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Is There a Divide?
Deerfield Community
January 18, 2013

I feel like the term “dominant culture” doesn’t necessarily mean the people who embody it are more numerous than the people who don’t. I think it’s preexisting expectations and a lot of the traditions here.

-Garam Noh ’15


It’s much more than socioeconomic class that will affect relationships; it’s not like everyone is going in and saying they’re richer or poorer than me. I don’t think there’s as strong of a divide than what I’ve heard in the conversation here, but that might just be personal experience.

-Anna Lu ’13

I come from outside the boarding school culture, and I have many colleagues in ministry who express wonder that I’m teaching at a “rich school.” So the question of socioeconomic diversity is a live one for me. The reality, though, is complex, and a direct approach can appear judgmental and raise defenses. So I think you have to be subversive in how you address the issue. You just have to be prophetic and call it like you see it.

-Chad Smith, Dean of Spritual and Ethical Life


It’s very clear that the faculty have more opportunities based on their education and role here. It’s very segregated in that. But I’m learning more that you really can’t push the envelope in terms of expecting equal pay, equal anything, because you’re not entitled to the benefits the faculty have. We [the staff] talk about how it affects us as folks who want to be here, give our lives to be working at Deerfield.

-Susie Driver, Athletic Stockroom Assistant


I felt uncomfortable bringing a nice gift from my parents to school, because I would be judged. If I come with a really nice bag, will I be judged by my friends who don’t have that? I don’t want to make someone uncomfortable by having nice stuff in my room, but should I feel that way because my parents gave it to me?

-Sarah Sutphin’13


I don’t know where some of the kids come from. They’re probably richer than God, but they’re just down-to-earth kids. I feel like we’re all on the same level, whatever socioeconomic class we come from. Over the years, I’ve never met a kid I didn’t like.

-Bruce Dion, Custodian