to support nonprofits across the United States and in approximately 50 countries.


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Andover is a rare combination of educators, alumni, and parents—all supporting the pursuit of excellence and opening doors of opportunity to students. Palfrey’s leadership— his dedication to knowledge and goodness, rigor, and thoughtful disruption—swung those doors wide open and will have a lasting impact. This is what seven years of progress looks like.

LOOKING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD With a focus on the future, the trustees selected in 2012 an accomplished change leader as Andover’s head of school. Not yet 40 years old, John Palfrey arrived projecting forward-facing energy; he already had leadership of two startups (Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and the Digital Public Library of America) and a major institutional transformation (Harvard Law School Library) to his credit. But Palfrey brought more than ambition and skill. He also brought a deep respect for Andover’s founding values, for the school’s enduring legacy of excellence, and for the traditions passed down by his predecessors. Throughout his seven years, Palfrey consistently forged a path to the future supported by the bedrock of the past. He advanced a strategic plan that reinforced student-centered learning; he led a campaign advancing “knowledge and goodness” and increasing endowment support for need-blind admission, all manifestations of “youth from every quarter.” He supported the stewardship and digitization of the Abbot Academy archives and took care to honor Abbot in each of his commencement addresses. He made sure that the first guiding principle of the


campus master plan was to “support contemporary priorities while affirming the historic character of the campus.” Palfrey continued traditions begun by many heads before him. As did Barbara Landis Chase, Palfrey encouraged incoming students to choose a guardian angel in Cochran Chapel and accompanied seniors on their Vista Walk on the first day of classes. Every winter he loved teasing students in anticipation of Head of School Day, proclaimed by raising his squash racquet, a successor to Chase’s field hockey stick. Following Ted Sizer’s lead, he encouraged students to walk on the grass, but only if they zig-zagged across it! He often invoked an image of the indentations on the marble stairwells of Paresky Commons to remind students that they walk daily on steps honed by previous generations. “We each have a role to play in the story, the history of Andover,” Palfrey said. “We can do much to change the school, but we cannot alter it completely—much as our footsteps going up the steps in Paresky cannot completely remake the marble. We must be mindful of what we do here and the effect of our choices, now and in the future.”





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LIGHTING THE WAY Three typeset prints, crafted by Trustee President Peter Currie ’74, P’03, on his early 20th-century press, hung on Palfrey’s office wall. They served as a daily reminder of the 30,000foot view. Two of these prints quote the aspirations of PA’s founders on “knowledge and goodness” and “the great end and real business of living.” A third cites poet Diane Ackerman: “Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding and despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length.” Palfrey added depth to the geography of Andover as he sought to interpret Andover’s founding ideals with fresh eyes. “Excellence has been redefined under John’s courageous leadership. He’s galvanized the community in ways I could never have imagined,” said Currie. “A lot of this work was rewarding and fun. It also involved taking risks.” Consider the 2014 Strategic Plan, informed by reams of data and more than 50 white papers written by faculty members. What would happen when they were asked to vote the new plan up or down? Would they feel validated and heard? Consider equity and inclusion—at the heart of


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PA’s promise to “youth from every quarter.” How should Andover bring this complex and layered work to every member of the community? Addressing difficult, sometimes divisive issues meant being vulnerable at times. With confidence in the adults and students around him, Palfrey advanced a student-generated proposal for all-gender housing. He gave students forums in which to express frustration around racial tensions and gender-based violence. He was forthcoming with information about Andover’s past when he learned that alumni had suffered sexual abuse while students. No matter the topic, from academics to athletics to residential life, Palfrey upheld Andover’s quest for excellence. His ultimate goal: “that every day is a better day to be an Andover student.” This authentic approach contributed to Andover’s enviable position among peer schools. With record applications and admission yields ranging from 80 to 86 percent during his tenure, the demand for an Andover education has never been higher. With the Knowledge & Goodness Campaign rising above $235 million, the Palfrey era also engaged alumni and parents in the school’s success.

