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Re: "Seniority as More Than a Hierarchy” September 9, 2011
sean barnett 11 contributing writer
October 12, 2011

The negative responses “Seniority as More Than a Hierarchy” received from the class of 2011, amongst those of other extended community members, are due to the gross generalizing of the past senior class as well as a general tone of condescension in the end of the article. Accusing the class “collectively” of having a few lapses of good judgment neglects the involvement of other classes in drinking incidents over Long Fall Weekend in New York City and during the French trip to Quebec. The selection and emphasis of the class of 2011’s involvement in these cases is merely to make a point to the administration that the class of 2012 is opting to be better and therefore shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of the newest alumni’s choices.

I can sympathize with the editorial board’s opinion and I understand from where they make their case. Last year the administration made unprecedented decisions that many felt were too intrusive and out of the jurisdiction of the deans. However, regardless of either side’s opinion, to belittle the “individual accomplishments” of the class of 2011 by juxtaposing them with what is perceived as their greatest downfall is uncalled for. Comments of “sorry for partying”and hash-tagged tweets of “#sorryimnotsorry” from members of the class of 2011 are equally uncalled for but do lend a bit of insight into the class’s mentality.

The class of 2011 is proud of their achievements made on and off campus in their years at Deerfield. We made mistakes and bonded over them on our way. I never saw as many happy faces as the ones outside of Mr. Emerson’s office to admit to drinking over Long Fall, a time of high pressure with college applications. Seniors were apprehensive about their impending punishment, but were also proud of being utterly honest and amongst their friends and classmates offering and getting support. I personally cherish my attendance at the senior party in Elmore, Vermont. The memories I made there will stick with me more than many made in class, rehearsals, and meetings while at Deerfield.

I’m not advocating for the drinking culture that exists in prep schools and public high schools alike, but it is important to think about what students are going to actually learn when chastised for their actions. Make the punishment severe enough and students will be even more dangerous and sneaky about drinking. Regardless of where it occurs, drinking more in shorter periods of time results in situations far more life- threatening than situations alluded to in this editorial.

Individually, we all grow from mistakes we make in our lives. However, we cannot always grow from the mistakes of others. To the class of 2011: we had great times. I can confidently say that “collectively” our class has no regrets.

To the classes still at Deerfield: I encourage you to ask yourselves this: Are you making decisions that you feel are right, or are you making decisions with the intent of aligning your experience with what the administration has set forth as a proper Deerfield experience?

I’m confident that no matter your answer, if you stand up for your decisions and actions, you will leave Deerfield with fond memories of both the good and the bad.