October 02, 2017

An alumna reflects: Values that shape lives

Non sibi is what makes me passionate about Andover.
by Jenny Elkus ’92

As much as reunions are a time to reconnect with fellow alumni, they are also a time to reconnect with Andover. As we reminisce with friends, we are reminded of the lessons learned and the values we developed here.

This past June, the Class of 1992 came back for our 25th Reunion, which was filled with incredible events and activities. For many, a highlight of the weekend was a panel discussion themed “If I knew then what I know now.” It was a lively and candid conversation filled with humor. What was most striking to me was the extent to which the values we learned at Andover have shaped our lives, none more so than non sibi.

Our class already boasts one Fuess Award and two Alumni Award of Distinction recipients. We have classmates who are solving public health crises, addressing human trafficking, and protecting the environment. Just as there are many exhibiting non sibi values in a public manner, there also are those who live these values every day in quieter, more personal ways.

Non sibi is what makes me passionate about Andover. It is what motivates me to pick up the phone year after year to hound my classmates to give. I raise money to support need-blind admission not just so Andover can educate youth from every quarter, but also because of what those youth from every quarter will do with their Andover education.

During the past 25 years, I have had the opportunity to volunteer for Andover in different ways. In my younger and more social days, I served on the board of my regional alumni association. I have worked on various reunion committees and have been a class agent for 25 years, ending a run as head agent this past spring. Currently I serve on the Annual Giving Board of the Alumni Council and am a member of the Peabody Advisory Committee—perhaps the most personal of my commitments as the Peabody was, for me, one of the most important places on campus during my time at Andover.

I am grateful to the generations of alumni who came before me—their contributions made my Andover experience possible. There would be no Peabody, no Addison, no Brace Center, no Tang Institute without those who believed in building a better Andover. We would not have the steps of Sam Phil to sit on nor the lights in the Garver Room to study by if it weren’t for those who went before us. Most importantly, Andover itself would not have the ability to send generations of alumni into the world to apply their knowledge toward goodness.

Reunion reminds us that it is our job not only to make sure that Andover persists, but also to ensure that Andover continues to improve and grow its noble mission. Whether giving back or paying it forward, it is our responsibility to leave Andover a better place than we found it.

Jenny Elkus is an architect and master planner at Elkus Manfredi Architects in Boston.

Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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