The Deerfield community is big enough to provide one with a wide variety of experiences and encounters with students from all over the world and at the same time small enough that we all know and care for each other.
Coming to Deerfield Academy is one of the bravest things I’ve ever had to do. I remember leaving home on a Sunday evening. As is our culture, a ceremony had been organized at my home and everybody I knew had been invited. Amidst the feasting and sharing of fond memories, there was a subtle tension that had pervaded the afternoon. My parents were happy that I was getting a chance to study abroad but were also very apprehensive about my departure and imminent loneliness in a far away country —a country to which they had never been. My three sisters and two brothers were all over me wishing me the best, beside themselves with pride and telling me that they hoped I would invite them to join me in that cool place that I was going to. “All alone? How awesome is that?”
Coming to Deerfield, I was faced with the challenge of having only one year, when most of my classmates had had three or four years, to take advantage of all that Deerfield has to offer and to make my mark on the Academy. Upon arrival, I was almost immedi- ately struck by the talent possessed by the wonderful student community. Whether it was someone getting up to speak at school meeting, or to dance at the showcase, or to perform in the black box theater, everybody seemed to possess immense passion and drive.
Having come from a totally different culture and system of education, I faced a number of challenges but I never once felt lonely or afraid or that I wanted to leave. The Deerfield community took me in as one of its own and from the first day, when I stood and announced my name to my fellow new students in the Memorial Building lobby, to today that I think about what my Deerfield career has meant to me, I have felt loved, wanted, and that I belonged. The best thing about the Deerfield community is that it’s big enough to provide one with a wide variety of experi- ences and encounters with students from all over the world and at the same time small enough that we all know and care for each other.
Some of my fondest memories are of being on the cross country team which allowed me to explore the surrounding woods and get to know the valley in its splendor. Whether it was on warm fall days, with the sun rays filtering through the leaves and forming patterns as unique as the leaves them- selves or on wet, rainy days with the droplets dripping from the canopies and making small puddles underneath, I learned to appreciate nature and its beauty. Many are the days when after running as hard as we could, blazing the leaf spattered trails, we would stop and slowly walk taking in the cool, calm, quiet sur- roundings. Running with my training partner, who was not only my roommate but also my best friend, we would run long and hard and only stop when both of us were completely worn out, when we would either fall down laughing at a wise crack or just lie down on our backs and simply relish the joy that is cross country running. We both came from countries that were both distance- running power houses and so the rivalry, even though not aggressive, was always there. Whenever we ran a race, it was never between me and Melaku. It was always between Kenya and Ethiopia.
On a cool spring Sunday afternoon, as I sit on the second floor of the library looking out the window, I think about all these things. In the course of the past year, Deerfield has taught me that it’s neither the books nor the grades nor the achievements attained while at this school that matter the most. It’s the friendships forged, the experiences shared, the life lessons learned, and the people who meant something— people who made a difference forme.AsImoveonto Stanford University, this is what I shall treasure most about my experience here in the Deerfield valley, and I now know that I am not sad that my stay was too short, I’m just happy and thankful that it happened.
At Deerfield, I became “The kid who is going to become the president of Kenya” and even though I do not have a clear plan as to how I am going to get there, Deerfield has laid the founda- tion for my goal, and I shall strive to always be worthy of my heritage.