Izzy An and Nathan Bechard
November 16, 2022

Abbot Hoops a slam dunk

Students take the lead on Andover's first outdoor basketball court
by Nancy Hitchcock

“Where’s the basketball court?” students ask as they walk around campus in a short video produced by Izzy An and Nathan Bechard, both Class of 2024. The pair (pictured in the photo above) presented their video in a pitch to the Abbot Academy Fund (AAF) for a grant to build Andover’s first outdoor basketball court. Bechard and An thought an outside court would be a good place for the campus community to gather and enjoy a spontaneous game of basketball. “Our joint idea was to create a place with a low-key environment to have a good pickup game with friends, with faculty, with faculty kids, or with anyone who wants to play,” says An.

During the two-year process, An and Bechard communicated with faculty advisors, found the best location on campus (near Phelps Stadium), researched builders, negotiated with vendors, and pitched ideas to the AAF board, which eventually approved a $52,700 grant.

The students credit the “power of the Abbot Grant” for the success of this project. “I learned a lot from the process, such as planning out a spreadsheet with finances and tracking each dollar amount,” says An. “I thought it was a great way to get your feet wet in terms of pitching an idea to a board.”

Bechard agrees. “The biggest part about this,” he says, “is knowing that we could put our minds to improving and expanding the school and that, with the Abbot Grant program, we could get it done. That is something really special about this school. Hopefully this will encourage other students to see what’s possible.”

“The spirit of Abbot Academy lives on in the Andover community through projects like Abbot Hoops,” says Beth Humstone, president of the Abbot Academy Fund. “The persistence, diligence, and enthusiasm of Nate and Izzy for the project were instrumental in the project’s ultimate success with the Abbot Academy Fund board."

The “Abbot Hoops” court opened in September and included remarks of appreciation for the AAF and a three-on-three basketball tournament with six teams and gift card prizes. So far, the new court has proven popular. “I haven’t yet walked by the court and found it empty,” says Bechard.

Photos by John Gillooly

Categories: Magazine, Magazine Online

Other Stories

John Briggs ’77
The return of the Abbot Telescope

John Briggs ’77 and the Abbot Academy Fund bring the iconic instrument home

Angie Thomas
The audacity of optimism

Best-selling author Angie Thomas delivers MLK Day keynote