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Familiar Faces Off to New Beginnings

As each Deerfield school year passes, new faces come and familiar ones go. An entire class of seniors rise up and graduate, leaving behind their legacy like empty rows of bleachers for the remaining classes to fill. The same goes for faculty members at Deerfield, who graduate and move away to start new chapters in their lives beyond the Pocumtuck Valley.

This year several members of the Deerfield community are leaving the school behind as they embark on the next leg of their life journeys. Director of Alumni Relations Mimi Morsman and Director of the Dining Hall Jay Morsman, Dean of Admission Patricia Gimbel, Senior Associate Director of Admissions Debra Dohrmann, College Advisor Wayne Berger, and Science Teacher Jonathan Chittuluru are Deerfield faculty members who have agreed to share some last words on the school and answer the all-important question of, “Why Deerfield”? Why did they come to Deerfield? Why did they love Deerfield? And perhaps most important of all, why they all hope that one day you shall grow to love it too?

Closing sentiments from Mrs. Morsman and Mr. Morsman:

Mrs. Morsman: “I’m going to miss the kids, ‘cause we love them.  I’ll miss everything, but it’s time to start the next chapter. We’re healthy and well, and we want to travel, and I want to do those things I’ve never had time to do.”

Mr. Morsman, the longest serving faculty member at DA besides Mr. Boyden, shared his love of DA too.  “I will miss the students. I am their friend. They are the best. All memories special!”

A few thoughts from Mrs. Patricia Gimbel (who is also Dean of Financial Aid):

“I will miss being a part of the amazing Deerfield community and my connection with students, faculty and staff.  My favorite memories have occurred every year; the tradition of introducing the new students in the Mem Building Lobby and then [four years later] watching them walk across the stage at their Commencement, remembering each student when they arrived to begin their DA career and knowing how each student has grown, having taken advantage of the myriad opportunities, both in and out of the classroom.”

Along with the Morsmans, Mrs. Gimbel was selected to become an honorary member of the Class of 2013 at the Senior Faculty Dinner this Spring. She will be retiring with her husband Paul, who sometimes served as table head during Admissions’ busy season.

Reflections from Mrs. Debra Dohrman (who is also Assistant Director of Multicultural Program):

“I am leaving Deerfield after a 50-year relationship with the Academy.  I will miss the place terribly-the students, faculty and the beautiful Pocumtuck Valley. My husband, Dick [a Deerfield academic advisor], and I are off to Rockport, ME where I will gaze out at the Penobscot Bay from my front porch and contemplate the universe for a bit. Then I will start a new career!  I am leaving a place I have called home for a long time but moving on to an exciting new chapter in my life.”

A thoughtful reminder from College Counselor Mr. Wayne Berger:

“I’ll be going to Sydney, Australia to coach the Sydney rowing club.  This is a unique opportunity for me to take.”  Mr. Berger wished to remind students, “You can really get caught up in college (from my experience in college admissions) to get in the ‘best school possible’, but look after yourself and take advantage of opportunities outside of your comfort zone because failure is valuable.”

Mr. Berger’s wife, DA Senior Capital Gifts Director Suzanne, and their daughter Anna ’16, will be remaining at Deerfield next year.

Dr. Jonathan Chittuluru echoed similar sentiments as he prepares to leave for San Diego, CA, where he will teach Science and Math and High Tech High School.  Dr. Chittuluru, on reflecting on his year at DA, said, “You don’t need to spend your high school or college life figuring out the ‘best places.’ This is the only time in your life to figure out what you enjoy without obstacles. You’ll do the best at the things you like.”

Deerfield Academy has built itself upon a strong tradition of connecting students to their heritage and values. It is important to remember that long before Deerfield was even a school, its grounds were walked upon by individuals making their own pathways through life. So  the next time the question of “Why Deerfield?” is asked, remember those who came before you, their stories, and ask yourself what will you miss most about Deerfield when your time to transition to a new chapter in life has come.

The Scroll regrets that we were unable to reach Library Director Lynne Robbins, Science Teacher Jen Marino and Associate Director of Admissions (and Director of Multicultural Program) Tarah Greenidge (and her husband, Fred Barnes, who assisted in testing and admissions). We will miss them and wish them well.

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