As a student, Christopher Auguste ’76 gave all he could to the Andover community. As the newest member of the Board of Trusteees, he hopes to continue this tradition.
A Phillips Academy alumnus and parent of Rekha Auguste-Nelson ’09 and Ceylon Auguste-Nelson ’12, Auguste said that he gained the confidence he needed to be successful in life, college and at work during his time at Andover.
Auguste said, “I’m fairly vocal so hopefully I can add my point of view to issues. I think because of my experience at Andover, I add a unique perspective [to the board].”
In 1970, when Auguste was twelve years old, his family immigrated from Arima, Trinidad and Tobago to Harlem, New York where Auguste attended Wadleigh Junior High School.
Edouard Plummer, a teacher at Wadleigh, encouraged Auguste to join his program that helped underprivileged students apply to boarding school.
Auguste was admitted to Andover and Phillips Exeter Academy, and chose to attend Andover with the advice of the director of the program.
Auguste said that transitioning from life in Harlem to his new Andover lifestyle was “surprisingly easly.”
Auguste, who had a “large single” in Nathan Hale, said, “I was happy to be at Andover and have my own room because I had five older brothers.” Ceylon is currently living in the same room.
During his time at Andover, Auguste served as President of African-Latino-American Society (Af-Lat-Am) and student government. Auguste was also the President of the Pine Knoll Cluster.
As cluster president, Auguste particularly enjoyed being on the Disciplinary Committee, and attributes his experiences to his later decision to pursue a law degree.
“[Being on the Disciplinary Committee was] training for representing people’s views on things,” he said.
Auguste appreciated the faculty he was able to have as mentors at Andover, mentioning Ed Quattlebaum, former Instructor in History, and Angel Rubio, former Instructor in Spanish, as being particularly noteworthy.
“Dr. Quattlebaum was just one of those people who made me think about things differently and broadly,” he said. “[Rubio] was also very inspiring and made me introspective. They cared about how well I did.”
Strongly influenced by those relationships, Auguste now acts as a mentor for several current students of color through the CAMD office. He periodically communicates with them about their progress at Andover.
After learning that the Wadleigh Scholars program was having trouble recruiting students in Harlem, Auguste returned to the program as a mentor when he graduated from law school.
Auguste said, “[The fact that] that the students of color do well at Andover… is something very important to me.”
Ryan Ramos ’12 is one of Auguste’s mentees.
Ramos said, “Mr. Auguste is an amazing mentor to me even though he’s not on campus normally. He finds ways to keep in touch, by phone or email. We have great conversations about school, sports and life. We’ve gone to basketball games and nice lunches.”
“Coming from New York City then going to Andover like me, he lets me know that I can be successful,” he continued.
After Andover, Auguste attended Harvard College, intending to major in History after discovering that a Harvard professor had previously conducted research with Dr. Quattlebaum.
Auguste said, “My studying, understanding and liking of history [at Andover]… clearly had an impact.”
He ultimately chose to pursue law and later attended Harvard Law School. Auguste is now a corporate lawyer, working as a partner in a law firm in New York.
Auguste served five years on the Alumni Council for Andover, mainly with Multicultural Affairs.
“[The school is] wonderful in terms of diversity,” recalling when his oldest daughter, Rekha ’09, told him she wanted to join IndoPak, a club that had not existed when he was at Andover.
According to Auguste, when he was at Andover, there were only twenty or twenty-five black and Hispanic students and only a few Asian students.
“The impact is going to come over the next generation, when these students are going to be leaders,” said Auguste.
“Having lived and worked with people [from various backgrounds] makes them more understanding of diversity in the workplace and other things. It’ll make the world a better world,” he continued.
Auguste is also involved with the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, which seeks to increase the representation of minorities in the faculty.
Outside of Andover, Auguste is an active participant and board member of many volunteer programs. He currently works with the Goddard Riverside Community Center, a NYC-based organization that tries to meet people’s basic needs, as well as YouthBridge-NY, a two-year leadership program for teenagers that educates them about the importance of diversity.
Moreover, Auguste also was involved in the Non Sibi Steering Committee, which helped to establish Non Sibi Day.
He said, “It’s amazing where [Non Sibi Day] is today. It’s fascinating that it’s global.”