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PGs : Worthy of Our Heritage?

Click here to read the letter from the editor regarding publication of this piece.

The incoming classes of freshmen, sophomores and juniors bring a mix of students that will contribute to Deerfield academically, socially, artistically and athletically, among many other ways. These incoming students will take advantage of everything Deerfield has to offer, ranging from demanding classes to top-notch art and athletic facilities.

Through these opportunities, every student will excel at something, be it in the classroom, on the sports field or on any other stage that Deerfield provides. So why does admissions for postgraduates only revolve around bringing in the best athletes, instead of bringing in the best candidates from a variety of fields? Rather than looking for athletes who can fill vacant spots on athletic teams, Deerfield should look for students who will make the most of their limited, one-year experience at Deerfield.

Clearly there is value to the current system of bringing in PGs who are predominantly athletes. However, it seems like the Deerfield community would benefit from a more diverse extension of the senior class. Simply put, the PGs lack the well- roundedness that the rest of the student body seem to possess. In order to truly apply Deerfield standards to all incoming students, a more diverse group of PG students should be chosen to help eradicate social barriers, reinforce the set of values that Deerfield is built on, and ensure that the individuals of this small group gain the most that any one can gain during just one year at DA.

Sports teams play a large role in defining social groups at Deerfield. Lacrosse players typically spend time with lacrosse players, football players hang out with football players, etc. This seems natural, considering that being on the same team builds camaraderie. However, when the majority of the incoming PGs play for the same team, they immediately seek company in teammates rather than branching out. Though in some cases PGs’ social isolation is externally imposed, in more cases these new students socially isolate themselves by clinging to their teammates. They are choosing the easier, in some ways more cowardly, route because, in many ways, their teammates are obligated to accept them.

Would it be such a bad thing to have a postgraduate whose focus is simply on having a year to mature, on spending a year on his or her own surrounded by a supportive community before heading off to college? Looking at the current composition of the PG class, I see a group of kids whose desire to grow socially and academically is eclipsed by the attractions of DA’s athletic opportunities.

I’m not trying to condemn my fellow postgrads; I am simply suggesting the benefits that might be offered by a better- rounded group of incoming PGs. Yes, when I look at the PGs around me, I see a group of students that has been embraced by fellow students despite having been thrown into a tight-knit community. Imagine how much more of a tight-knit community we could be, however, if the PG class mirrored the diversity and well-roundedness of the incoming students in every other class.

2 Comments on PGs : Worthy of Our Heritage?

  1. Charles Bueneman // April 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm //

    To Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

    As an Alumnus and a former PG, who has always reflected on his Deerfield days with pride, I am deeply hurt by the wild accusations made in this article. For one, I don’t see any statistical data to support the sweeping generalizations made by the author of this piece, who has boldly chosen to remain anonymous. Speaking from personal experience I benefited a great deal from my time at Deerfield and I think the community as a whole did as well. To say that PGs only socialize with other PGs or members of their sports teams is an absurd and almost negligent claim with no empirical evidence to support it. At DA I cultivated relationships with individuals from all walks of life that transcended the the classical social barriers of gender, race, and social class. Your attempt to confine PG students to the stereotype of “the typical high school jock” is disgusting. What’s more, your claim that PG students are an homogenous group because many of them happen to be student athletes is equally concerning. The Deerfield admission staff prides itself on selecting candidates with a wide range of skills and interests. Members of my PG class were involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities that extended beyond the athletic field and the classroom. Overall, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous PG, your piece reflects your misunderstanding of a group that you have classified as a homogenous other. My only hope is that you recognize that your fellow PGs, both past and present, are a set of complex individuals whose backgrounds are worthy of a less narrow minded and ignorant level of analysis.


    Charles J. Bueneman ’10

  2. john coutrey // April 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm //


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