Every aspect of the 2014 Strategic Plan is either complete or well underway. Working with the campus community, Palfrey prioritized student health and wellness and ensured that academic life remained as rigorous as ever. Planting seeds for new ideas and providing resources for professional growth, Palfrey also empowered the faculty to evolve the curriculum. The results included a new Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and a four-year Empathy, Balance, and Inclusion program providing deeper perspectives on equity, inclusion, and personal growth. Palfrey may have been the inspirational voice, but he also knew from the moment he accepted the gavel on September 23, 2012, that he had an extraordinary community eager to partner with him. “Phillips Academy has succeeded where other promising schools have faltered because of the restlessness and ambition of its faculty, its students, and its graduates,” he said during his investiture. “The drive and search for continuous improvement that lie near the heart of the Academy's long-term effectiveness must propel us…into the next era of education.”


STUDENTS, THE FIRST PRIORITY Palfrey had a reliable litmus test to determine the best course of action: What is best for students? Always doing right by students would remain Palfrey’s lodestar and one of the reasons why Jenny Elliott ’94, P’22, assistant head of school for residential life and dean of students, believes he was such a remarkable head of school. “At every hard moment, John always was looking for what was the right thing to do for our kids, now.” Elliott worked alongside Palfrey in many capacities as a colleague, including coaching girls’ squash and teaching History 300. “I’d watch and learn as he stayed with a student through a difficult topic in class. He’d guide them through some uncomfortable moments and, more often than not, the student would come up with the answer,” she said. “John tapped into kids’ intellectual curiosity and drive.” He also championed their personal growth and development. With Elliott and Linda Carter Griffith, associate head of school for equity, inclusion, and wellness, engaging their teams, Andover pursued a number of initiatives with health and wellness at their core. Students and adults teamed up to offer workshops and

trainings on topics of affirmative consent, cultural competency, and mental health. Opening in 2016, the state-of-the-art Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center brought together physical and psychological health services, reinforcing the school’s commitment to educate and support the whole child. Beyond policy decisions, Palfrey was also personable and accessible. He took kids out to dinner, drove them to vote, and attended plays, concerts, and sporting events, often donning PA spirit wear. He even dusted off his old varsity football jacket for Exeter Geek Day!



Students—and parents—appreciated his authenticity. “I greatly admire your kindness, compassion, and genuine consideration for everyone at Andover and beyond,” wrote Melinda Zhang ’21. “I was surprised and touched when you remembered my name each time I saw you.” “I’m grateful to you as a parent for allowing me to sleep at night, secure in the knowledge that you were there to keep watch over the kids and to do the right thing,” said Mela Lew ’79, P’19, ’21.



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INTELLECTUAL CURIOSITY A historian and a hacker, equally comfortable discussing the Federalist Papers and the plight of Edward Snowden, Palfrey shined brightest when engaged intellectually. Over the past seven years, that meant co-teaching U.S. History, designing a senior elective called Hacking: A Course in Experiments, and advising numerous independent projects. An influential national voice on the intersection of technology and education and on the lives of “digital natives,” Palfrey has spoken and published extensively on these topics.

The Tang Institute was established in 2014, born from Palfrey’s vision and funded by the generosity of donors, including Currie and his predecessor as board president, Oscar Tang ’56. Andover’s ideas lab for education, the Tang Institute has supported more than 40 faculty fellows and engaged with entities like Khan Academy, Lawrence public schools, and TEDx. It also spawned more than 20 Learning in the World programs and EduCompass, a testing and practice platform used by PA and other secondary schools.

In a letter to the faculty in 2012, he called on the community to be a leader in "connected learning," a movement to prepare students for meaningful participation in an information-driven, interconnected world. What Palfrey described as “a reasoned and balanced approach to honoring tradition in building for the future” was beginning to take hold.

Students described Palfrey as a role model, pensive and curious, demanding yet empathetic. “A teacher on my Mount Rushmore of teachers,” said Anthony Redfern ’18.

He issued a challenge weeks later in his inaugural address: “[We must] undertake a deeper inquiry…into the way that our jobs as teachers are changing in our increasingly global and technological age…Any institution that ignores these drivers, as complex and multi-edged as they are, does so at its peril. Above all, though, our reasoning should not be institutional survival; we ought to take up this inquiry because it is the right thing to do for our students.” Connected learning was not a new concept, but by reshaping how Andover would approach the evolution of teaching, Palfrey amplified opportunities for intellectual exchange, resulting in new programs across and beyond campus.


