As we prepared to walk down Albany Road one last time this Sunday, we cannot help but think how fast our time at Deerfield went by. When we started this journey more than a decade ago, we had great optimism, yet little idea where this would ultimately lead.
Every parent wants the best for their children: a world class education, a strong set of core values, healthy relationships, adults who role model positive behaviors, teachers who have a passion for motivating young minds, and a school culture of curiosity, kindness and inclusion. When my husband and I, along with our eldest daughter, stepped on campus 11 years ago, little did we know what the Deerfield community would come to mean to our family. As products of public school education, my husband and I never thought about sending our children to an independent school, let alone boarding school. Yet our daughter immediately fell in love with the Deerfield campus and knew this was the school for her. At the time, we knew Deerfield Academy was one of the most selective of schools and we certainly needed a backup plan in the event things didn’t work out. Fortunately for us all, she was admitted and our other two children followed, each attending Deerfield as the “fit” happened to be a good for all the right reasons.
While we are grateful for our time at Deerfield and remain overwhelmingly positive, there have been the bumps in the road and a few teachable moments along the way. But even these disappointments have been character building and helped our children learn resiliency. As adults know, life is full of moments when you must work hard to look at the glass half full instead of half empty. Our children have had a chance to learn that attitude and perspective are essential tools to overcome life’s challenges.
As our youngest child graduates this year, I feel sad to move on from this wonderful community and the traditions which have shaped this institution since 1797. My children all say their boarding school experience at DA will forever bind them to their friends and the institution. When asked by others where my children have gone to school and when I say “Deerfield”, the response is universal: “kids seem to love Deerfield and the lifelong friends they make there.” That says it all. Where else do high school students get excited about a dodgeball tournament, a game of GOTCHA, sprinkle cookies, the cereal selection available daily, dressing up for the disco dance, or a hike to the rock? These traditions and many more are central to the Deerfield experience.
We get very little training on parenting as it is basically learn as you go. As I often say, I will be really good at parenting by the time it doesn’t matter anymore. One decision we will never regret is choosing to bring our children to Deerfield and becoming part of this community. Together, we have helped our children make the most of their high school journey down Albany Road on their way to adulthood.
Thank you, Deerfield, for what you have given our children and family; all of us will be forever grateful.
Karen & John Wood
Elizabeth ‘10, Caroline ’13, Jack ‘17