Phillips Academy

Parent Bulletin

Phillips Academy Head of School Office
Rebecca Sykes, associate head of school

June 7, 2013

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Four years ago, schools everywhere were tracking the incidence of the H1N1 virus among their students. On the prevention side, the Andover community adopted the elbow bump to avoid shaking hands and we all learned to cough or sneeze into our sleeves. To keep parents informed, we began sending weekly email updates to report how many cases had been confirmed here on campus. One day it occurred to me that there had to be something more positive to communicate to parents than how many kids were being seen in Isham, and that is how the Parent Bulletin was born. The bulletin was and is our way to stay connected and to highlight important dates, and I have loved this vehicle for getting to know so many of you. I wish I had a nickel for every time I met someone who would say, “Oh, I know you. You are the one who sends us those newsletters. Thanks for giving us information that we would never get from our son/daughter.”

In the same way that the Class of 2013 has been experiencing a series of “lasts” in their senior year, this is the last time I will address you through the bulletin. I will remain at Phillips Academy through the summer, but will have left by the time the new school year begins in September. Rest assured, even though I will be gone, the Parent Bulletin will continue.

I have lived my life rather conservatively, moving from one job to another over the last 40 years but, for the most part, within the embrace of Andover. Now, I am striking out on a new adventure, to become president of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation. John Palfrey has been an absolutely wonderful new boss over the past year and I will eagerly watch from afar (as a past PA parent, three times over) to see the direction the school takes under his leadership.

Thank you all for your generosity, good humor, graciousness and gifted children. There is no greater honor than to have been part of the extended community that includes faculty, students, staff and parents of Phillips Academy. The next leg of my life’s journey will be exciting and will often take me out of my comfort zone; it is the many lessons I have learned from everyone here that will get me through.

If it is your tradition, I would appreciate it if you would keep my husband, Elwin, and me in your prayers. We will stay in touch with the school and hope to visit from time to time, when we are in the States. Until we meet again—on one continent or the other—I wish you and your children every joy and success. – Becky Sykes

PSPA Store Supports Students

PSPA had a very exciting and successful year. We introduced our Parent-to-Parent Forum during Parents’ Weekend, which will become a yearly event. We also opened our PSPA Store (lower level of GW Hall), offering many new items of apparel. Many thanks to Chris Joel and the administration for helping to make our dream come true. We also want to recognize parents Pam Roche, Laurie Fraser and Susan Howell for their hard work and dedication throughout the entire process. We hope you will visit the PSPA Store if you are on campus during Commencement or Alumni Weekend. All profits support student endeavors at Andover. If you are a local parent and can contribute a fun and much appreciated couple of hours at our store on June 14 or June 15, please consider signing up to volunteer at: Our online store is always open! Order your Senior DVD or check out new merchandise at:

Connect with Fellow Parents

Please join the PSPA Facebook page, which is for PA parents exclusively and provides an opportunity to chat with other parents and share your questions and photos. Also, please join our PSPA mailing list to keep informed of upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Both lists can be accessed at:

Last but not least, I’d like to thank all of the wonderful parents who volunteered their time so enthusiastically this year. Please mark your calendars for the PSPA Fall Reception, with John Palfrey on Thursday, September 12 at 7 pm in Kemper Auditorium. It’s a great way to start the school year!

Graduation Gifts from the Andover Bookstore

The Andover Bookstore offers a variety of special gifts for graduating seniors, including custom Phillips Academy diploma frames. All items can be ordered by clicking

Special Thanks

Behind every successful Parent Bulletin are several people who actually make it read so well. Undying thanks to my assistant Belinda Traub, and our colleagues in the Communications Department, Tracy Sweet and Jonathan Kapaldo. I could not have produced the bulletin without them. Thanks, team!

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