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To the Skies and Beyond: Athletic Exemptions Reach New Heights

This winter, as athletes kick off the co-curricular season on the basketball courts or hit the ski slopes, other students have decided to pursue their own creative interests with unique co-curricular exemptions behind a camera, at the chessboard, or up in the air.

Eliza Mott ’12 and Ryan Heffernan ’12 have dedicated their winter term to working on a short film that may make an appearance at the Widdies, the student film festival held each spring.

Mott commented, “The project was inspired by a music video for the song ‘Montana’ by Youth Lagoon, and even though there is no dialogue in the film, it has a great plot, and that’s really what we are looking to accomplish.”

Though initially fine arts teacher Timothy Trelease was “a bit hesitant to grant us the exemption, we were thrilled to convince him to let us pursue the project,” said Heffernan. “I want to put my heart and soul into this. We have a vision.”

Bobby DeNunzio ’12 shared a similar sense of vision when, during the winter of 2010, he wrote a paper about chess player Bobby Fischer. “Unfortunately,” DeNunzio commented, “it was initially supposed to be a biography with focus on chess analysis, but around the same time I was writing, other biographies of Bobby Fischer were published, and the project turned into a paper.”

Deciding to focus his book on a specific aspect of chess and analyzing individual games through that aspect, DeNunzio explained, “It will be much more chess-oriented, which is exactly what I want.”

Taking unique exemptions to new heights, Charles Jones ’12 spent last spring and fall in the air working for his instrument training and flying license. On a typical Wednesday afternoon, Jones would take “a cab to Northampton Airport and either work with my flight instructor, with the flight simulator, or fly. I would say I spent about two times a week flying.”

When asked what the inspiration for his daring forays was, Jones replied, “Flying has always been an interest of mine, and Deerfield isn’t a place where interests come to die. It is where they come to live.”

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