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Is Deerfield Special? Students Debate Co-Curricular Specialization

Faculty members met in October to discuss whether students could specialize in co-curriculars or pursue different ones to become well-rounded. The school currently requires students to participate in a co-curricular every term, with freshmen and sophomores participating in a team sport for two seasons each year.

“It seems counterproductive to force a student who excels at a particular co-curricular to play on a low-level team during their off season,” Justin Schlacks ’13 said, “Specialization is necessary, and hindering talent by not allowing exemptions only serves to weaken our student body.”

Similarly, Wyatt Sharpe ’13 said, “A lot of the college process includes a bit of specialization, and if Deerfield is a college preparatory school, then they should also include aspects of specialization.”

Exemptions are already allowed for a few students, yet it is still unclear how many students should be able to specialize — and to what extent. Some students have argued that the more students are allowed to specialize in a particular sport, for instance, the more they will be able to contribute to their team’s success.

“People should be able to pursue what they want each term, if they are happy and passionate about it,” Caroline Dye ’14 added.

On the other hand, Jules Kerbs ‘13 said the school should require students to take different co-curriculars every term.

“Before I came to Deerfield, I played volleyball year round and wanted to do the same here,” she said. “But trying new co-curriculars can be very valuable. Working with local kids every day through community service made me patient and helped me realize that I wanted to continue service during summers and after I graduate from DA. If you care about something enough, you can make time for it.”

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