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A student in Palfrey’s “hacking” class, Gabrielle Fisher ’13 went on to earn undergrad and graduate degrees in computer science from Stanford and works in network security. She continues to apply lessons learned in that course. “The topics we discussed had no clear answers and often were based on developing news events,” Fisher said. “We had to be limber with our analysis and empathetic to the views of all stakeholders. I tap into that mindset a lot, working in R&D to design security protocols.” Fisher and classmate MJ Engel ’13 reflected on the lasting effects of that unconventional class, held in the sun room of Phelps House with about a dozen fellow seniors: “Fundamentally, John taught us how the hacking ethos offers an inquisitive, collaborative, and generative orientation to the world— one that must be managed with great responsibility.”



LEADING BY EXAMPLE At its core, Andover is a high school, with active, curious, boundary-testing teenagers looking to adults for guidance. Living on campus, coaching and teaching students, and visiting with alumni and parents around the world, Palfrey never lost sight of his responsibility to lead by example. So when the head of school encouraged 1,150 kids to write notes home to their parents, he shared with them that 30 years ago, as an Exeter student, he had developed a habit of sending daily postcards home. When he initiated a student sleep challenge in the fall of 2015, he managed a few more hours of shut-eye himself (though some on campus are dubious!). When he invited students to Phelps House for the occasional device-free Sunday afternoon, complete with apple cider, football, and Frisbee, he too stashed away his Samsung S9+. “Andover will miss you unconditionally,” Brooke Bidwell ’17 said. “It is a better place because of your leadership. You modeled, and continue to model, kindness, empathy, integrity, and positivity.”


Palfrey thoughtfully reinforced values of non sibi, “youth from every quarter,” and “knowledge and goodness.” And people noticed. He had a job to do in leading Andover—and to show impressionable youth what responsible leadership looks like.


“I will continually carry the lessons that I’ve learned from you in the classroom, the lessons you taught as head of school, and the lessons you taught most importantly as a person,” said Michael Codrington ’18. In his final Andover magazine letter, Palfrey wrote: “Andover is far from perfect; we don’t get every decision or every teaching moment right. But everyone works hard and, by and large, gets it correct far more often than not. Our students are growing up in an environment where adults model this behavior at every level of the organization. This alignment of our values with lived experience will ensure that Andover’s students and graduates lead lives of purpose. That may well be the most important thing we can do.”



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TAP, SCROLL, ENGAGE, CONNECT As if teaching and meetings and hosting dinners and travel and fundraising were not enough, Palfrey also was active on multiple social media platforms, regularly posting on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook—often in tandem. Andover’s first digitally-savvy head of school, Palfrey blogged, posted, responded, and built an impressive online audience with more than 11,000 followers on Twitter and over 4,000 followers on Instagram.



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He used these platforms to communicate widely, from the serious to the sublime, sharing important Academy announcements, fundraising videos, and congratulations to student performers, musicians, artists, and sports teams. He posted hundreds of photos: the annual promenade, a sunset painting Sam Phil a golden hue, a baby owl hiding in the bushes near Phelps House, students performing “Songs for a New World,” Jim Ventre ’79 enjoying Korean BBQ during a PA trip to Seoul. Digital platforms not only provided a glimpse into the daily life of the head of school, but also a way to interact. Palfrey made himself accessible in both the physical and digital worlds as much as possible. He leveraged his connections to the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and

Society, EdX, the MIT Media Lab, and with a host of trailblazers in ed tech and media to bring thought partners to campus. Many of these visits resulted in explorations into innovative teaching and learning by faculty at the Tang Institute and students in The Nest makerspace. By undergirding faculty resources with a new “Educational Initiatives” team and with instructional design skills, Palfrey encouraged the development of hybrid and online courses. Students developed a robust platform for an annual TEDx event, using the internet as their stage for activism and self-expression. Throughout his tenure, Palfrey continued to engage in the investigation of how adolescents navigate the digital world. In 2016 he produced an update to Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, originally published in 2008. His perspective was broadened by firsthand experiences with Andover students, whom he lightly engaged in research to support new findings, which he shared at lively AllSchool Meeting presentations. Students sought his mentorship as they explored aspects of the promise and perils of the internet in independent projects, tackling topics ranging from artificial intelligence to digital propaganda and censorship.



