When most high-schoolers hear the word “cheerleader,” they think of pom-poms and skirts. Here at Deerfield, we have a very different picture. We know our cheerleaders, with their iconic white and green sweaters and personalized megaphones.
There is no definitive beginning of the Deerfield Cheerleaders, but they are present in Pocumtuck yearbooks and Scroll articles going back into the early 1920s. Although there are differences between those cheerleaders and the ones we know today, some things have not changed at all. In a Pocumtuck yearbook from 1933, eight Deerfield boys, who held the title of Cheerleader at the time, sport the same white sweaters emblazoned with the same green “D” that cheerleaders wear today.
Students have been coming together to share their passion for Deerfield sporting events since Mr. Boyden’s time as Headmaster. Even these early students bled green, bolstering school spirit and supporting their school. The Deerfield Cheerleading tradition emerged from this passion and spirit.
Math Teacher Sean Keller ’86 talked about his own memories of the Cheerleaders during his time at Deerfield. During his four years, they had two school meetings a week, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday.
“The Tuesday meeting was more nuts and bolts, like announcements and other short things,” he said, “and then oftentimes a portion of the Thursday school meeting was the Cheerleaders getting people riled up for the weekend.” During the 1980s, as the school was all male, so were the cheerleaders, but that all changed in 1989 when the first girls were accepted to the school.
Just as the Cheerleaders were previously all male, the style of Cheerleading was also markedly different. To this point, Mr. Keller spoke about a tradition during his Deerfield days that hasn’t continued.
Mr. Keller laughed and said, “It was probably the very definition of hazing.”
When Deerfield played Lawrenceville in football, the schools would house the opposing teams on the Friday night before games. Deerfield would clear Scaife of students and house the Lawrenceville team there.
Mr. Keller related, “The Cheerleaders would organize a fairly robust pep-rally type thing where the Cheerleaders and much of the school would surround Scaife dormitory and do chants.”
Although traditions like these are not the same as our traditions today, the Cheerleaders are still a group of the most spirited Deerfield upperclassmen, raising school spirit around campus.
Jada Howard ’19, Head Girl Cheerleader, said that her favorite thing about being a Cheerleader is “the responsibility we have for representing the love we have for the place that raises us.”
The Cheerleaders have almost a century-long history of representing Deerfield spirit. This spirit is continued to this day as we congratulate the six juniors and eight seniors who joined the ranks of the Cheerleaders at the pep rally on Friday night: Caroline Carpenter ’19, Bayard DeMallie ’19, Erin DeMarco ’19, Teddy Durfee ’19, Trumayne Guy ’19, Sharon Kereke ’19, Henry Lowe ’19, Austin Philie ’19, Emma Reavis ’19, Sim Bethel ’20, Hanna Deringer ’20, Annie Kane ’20, Grace Knight ’20, Alton Machen ’20, and Aidan Philie ’20. These fourteen new members are the future of cheerleading at Deerfield, and Howard has one message to them: “Buckle up, because we have a great year ahead.”