Last year, Ethics Teacher Mr. Grimm came to Deerfield as a Penn Teaching fellow and recent graduate of Harvard College. He currently teaches the course ‘Ethics’ to underclassmen and ‘Religion and American Politics’ to seniors. Mr. Grimm lives on Barton III with his beloved little dog, Rudy, a miniature Italian Greyhound, who he describes as “my little project.”
“He’s the most timid, faun-like creature in the world; he’s just like interacting with a little forest sprite sometimes,” he said.
Mr. Grimm makes his classes interactive and relevant to modern times. He said, “It’s too easy to study stuff and think that it has nothing to do with the present.”
Hunter Keller ’20, a student in Mr. Grimm’s senior class, said, “I have class first period with him and I always am excited for it. I can always expect to be engaged… he makes it super fun, he just knows how to present the material so that it becomes really fascinating.”
Recently, his students recreated the trial of Anne Hutchinson in the brick church just behind the Kendall building and made Instagram accounts for preachers who were trying to win over congregants during the First Great Awakening.
In another example, the class discussed the use of the word ‘witch hunt’ by President Donald Trump and Justice Kavanagh after reading The Crucible – something “obviously very controversial but very contemporary.”
Mr. Grimm’s self-proclaimed goal with these assignments is to “bring historical events into context with modern stuff.”
Once the class day ends, Mr. Grimm is an active member of the theater department. This term, he is helping put together the fall production of Antigone. Coincidentally, before coming to Deerfield, Mr. Grimm was in a production of Antigone himself at Harvard.
“Not only was it the weirdest production I’ve ever been in, but the Deerfield Classics Club at the time took a field trip to go see it.”
Mr. Grimm was very impressed with Deerfield’s rendition of Antigone, which ran from October 29 to November 2nd.
He describes Antigone as “a time-honored classic,” but adds that this version is a “different setting of it, in a sort of time out of time, like futuristic dystopia but with the glamour and the sheen of the 1930’s.”
On top of helping put together the production, Mr. Grimm has been working with Valentina Saldarriaga ’20 to create the sound board which he describes as a kind of death techno, but with no melody.
Kate Landino ’20 described him as “kind of an unofficial assistant director” who “brings in the flare and makes it fun and adds new flavors to scenes that nobody would think of except for Mr. Grimm. He’s just that innovative and creative when it comes to directing.”
Landino continued, “Some days you walk in and he’ll be in heels teaching the girls how to walk in their heels. He’s across the room making them do squat jumps in heels so that they can walk for the show. Other times he’ll be running with actors through the Hess to get them motivated for the next scene.” It is this distinct energy that makes Mr. Grimm truly exceptional.
During college, Mr. Grimm spent quite a bit of time as a freelance photographer. Through this job, he got the opportunity to meet Jeb Bush, Toni Morrison, and Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s little sister.
At Deerfield, Mr. Grimm has been steadfast in continuing to develop his photography skills by photographing numerous theater productions and running the Experimentory’s Instagram account.
Aside from taking photos, he also enjoys knitting and crocheting in his free time, baking cakes, or just hanging out with his dog, Rudy.
Mr. Grimm is also a part of the Inclusion Committee, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and Opening Days Committee.
The common theme between these posts is acceptance and inclusion. Landino said, “Previously there wasn’t really someone like Mr. Grimm at Deerfield, someone so open and proud to be just purely himself.”
Landino was happy “just to see him on stage at school meeting in drag, coming in on Halloween into school meeting in drag, or performing in all these different characters.”
She added that, just by being himself, Mr. Grimm effectively sends “a message to the community that it’s okay to be to you.”
Mr. Grimm does have one more message to share with the community, one that may not be as deep as the one Landino describes.
Mr. Grimm shared, “I firmly believe that vegan brownies should not be warmed up. As one of the campus vegans, I think that they should absolutely be eaten room temperature, at most, and preferably cold.”
He went on to describe the proper temperatures for different baked goods: “Cookies should be warm, cakes cold, brownies cold, shortbread room-temperature, and croissants room temperature.”