Wednesday, December 4, marked the annual Fall Co-curricular Award Ceremony at School Meeting. Mr. Davis, the Academy’s Athletic Director, and Head of School Dr. Curtis made their way to the front of the West Gym to address the school. After a brief introduction, Mr. Davis began reading the names of the award winners.
There were a few awkward seconds after the first name was read during which no one stood up. Uncomfortable laughter escaped from the bleachers to mask the awkwardness. As the second, third and fourth recipients were also discovered to be absent, Dr. Curtis’s facial expressions slowly morphed from those of amusement to embarrassment as the number of students skipping School Meeting became apparent.
For the past several months, student leaders have advocated the introduction of an honor system that would replace the current Accountability Point system. Many argue that students should attend sit-down meals, classes and meetings not to avoid punishment, but because they feel a sense of responsibility as members of the Deerfield community.
Others have complained that the administration treats us like children. But if we take into account our track record this fall, how can we expect the administration to grant us greater freedoms? If we aren’t attending Academy events when there are immediate consequences for such rule-breaking, why would we suddenly start attending as soon as they stop taking attendance? Perhaps we overestimate ourselves and our moral compasses; perhaps we wouldn’t.
We say we want more responsibility, to be treated like adults. But what is our behavior saying to the administration? Are we staying true to the ideals on which Deerfield was founded? Have we lost sight of the bigger picture?
We are here for such a short, blissful period in our lives. Let’s not waste these rare opportunities that bring 800 incredibly diverse people together for a mere 45 minutes.