Beginnings and Endings

A band called Semisonic wrote the song “Closing Time” a number of years ago with the memorable lyrics, “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” How poignant for us parents of seniors who graduated last May or parents of new students just starting at Deerfield.

Beginnings–Very shortly parents of new students will drop off their child for the beginning of his or her Deerfield experience.  Expect the full range of emotions from both you and your child.  When my wife, Julie, and I delivered two sons and two daughters to their first dorms, each occasion was different.  Our first daughter wasn’t sure she wanted to go to boarding school and was anxious. We all shed a few tears when it was time to say good bye.  The transition for both our second and third children was seamless, as we all knew what to expect.  Our fourth child was ready in June because he didn’t want to be the only child left at home.  No matter where you or your child falls in the range of emotions, try not to worry too much about your new student.  Very few suffer from starvation, shortage of clean clothes or lack of fresh air.  Most are incredibly happy within the first two weeks. And remember, the transition is usually harder for parents than their child.

The Academy is ready for the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.  A rejuvenated faculty will be eager to start classes and the Hess Center for the Arts will re-open after a fifteen-month renovation project. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend Parents Weekend (October 17-19th) to tour this beautiful facility, meet your child’s teachers and browse through Deerfield’s own Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

This fall marks the fourth year of the creation of the Deerfield Parents Network (DPN), whose mission is to enhance the Deerfield experience for students and their families. The twenty-five members of the DPN Steering Committee help lead a number of initiatives such as the First Link program.  I hope new parents have had several conversations with their current parent “links.”  Please please take a look around, here on the Deerfield Parents Network site, for more details on our activities and informative articles.

Endings–Every Deerfield student’s on-campus experience culminates on  Commencement Weekend. We attended our third child’s graduation on a beautiful morning last May.  The Academy does a superb job of making this weekend truly memorable.  The Sunday ceremony begins when seniors process through two lines of underclassmen and faculty on Albany Road and ends when seniors gather for photos in front of the iconic John Williams front door.  New this year was a Friday night Graduation Dinner hosted by the DPN and held off campus at a local restaurant.  Over 400 parents and seniors attended.  The idea of the event was to eliminate the logistical difficulties of parents holding small dinner parties and organize a grade-wide event so that the entire senior class could gather under one roof.  A huge thank you to Penny Ashford and her army of volunteer parents for a successful evening.  A number of parents of rising seniors have already volunteered to organize for next year in what we hope will be an annual event.

The Class of 2014 and their parents are about to embark on their college careers.  We wish them all the very best.  While their on-campus Deerfield experience has ended, we hope they will continue a life-long association with Deerfield.  For new parents your association is just beginning.  The DPN is an organization by parents for parents.  Please contact me ( or one of our DPN Steering Committee VP’s to get involved. We welcome the assistance.  Good luck to all in the new school year!