Six years ago, the Alumni Relations Office pitched the idea of a Deerfield “Day of Service” to the Board of Trustees as a way to promote service at Deerfield to graduates of the Academy. Today, the Day of Service is an annual event which rallies alumni to get involved in Deerfield-coordinated service projects in their area. To continue this legacy of service, on April 7, 2018, Deerfield will host five different projects across the United States for alumni to attend.
This year, the Alumni Relations Office is also introducing a new initiative, partnering with both the Riverside Park Conservatory and the Ocean Conservatory in New York to create an event that will accommodate up to 300 Deerfield alumni and now, current students as well. Volunteers will spend the afternoon helping to clean up New York’s coastline.
In organizing the project, the Alumni Relations Office is “striving to create an event of excellence,” according to Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Ray Walker ’92. Ultimately, his goal is “to make the energy of wanting to help people contagious,” he explained.
Additionally, including the addition of current students could attract more alumni wanting to connect with the younger generations of Deerfield. The event would also allow for those current students to network and build valuable relationships with alumni, while hearing past graduates talk about their Deerfield years and experiences.
At the core, champions of the project expressed that Deerfield’s Day of Service is about constantly striving to be worthy. According to Dean of Spiritual and Ethical Life Jan Flaska, “Life is showing up. … Your presence is motivation; it gives hope and shows camaraderie to others.” He continued, stating, “As soon as we acknowledge our good fortune and privilege here, we will move toward a place of wanting to show up and take initiative to make a change… the impact of our collective community would be an example of many generations of Deerfield students and alumni choosing to embrace those two simple words: be worthy.”
Perhaps former Headmaster Frank Boyden himself said it best: “The test of worth of any school is the record of service of her alumni.” Many years after Mr. Boyden’s time, on April 7 together in New York, alums will continue to contribute to Deerfield’s worth, striving to embrace the spirit of the academy and its mission to serve others.