Deerfield Academy - Review #13
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1984-1987|
|Sports and Activities:||I was the Fine Arts Editor of the Scroll, the school newspaper, and also was a senior proctor in a freshman dormitory. I was also a nordic ski jumper.|
|College Enrolled:||Georgetown University|
|Home Town, State:||Woodstock, VT|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Deerfield has an unsurpassed campus which includes the most advanced and immaculate athletics and science buildings. The school is nestled in a valley and is insular enough to provide absolute safety and a feeling of community unaffected by any outside sound or aesthetic pollution.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Perhaps the best moments I recall:Winning my varsity letter in Ski Jumping, which filled me with pride because I considered myself small and weak.Meeting a pretty Spanish exchange student from Ethel Walker School and holding her hand as we walked along Main St., talking and trying to understand each other.Being tackled by a teacher notorious for "busting" errant boys, when I was out after curfew one night having a snowball fight. This filled me with pride since I considered myself a bit of a timid boy when it came to authority. The incident was memorialized in a senior skit at School Assembly and I felt that I had thusly broken through from total obscurity to 15 minutes - literally - of fame.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have been less shy, if I could go back. I was a small kid and because my parents got divorced while I was away at school, I spent much of my time feeling like my guts were going to fall out. This prevented me from truly being as adventurous as I might have been. Still, I had a generally good time. At boarding school back then, there was a certain amount of harsh reality that was accepted but would likely not be today.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
Deerfield is without a doubt the best school in America. There is little or no reason to consider going anywhere else, if you can get in. The spirit of the place is liquid and vibrant, and the quality of the people there is unparalleled.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
The best thing to do is to make friends fast, since they will remain your fast friends. Also find a teacher or two with whom you can share any struggles you have, since you will have some. Don’t keep things bottled up inside because there are good people around who will help you get through it, and your problems are not unprecedented, no matter what they may be. And ask the girls (or guys) to dance!
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Deerfield offered small classes with interested and dedicated teachers. Some were eccentric and provided an education in human nature supplementary to their taught subject. There was always some feature of interest happening which had little to do with the class subject itself.The academic load was varied and the classes typically tethered to the specifics of their subject, so that it was fairly easy to learn in a concentrated way and have vivid memories of the classes themselves. This allowed not only an ease to complete the difficult, but also a cross-pollination of effort from one class to another, since the inspiration was a constant. Also the tests were hard.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
At Deerfield the sports were mandatory each semester. I enjoyed Ski Jumping immensely. Less interesting was the time I spent playing soccer, since I was not much of a runner. The teams played to win, no doubt. The general feeling was that sports and physical activity led us all to be healthier and more efficient students.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
The Arts were strong at Deerfield, with theater and painting especially strong. There was always some production happening - a play, or a concert, or a gallery show. These were both student productions and professional troupes performing. It was encouraged to attend, and also to participate - but not mandatory.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
At Deerfield I volunteered in an after-school teaching program for local kids. It was fun to travel into town from campus to basically play with grade schoolers. There were many opportunities to volunteer - including on the local fire department!
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life was an introduction to independent living. At 14 or 15 years old, it was a challenge to organize time outside of classes to get everything done. I enjoyed acting as a senior proctor in a freshman dormitory, as the younger boys were full of mischief.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
There was not much reason to go to town, except possibly to the movies or out to restaurants with friends’ families when they came to visit. Greenfield is a small town which has some charm and varied offerings.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life during the week was mostly focused on dorm interaction and sports. Since Deerfield was all boys when I attended, the weekends offered the only interactions with girls, who were bused in from girls' schools for dances. This was wonderful, and in retrospect the straightforward approach to purpose-driven boy/girl get-togethers would well be emulated in society at large, for all ages. The fun was that there was of course plenty of tension, and there were also plenty of lovely girls to build that tension! If I could find similar dances where there might be such a concentration of prospective dance partners, I would be happy to attend. Find memories, even though I seldom had the courage to dance. I did find a few to stroll around campus under the night air.
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