KEEP IT FUN Each year in setting forth his annual priorities, Palfrey committed to the same final goal: “Make the overall experience fun.” Though the fun was intended for students, Palfrey most definitely enjoyed himself as well. Always game to join the Blue Key heads in a cheer, participate in an athletic team practice, rock a new dance move, join student singers and actors on stage, or record a video greeting, the 1990 Exeter alum might actually bleed blue now. A common chant during A-E Weekend, “We have PALFREY” showed students’ affection for their head of school, whom some have called the most “woke” adult they know. Palfrey often talked about the joy and fun in his job, and he showed it. During his first year as head, Palfrey appeared in a student video featuring the hit "Gangnam Style." Looking sharp in his suit and tie

and a pair of sunglasses, Palfrey tried his mightiest to do the viral dance on the steps of Sam Phil. It was, in a word, epic. A running joke on campus was Palfrey’s woeful lack of pop culture knowledge. From candy and music to Netflix and celebrities, it was all a big shrug. He once visited the set of the hit TV comedy “Big Bang Theory” with co-executive producer David Goetsch ’88. Palfrey had no idea what the show was about. At All-School Meeting this spring, Palfrey played cello with a faculty ensemble for a rendition of the theme from Avengers. Before the music began, Palfrey yanked off his tie and threw off his suit coat to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with Thanos, a main character in the Marvel movie series. “I have no idea what this movie is,” Palfrey said, “but I know everyone likes it!” 



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Yoon Byun

The Power of Participation

Bulfinch Loyalty Society honors Andover’s most devoted donors Every gift to the Knowledge & Goodness campaign matters. That’s one of the many reasons why Jessica Frey ’09 shows her support annually. “My participation really does make a difference,” says Frey. “I want to pay it forward for today’s students. And by looking to the future, I’m able to be a part of something historic at Andover. Creating a legacy is why I continue to give each year.” Frey is one of 7,320 members of Andover’s Bulfinch Loyalty Society, which celebrates all who donate to the Academy in two or more consecutive years. “I give a modest amount,” she says, “but I’m recognized and appreciated for my contribution. That’s what I like about Andover and Bulfinch—whether you give $5 or $500, it’s the spirit of giving that counts.” Loyal supporters are one of the school’s most valued resources. Annual donations to the Andover Fund and Parent Fund address the timely needs of the Academy and touch every campaign priority as well. 38

Andover | Summer 2019

In the past year, Bulfinch members have supported need-based financial aid, academic innovations at the Tang Institute, Learning in the World trips, and equity and inclusion initiatives. Donors have also enhanced the Addison Gallery and the Peabody Institute as well as the Academy’s Outreach programs, including Andover Bread Loaf ’s work in the Lawrence, Mass., community. “You can give to what you love at Andover, something that meant a great deal to you as a student,” says David Brown ’95. “Or you can make a general gift and know

“ You can give to what you love at Andover, something that meant a great deal to you as a student.” DAVID BROWN ’95 Bulfinch Loyalty Society member

that the Academy will put it to the best and most immediate use. There is tremendous value in giving whatever you can to support our mission and efforts. Our kids are worth it.” Brown has given for seven consecutive years and recently attended the Bulfinch Loyalty Society’s New York reception in April. More than 140 members enjoyed the event at Manhattan Manor, which included a special address by Head of School John G. Palfrey P’21, ’23. Palfrey was joined at the society’s Boston event this May by Jenny Karlen Elliott ’94, P’22, assistant head of school for residential life and dean of students, who shared her insights on the joys and challenges of today’s Andover experience. “The Bulfinch Loyalty Society’s special events are simultaneously an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those who have contributed and a reminder why annual giving should continue,” says Brown. “The New York event afforded me the opportunity to connect with other alumni and our Academy leaders in a personal setting.” The Bulfinch Loyalty Society also hosted its traditional reunion breakfast on campus in early June. The event was organized with the Non Sibi Association, which recognizes the Academy’s annual leadership donors. Held in Paresky Commons, the breakfast featured special guest Evan W. Thomas III ’69, a Bulfinch member and author of the newly released Sandra Day O’Connor biography. “We hope to launch more Bulfinch events this coming academic year,” says Director of Development Nicole Cherubini, “and bring them to the West Coast and internationally. We want to share our gratitude with our donors and keep them connected to Andover in fun and meaningful ways.” Says Frey, “There’s a real energy among our Bulfinch members because we know giving back means great things for the Andover community.” 

Bulfinch Loyalty Society Named for one of Andover’s most cherished buildings, the Bulfinch Loyalty Society celebrates all donors who support the school in consecutive years. For two centuries, Bulfinch Hall has been a constant in Academy life, serving as a hub for the education of thousands pursuing the intellectual wonders of the written and spoken word. In that spirit, the Bulfinch Loyalty Society honors our alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends who help make those endeavors possible.



