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The River

Many students’ fondest Deerfield memories are of warm Sunday afternoons spent lounging with friends on the Lower Level by the banks of the Deerfield River. The Deerfield River is the defining western boundary of the Academy’s campus. Two favorite traditions, Senior Skip Day and Spring Day, both unfold directly next to the river, but it is often the case that teams finishing practice simply run to the riverbank for a quick dip.

Whether it’s tossing a Frisbee or swinging from a rope swing, the spring term shows constant activity by the river, which takes students’ minds off AP exams and provides them with a much needed respite from the usual intensity and rigor of Deerfield’s academics. On Sunday evenings, students change back into their class dress for sit-down dinner, reluctantly leaving the river behind and returning to the work and structure of the academic week.

Every spring, well before the water’s temperature is warm enough for swimming, the river floods the entire Lower Level, sometimes covering the playing fields in feet-deep water. Perhaps no other process is as fundamental a reminder of Deerfield’s important connection to the natural world.

Occasionally—but never on a glorious, spring “river day”—faculty allow students to conduct educational activities along the riverbank; Deerfield’s Global H2O class, environmental science, forensics, and AP Biology are among the classes that frequent the spot.