Over the past ten years since our 50th Reunion, Mike Grant , our Class Captain and gifted letter writer, has shared reflections and insights with us in his annual letters. Some excerpts from them are especially appropriate for us now as we anticipate with fondness and wonderment the upcoming camaraderie of our 60th Reunion in June:
“In June we will have graduated from Deerfield sixty years ago. How swiftly the time has passed. Our ranks are slimmer, but there is still quite a contingent of ‘55ers who are leading active and productive lives. Like me, a few of us are still working, and many more are involved in the not-for-profit world of philanthropy. For me, the memories of my four years in the Pocumtuck Valley remain vivid and exciting. So many new experiences and emotions were introduced during that short period. While reflecting is fun, we can update our relationship with the school by planning to be at our 60th Reunion in June.
Not one of the buildings I lived in remains, but the unique setting, and the mission that goes on within it really hasn’t materially changed. Technology and educational sophistication are state-of-the art, yet today’s students, like us, will mostly remember the traditional values that we learned around the table in the Dining Hall, in the dorm, or on the playing fields.
The Deerfield experience: Perhaps the most important element of this special alchemy is the intimate relationship fostered between the students and the faculty. We seek out and hold crucial those “triple threat” individuals who can be effective counselors in the classroom, live in the dormitories, and coach on the playing fields. .. It struck me again, as I walked around Deerfield a week ago, that though the school is really current in all respects, the essence of the place remains the same as when we were there, and the students are fortunate to be getting the same level of attention and hands-on supervision. For Mr. Boyden the goal was importantly spiritual as well as pragmatic success. Happily, I sensed that those revered principles are still woven into the fabric of the Deerfield Experience today. Mr. and Mrs. Boyden were such mentors for me. They exemplified the gritty strength and simplicity of the New England character, and added wit to wisdom. They told us stories that were pithy, amusing, and sometimes serous which have stuck in our minds for over fifty years. “Look up the to the hills … and “Be Mobile”… and Other fools have done this, and so can you”.
While our Fiftieth Reunion is indeed in the past, we are hardly finished with Deerfield. Judging from the energy and active interests displayed last June, there is plenty of juice left, and plenty of hills to climb. We might be older, crankier, more forgetful, arthritic, and hard to please, but the spirit Mr. Boyden instilled in us will never diminish.
Mr. and Mrs. Boyden officially stepped down from the faculty in 1968, but they never really retired. They’re up there still, encouraging young and old alike to be “worthy of their heritage.”
’55ers Mike Grant and Tom L’Esperance together at our 55th Reunion
Tom L’Esperance, Class Secretary