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Via Domus: The Way Home

A couple of years ago, I heard a senior meditation about how a student had spent his whole life at Deerfield yet could not call it his “home.” I was a new sophomore when I heard this speech at school meeting, and I didn’t really think hard about it until this summer.

A year ago my father was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, and this summer he passed away. This event has acted as a magnifying glass for seeing the good in people, and I am struck by how people have risen to the occasion to help me.

Last year I wrote an article about the jv football team. I wrote about how I had felt comfortable telling the whole team that my dad had been diagnosed with cancer only a few days after we got the news. It was a unique team, and they rallied in my support as brothers.

People I know well and not as well here have been compassionate and willing to help me. Friendships have flourished during the past year, with acquaintances becoming friends and friends becoming close friends.

Perhaps most important has been how teachers have interacted with me. My advisor made a two-hour drive twice to see me this summer, once when my father’s health took a bad turn and then two weeks later for the memorial service. I never asked him to do this. He offered.

Many of my teachers have opened up to me and shared their deeply personal experiences, some similar to mine. My relationships with many of them have grown into strong friendships. They have supported me and have not treated me differently just because of what was happening in my life.

For me, Deerfield has been a home when I needed it, and I find it hard to think that others couldn’t call it home as well.

Sure, just like everything, it has imperfections and problems, but overall it changed me and has given me a positive perspective on life when I could have easily assumed a negative one.