Bulfinch Loyalty Society members


Alumni donors with 10+ years of consecutive giving


New donors joined last year


of Andover Fund gifts are between $1 and $499


Raised through those gifts

Join, renew, or take your first step toward membership at Andover | Summer 2019



the Buzzzzz


Congrats to Olivia Wilde ’02, whose directorial debut movie, Booksmart, opened in May. Wilde received the CinemaCon Breakthrough Director of the Year Award and took part in a discussion on storytelling and activism at the Brooklyn Public Library along with Emerson Sykes ’01, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

A civil rights activist and president of Women in Africa, Hafsat Abiola ’92 was one of eight women to receive the European International Women’s Leadership Award. The awards were presented on International Women’s Day in March in Brussels.

In political news, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton ’97 joined the growing field of Democratic contenders vying to run against President Trump in 2020. Moulton will face competition from his classmate Addisu Demissie ’97, who was tapped to run New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s campaign for president.

Peter Nilsson ’95 recently became the third head of school at King’s Academy in Jordan. After graduating from Middlebury College and Columbia University, Nilsson served as assistant dean of faculty, assistant academic dean, and an English teacher and sports coach at Deerfield Academy.

New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie ’03 received the 2019 Thurman Munson Award. DeOssie was one of five athletes recognized at the February event that honors the legacy of Munson, who played 11 seasons with the New York Yankees and died tragically in a plane crash.

The Harvard Alumni Association honored Andover Charter Trustee Tamara Elliott Rogers ’70 with the 2019 Harvard Medal during commencement. One of three recipients, Rogers was recognized for her leadership of the largest capital campaign in the history of American education at Harvard and for her 40-year tenure at the university.

Bali Kumar ’02, CEO of Lean & Green Michigan, was named to the Utility Consumer Participation Board by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Kumar’s company aims to help businesses and property owners create long-term financing for energy efficiency.

The founder of RIDE, Indonesia’s first boutique indoor cycling studio, Gita Sjahrir ’00 was a speaker at the recent sold-out World Fit Summit, labeled as “the must-attend business festival in Asia for health, fitness, and wellness executives.”

All good things must come to an end, even awesome sitcoms. Writer and co-executive producer David Goetsch ’88 said goodbye this spring to the hit comedy The Big Bang Theory, which ended after 12 seasons and was one of the longest running series on CBS.

The Buzz features recent notable accomplishments by Andover and Abbot alums and faculty. Please email suggestions to


Andover | Summer 2019


Submitted Photos

Los Angeles, CA


Cambridge, MA


Andover Social Gathering at Night Market Philadelphia

Sept. 7 New York

9th Annual Todd Isaac Memorial Basketball Game and Reception

Sept. 8


Andover Gathering & Beach Day

Sept. 17


San Francisco Giants vs. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park

