and TraditioN


The Valley

Deerfield’s beautiful campus sits in the midst of rich farmland and meadows, bordered by the hills of the Pocumtuck Range to the east and the Deerfield River to the west. The changing of seasons in this graceful corner of New England, from the brilliant colors of autumn to winter snows to the sudden green of spring, enriches the lives of the Academy’s students and faculty.


The History

Deerfield Academy’s 330-acre campus
is nestled at the center of the 18th-century historic village of Deerfield. The town’s main street has retained its history and charm over the past 200 years since Deerfield Academy was first founded, and the well-preserved village now operates in part as a museum.


The Culture

With Greenfield to the north, and the “Five Colleges” of Amherst, Smith, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and UMass 20 minutes to the south,
the area is rich with cultural and intellectual resources, offering galleries, bookstores, restaurants, coffee houses, movie theaters,
and a unique collection of shops.

Living Tradition

A variety of time-honored traditions distinguish the Deerfield experience. They are at once revered, respected, and influenced by the student body. Students fully embrace the historic aspects of these traditions, while making them wholly their own, contributing their knowledge, insight, and spirit to improve upon a base of more than 200 years. Several of Deerfield’s central traditions are described below, but many others—long-running school dances, Spring Day, and senior-faculty soirees to name just a few—also contribute to the vibrancy of the school.

Students at rock 1960s?

The Rock

Each fall the Head of School brings the ninth graders up to the Rock, where they can look out across Deerfield’s campus and the surrounding land. Students return many times throughout their years at Deerfield, and a trip to the Rock is often one of the last activities of graduating seniors. Current students share the experience of climbing to the Rock with generations of Deerfield alumni, who made the same trek many years before. The view has changed remarkably since then, but the experience remains the same.

The Dining Hall

Seven times a week the entire campus community gathers in the Dining Hall for a family-style meal. Nine students and one faculty member  eat at each round table, which creates the opportunity  for deeper connections between members of the community. After dinner every Sunday night, the entire student body joins together for one of Deerfield’s most cherished traditions, the singing of the Evensong.

Choate Day

One of the most popular campus events every year is Choate Day, when Deerfield’s athletic teams compete against their chief rival, Choate Rosemary Hall. The night before, Deerfield’s cheerleaders lead a pep rally, and students gather for a bonfire on the lower level. Nearly every athletic event draws a healthy crowd of Deerfield student and alumni fans who, with the help of the cheerleaders, root for Deerfield’s teams with cries of “Go Big Green!” and “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!”

School Meeting

Every Wednesday morning the entire student body and faculty crowd into the Large Auditorium for school meeting. Students sit by class, and each meeting begins with class cheers, followed by the singing of one of Deerfield’s songs. The contents of each meeting vary, but usually include pertinent announcements, student performances, and featured speakers. Students are invited and encouraged to contribute to the meeting with announcements and presentations. Gathering as a community where everyone can have his or her voice heard contributes to the cohesiveness and warmth of the community.

Deerfield has no mascot, but it does have symbols, and the three most important are the Door, the Seal, and the Deerfield colors: Green & White.

The Door

Located on the front of the John Williams Dormitory, the Deerfield Door is the primary symbol of the Academy. Its architectural design represents part of the Pocumtuck Valley’s heritage as well as the Academy’s historical tradition.

The Seal

The Academy Seal is a more formal symbol, which includes a detailed image of the Deerfield Door, the phrase “Founded 1797,” and the school’s motto: “Be Worthy of Your Heritage.” A bronze version of the seal can be found on the floor of the main entrance to the Athletic Center; a long-standing Deerfield tradition holds that it is bad luck to step on the seal.

Perhaps the most prevalent symbols of Deerfield are the school colors—green and white. At games, the cheer “Go Big Green!”
is constantly heard, and loyal Deerfield students and alumni are said to “bleed green.”


Deerfield has a long tradition of song, from “Sunday Sings” with Mr. Boyden and required Glee Club auditions through the 90s, to the pop a cappella groups the Mellow-D’s and Rhapso-D’s today.

Once a week School Meeting begins with the singing of one of Deerfield’s school songs, and at every Sunday sit down dinner the whole school comes together and sings the Evensong. During the spring term, as seniors prepare to graduate, they are called upon many times to join in the Evensong. All these songs hold special meaning for students, alumni, and faculty alike:

The Deerfield Evensong

Words by Richard Warren Hatch
Music by Ralph Herrick Oatley

Far beyond each western mountain
Gleam the fires of dying day;
Softly from each hidden fountain
Flows the river on its way.
All the valley lies in splendor
Hushed before the coming night;
From a hundred ancient windows
Flashes back the sunset’s light.
Now the meadow-wind’s soft whisper
Stirs the old elm’s silhouette,
Bends each leafy tower above us,
Caught in evening’s dusky net.
Now the day is done with striving;
Let the heart hold memory bright;
Soon these halls and fields we’re leaving—
Raise we song before the night.
Let the circling night be softened
By the ember’s last faint glow;
In the firelight we will gather
Bound by song before we go.
Deerfield Days are days of glory,
Memory lives in every one;
Let no other name be spoken
Till the even-hour is done.

The Deerfield Song

Words by Ralph Herrick Oatley

Her sons and daughters rally
In thoughts of Deerfield days,
When in Pocumtuck Valley,
We sing their songs of praise,
Deerfield, Deerfield, Deerfield, Hail!
New laurels we’ll bring to thee,
Won on life’s field;
Honor and victory, to thee we will ever yield.
Let’s pledge loyal hearts again;
Come now with all your might,
And sing to the glory of the Green and the White.
And once again our voices
We lift to praise her fame.
Each loyal heart rejoices
In glory of her name.
Deerfield, Deerfield, Deerfield, Hail!

The Deerfield Cheering Song

Words by Philip E. Charron, Jr.
Music by J. Clement Schuler

Deerfield! Go onward marching,
Loyal though win or lose,
And though the odds may be great
We’ll fight for vict’ry
Vict’ry for you we choose.
Fight down the fields of green, now!
(Our foes) shall vanquished be.
For we will back you to stand
With the best in the land
Old Deerfield! We’re cheering for thee.