Deerfield is full of talented students, athletes, and artists, but why does it feel as if some talents are valued more than others? The community’s “sports culture” manifests itself through praise of athletic achievements, but how often do students with other talents receive the same praise? Non-athletic extracurricular activities—especially art-centric—are de-emphasized and sometimes stigmatized.
We have three sports awards school meetings per year, but there is no school meeting that formally acknowledges student artists. Most artwork hangs in the Hilson Gallery or the lower level of the Memorial Building, rarely a destination for many. Few students attend chamber music concerts, which are inconveniently held on weeknights.
Though sports are inevitably a big part of our culture, we can respect the fact that not everyone here has an interest in athletics. Deerfield should be a place where all talents are recognized and valued. Let’s increase musical and theatrical performances at school meeting, give annual arts awards, and showcase student art on bulletin boards in the Dining Hall or heck, even the Athletic Stockroom.