Oct. 5 Philadelphia

Non Sibi Project with Raquel Moreno ’01 and Books through Bars

Oct. 19

Archaeological Oddities Lecture

Medford, MA

CAMPUS EVENTS Sept. 20 & 21

Volunteer Summit 2019

Oct. 24

Andover Alumni Award of Distinction Dinner

Nov. 11

10th Annual Veterans Day Program and Dinner with Lt. Col. Kenneth Weiner ‘96

Chicago, IL For the most up-to-date alumni listings, visit

Hong Kong

Concord, MA

San Francisco, CA

Andover | Summer 2019



Bring It! Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining by Ali Rosen ’03 Running Press Just in time for summer gatherings, Rosen shares dozens of mouth-watering recipes that will have you rethinking your potluck game. Recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 for food and drink, the popular television cooking host definitely brings it in her first cookbook with dishes like pimento cheese and crab dip, short ribs with quick pickled shallots, s’mores bars, and more—all combining simple prep with big taste. A Fatal Obsession: A McCabe and Savage Thriller (Book 6) by James Hayman ’59 Witness Impulse Portland, Maine, detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage are settling into the rhythm of their new relationship when McCabe gets a call from his brother Bobby that Zoe, McCabe’s favorite niece and Bobby’s daughter, has suddenly disappeared. The NYPD is certain that Zoe’s abduction is the work of a vicious serial killer. Bobby begs McCabe to return to the New York City crime beat and find Zoe before her time runs out. The stakes have never been higher for McCabe and Savage. Or more personal. The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect by Dana Mackenzie ’75 and Judea Pearl Penguin Books “Correlation does not imply causation.” This mantra was invoked by scientists for decades in order to avoid taking positions as to whether one thing caused another, such as smoking and cancer and carbon dioxide and global warming. But today, that taboo is dead. Science journalist Mackenzie and computer scientist Pearl explain causal thinking to general readers for the first time, and just as Pearl’s discoveries have enabled machines to think better, The Book of Why explains how we can think better. Oncoming Halos by Marjorie Power ’65 Kelsay Books “I’ve come to trust accident, error, unexpected love,” writes Power in a book of poems that navigates a complex, everchanging, often crazy world with insight. There is a reckoning with August days, a making of peace with loved ones and those who have gone. While maintaining an essential mystery, Power writes with concision and clarity about all that circles, the burgeoning welcome of a fresh amity between shadow and darkness. Spend time with this book; it is a circuitry of wry grace.

Beyond Suicide: Conversations with My Brother by Ransford C. Pyle ’54 Amazon Direct Publishing What do you do when your long dead brother suddenly shows up in the rocking chair next to your bed? You talk to him. Pyle’s younger brother, John, took his life in 1960 at the age of 20, when Pyle was 24. Five decades after John’s death, Pyle finally deals with his brother’s suicide through a transcript of 15 conversations between siblings that tells the story of their lives together and apart, tracing a path to discovery, redemption, and peace. The Dream Revisited: Contemporary Debates About Housing, Segregation, and Opportunity by Ingrid Gould Ellen and Justin Peter Steil ’96 Columbia University Press A half century after the Fair Housing Act, despite ongoing transformations of the geography of privilege and poverty, residential segregation by race and income continues to shape urban and suburban neighborhoods in the United States. Why do people live where they do? What explains segregation’s persistence? And why is addressing segregation so complicated? A probing examination of a deeply rooted problem, The Dream Revisited offers pressing insights into the changing face of urban inequality. A Rainbow of Tao by Jane English ’60 Earth Heart What treasures does this Tao from the Far East bring to our Western culture? In a beautiful and accessible book, the author replies by telling her experience with Tao through her own words and original color photographs of nature, accompanied by selections from Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tsu. Each of us must find Tao in our own unique way. By venturing into the full color spectrum, English presents images just as nature intended for our eyes to see—allowing spirits to soar. Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why by Anne Janzer ’80 Cuesta Park Consulting Have you ever wondered what makes your favorite nonfiction books so compelling, understandable, and enjoyable to read? Combining insights from cognitive science with interviews from writers and experts in psychology, behavioral design, economics, medicine, policy, and more, Janzer helps the writer in all of us to better connect with readers.

If you would like your book to be considered for publication, please email a high-resolution image of the book cover and a 75-word summary of your book to Books will be included at the discretion of the editor.


Andover | Summer 2019


Jessie Wallner

There’s no place like Andover For seniors like Jenni Lawson ’19 and Itzelt Reyes ’19, the best part of their three-room double in Johnson House isn’t the theatre-themed wall decorations or fuzzy lounge chairs (although those help!). It’s friends and house counselors that make their dorm feel like home at the end of a long day. “Ever since coming in as a new lower, I’ve always loved the camaraderie in my dorm,” Reyes says. “From making tapioca drinks to having a sushi cooking session, my house counselors have always tried their best to make the dorm our home. This year, I could not have had a better roommate than Jenni. Whether it’s bonding over life stories or jamming our way through late night Disney movies, she is the best!” Lawson adds, “My house counselors are such amazing people; my Andover experience wouldn’t be the same without them. Over the past three years in the dorm, I’ve grown especially close with Dr. (Christine) Marshall. We’ve spent countless hours chatting, and I love baking with her and walking her adorable dogs, Ruby and Rigel. She’s definitely become like a second mom to me and for that I will be forever grateful.” See more student homes away from home at 96

Andover | Summer 2019

THANK YOU! Your PA Giving Day Impact


donors supported Andover

$2.48M raised for vital priorities


scholarships created for talented students


Phillips and Abbot classes gave back


parents and grandparents participated


countries and 38 states represented







Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts 01810-4161

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