ABC Hails Seniors' Accomplishments

ABC_Scholar_3srs_05132015.jpgAndover High School guidance counselors, ABC host families, ABC board members past and present, and long-time friends of ABC all gathered last Wednesday at the Log Cabin at Phillips Academy on a gorgeous spring evening to honor the ABC students. An impressive group of thoughtful and smart young women lit up the log cabin with their gratitude and reflections, laughter and tears, as ABC celebrated three graduating seniors.  
 
Nancy Vogler presented the Samuel S. Rogers Prize for volunteerism to Nilda Vega for the tireless example she sets sharing her time in community service.  Together the students created a colorful bouquet as each thanked the myriad of volunteers who have supported them on their journey over the year – from keeping the hot water on at the house, to driving to activities, to lending a hand in keeping up with their academics.  Appreciation was shared by the 5 freshmen and sophomores as they presented a work of art to our honoree seniors: a painting representing the three seniors that will hang in the ABC house as a wonderful memory of the difference they made while they lived in the house.
 
The ABC host families shared stories of getting to know each of their host daughters, and how their relationship deepened over the years, over dinners and family events, cooking and rap music.  John Nossiff, the youngest of Fatouma Koné’s three host brothers, kept the audience laughing, saying that his mom’s real reason to have them participate as a host family was to have a daughter, and that Fatouma, “did it all without causing trouble which was a nice change for my parents.” Julie Prentiss, Ariel Leachman’s host mom, shared that, as a family, they “can’t wait to see where Ariel takes life because where life takes her is too passive for Ariel.”  Brian Carmichael let the audience know that he would smile as he hangs Xonatia Lee’s Yankees ornament on their Christmas tree each year. Brian's words echoed each host family’s sentiment to their graduating senior: “You were never a guest, you were always part of the family.” 
 
The tradition of each senior reflecting on their time in Andover is always the highlight of the evening, and this year was no exception as the seniors expressed deep appreciation and gratitude for the myriad people who have helped them along the way along with an important intellectual understanding of the larger story behind their participation in ABC, and the program’s role in the larger purpose to address educational inequality. Each senior hung up a pennant for the college she plans to attend in the fall: Barnard pennants for Ariel and Xonatia and a Franklin & Marshall pennant for Fatouma. 
 
With deep admiration for the personal courage, fortitude, natural abilities and intelligence that these three seniors brought to this program, we applaud Fatouma, Ariel and Xonatia as they reach the finish line.  We are confident that they will harness their determination, passion and talent to make the world a better place.

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