25 years of the ‘magic of Archer:’ On-campus caravan, gala celebrate anniversary

Photographers+wait+for+families+to+end+their+caravan+experience+with+a+family+photo+in+front+of+the+Maypole+on+Sunday%2C+May+2.+Seniors+hung+their+college+pennants+on+the+portable+wall+for+all+to+see+the+day+before.

Photo credit: Kristin Taylor

Photographers wait for families to end their caravan experience with a family photo in front of the Maypole on Sunday, May 2. Seniors hung their college pennants on the portable wall for all to see the day before.

By Vaughan Anoa'i, News Editor

Purple, green and white colored-balloon arches hide behind the gates; faculty members converse with students and their families through their car windows; the voices of The Drama Queens and the Unaccompanied Minors begin to fill cars from a specially crafted playlist. This is Archer’s 25-year anniversary caravan.

To celebrate this milestone, members of the Archer administration coordinated an on-campus caravan where students and their families had the opportunity to drive onto and through campus to pick up specially wrapped packages at designated stations. Additionally, students and their families were permitted to step out of their vehicles and take a family photo in front of the Maypole at the very end of the caravan.

“It felt like all the magic of Archer didn’t disappear, it’s just that we were away from it,” Director of Advancements and Communications Quyen Ngo said in a recent interview. “It was just so nice to be back in that space. Seeing everyone was like being a family again, or a community, and it’s been a really rough year for everybody in different ways.”

Echoing this sentiment, junior Nina Salomon said she had a “nice time” venturing on-campus with her family, while also catching up with various members of the Archer faculty and community whom she hasn’t seen in a long time.

“It was really nice to see Ms. English and other teachers who we don’t really get to see that often because I don’t have them as my teacher for classes,” Salomon said. “It’s nice to just be on-campus, and to take a picture in front of the Maypole and to have that spring sense of community.”

As students and their families drove onto campus, they first participated in a book donation drive in partnership with The Book Truck, a nonprofit that provides thousands of free books to foster care, homeless and low-income teens throughout Los Angeles County. In lieu of a ticket purchase for the caravan, books served as the price of admission with the intention of being as inclusive as possible for the entire community, while still supporting an important cause.

Following the book drop-off, Head of School Elizabeth English greeted and briefly conversed with students and their families through the car windows. Families were encouraged to scan a QR code to play a pre-recorded compilation of Archer’s co-founders speaking, along with music performed by the music and composition class as well as a cappella voiceovers from The Drama Queens.

“The caravan audio was really magical to me, and just seeing the Drama Queens and the a capella group — and the way it got mixed together, it sounded like a Disneyland ride, and that was the goal,” Ngo said.

Venturing further onto campus, three stations were set up along the backside of the Diana Meehan center, where various faculty members greeted students and passed out Archer license plate frames, 25th birthday party packs and Sprinkles cupcakes. The birthday party packs were handed out in preparation for the Archer Affair Gala, which happened virtually on May 8.

“I really liked being able to celebrate Archer, even if it was in a modified way,” Stephanie Harrison (’24) said. “And I like the fact that there were definitely a lot of people there, so it felt like you were celebrating with Archer.”

After students finished stopping by each station, they had the opportunity to get out of their vehicles, take off their masks and take a family photo in front of the Maypole that was later printed and framed.

“My favorite station was taking a picture in front of the Maypole with my parents because that’s not something that we have done in the past,” Salomon said. “It was nice to get a family photo in front of the Maypole that we can frame in our Archer frame.”

In regards to the upcoming Archer Affair event, Ngo describes the planning experience for both the caravan as well as the gala as “interesting,” noting the shifts and adjustments that had to be made this year due to COVID-19.

“It wasn’t anything of what we originally planned but, I think, true to Archer spirit, culture and resourcefulness,” Ngo recently said. “We figured out a way to make it very Archer, and the party’s not over yet because we have the virtual event this Saturday.”

Commenting on the gala, Salomon said she felt thankful to the Archer administration and faculty for their creativity and generosity during this time.

“I think it’s a really creative way to celebrate it,” Salomon said. “It was nice that they’re still thinking of us and giving us gifts during this time, even though the celebration is going to be virtual.”