“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Change never seems to come at a great time. But we cannot continue to tell ourselves that in five years, Deerfield might become a better place and not do anything to make that better place a reality. If we do nothing, we will never see progress. If we keep telling ourselves, “Wait, we are not ready for change,” then change will be pushed back year after year and “soon” will turn into “never.” Instead, we need to be catalysts for change, here and now.
Captain Deerfield has been a position historically dominated by white males, typically of a high socioeconomic class, since its creation in 1995. But Deerfield has changed a lot since 1995. And Captain Deerfield can change, too. Captain Deerfield does not have to be a wealthy white male, and saying that we are not ready for progress is no excuse to prevent a person of color or a woman from becoming Captain Deerfield next year.
Being worthy of our heritage does not mean that we must remain rigid in tradition, if a tradition is no longer applicable to the school and the world around us. Rather, being worthy means continuing to uphold Deerfield’s ideals. Respect. Honesty. Concern for others. Captain Deerfield is a symbol of these ideals and a symbol of pride in our school, and therefore he or she needs to be a person who embodies these ideals. This is not necessarily a white male. Being a person of color or a woman does not make you inherently less able to uphold these ideals.
Charlie Carpenter ’16, the cheerleaders, and the Class of 2016 deserve a lot of credit for making progress already. For the first time in the history of Captain Deerfield, a survey was sent out to the entire school about who should be the next Captain Deerfield. Girls have been welcomed into the top row of the bleachers at hockey games. The cheerleaders have shown support for the arts throughout the year. The Class of 2016 has done an incredible job striving to “Bring It Back.” But we can continue to do more.
We can and must move away from the “tradition” of choosing someone to represent our school based on superficial characteristics like race, gender, and socioeconomic class. Instead, let’s choose someone who truly shows pride in Deerfield, and someone in whom Deerfield can take pride. We need to have faith that our school is ready for progress, and begin to create the change we want to see.