Though all students receive the application for an athletic exemption every term, very few pursue the opportunity. This year, however, many students created unique alternatives to the normal co-curriculars or arts exemptions.
Clare Malfitano ’11 works with Head Baker Steve Parsons and the rest of the baking staff to make desserts, rolls, and anything else necessary for the meals in the week.
“Baking was something that I missed here at DA. At home, I would relieve stress by making cakes and other desserts for family and friends, and I just didn’t know I could pursue this at school,” Malfitano said.
Each day, Malfitano takes charge of one or two aspects of the menu for an upcoming meal.
“Yesterday, I piped all of the whipped cream on the [chocolate cream] pies. It took over an hour and a half, but I was happy to help in whatever way I could,” said Malfitano.
She is determined to own and run a bakery as an adult, so this exemption gives her valuable experience in her field.
“Baking for hundreds of people is completely different from making a single item for a friend. This co-curricular allows me to simulate my bakery,” said Malfitano.
Through hands-on work with the baking staff, Malfitano has come to appreciate everything the dining hall staff makes for the students.
“Until this co-curricular, I did not even know where the bakery was. Everything at DA is made from scratch, including all of the breads, pastries, and cakes. Sometimes we take our staff for granted, and they do so much for this school,” said Malfitano.
While Malfitano works in the dining hall, Kayla Erf ’11 uses her athletic exemption to pursue alternate exercise off-campus.
Erf trains with the level 7/8 Greenfield YMCA gymnastics team for two-and-a-half hours, four days a week. Each day, she does a mixture of conditioning, running, and flexibility work along with practicing her gymnastics technique.
“We run every Monday and Wednesday before we get on the equipment, and we have team-conditioning sessions every day at the end of the practice,” Erf explained.
The Greenfield YMCA team is new for Erf, but she knew many of her teammates from Dunkley’s, an eight-week gymnastics camp located on Lake Champlain in Vermont.
“I had my first gymnastics meet when I was six, and have been competing ever since. But, I quit when I came to Deerfield. I first tried to get this exemption in my freshman spring, but between study halls and sit-down dinners, there was no feasible way for it to work,” said Erf.
Though Erf is not competing this year, she will support her new team and she hopes to apply for meets in the fall.
For students looking to take advantage of an exemption, Erf suggests that “As long as you know exactly what you would like to do and if you can get everything you may need for your exemption to work, the committee will understand. Work hard for what you want, and you can pursue an activity about which you are passionate.”