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To Be or Not to Be Worthy of Your Heritage

deerfield_sealThe start of a new school year is the perfect time to consider our school motto, to remember the values it implies so we can begin another year well.
I came from a school whose motto was “Study, Play, Character,” and I was at first confused by Deerfield’s motto, “Be Worthy of Your Heritage,” because it did not directly state our values. Other schools such as Choate, Taft, and Hotchkiss have as their mottoes “Fidelity and Integrity,” “Not to be served but to serve,” and “After instruction, let us move on to pursue higher things,” respectively. Where was our sense of integrity, service, or ambition?
I also questioned the emphasis on heritage. Should we be worthy for our heritage… or for ourselves? By emphasizing tradition, is our community holding on to things that should be left behind, such as Deerfield’s days as a boys’ school?

However, after a year at Deerfield, I have learned what it means to be worthy of our heritage. Our heritage is one of community, school spirit, academic excellence, honesty, diversity, and service. Although our motto does not state these values, our community encapsulates them as we live each day in the Pocumtuck Valley.

And while these values are constant, our heritage evolves each year as new students bring fresh perspectives. Because everyone has a unique heritage, our school motto means something different to everyone.
So be worthy of your heritage, whatever it is, and remember, too, the heritage of values all Deerfield stands for.