Due to the COVID -19 outbreak, students and faculty have had to come up with alternatives to Deerfield’s old birthday traditions – singing during sit-down lunches, dorm hall celebrations, and more. Recently, the news of schools and public facilities closing has left many people disappointed. But thanks to the efforts of family and friends, people are not singing happy birthday alone.
Although this spring term has been quite different, many students have found other ways to celebrate their birthdays. Gabriella Hu ’21, who just celebrated her birthday on the 24th of April, said that despite all the restrictions, she was able to “make the best” of the situation “by trying to do everything as close to usual as possible.” Instead of the normal Deerfield birthday parties thrown by friends and teachers, “some friends set up a Zoom birthday party” for her seventeenth birthday. She also seemed to enjoy activities that she did not have the chance to do in past years while at Deerfield, such as baking delicious desserts and making her favorite Chinese dish with her family.
In New York, Maddalena Honablue ’23 also celebrated her birthday this past month. Honablue said that there were a lot of hardships in her area since the city “was a few days into being placed under lockdown.” Her usual birthday routine included “a dinner trip to a nice restaurant and meeting up with friends in Manhattan”, but this year for her sweet 15, she could only manage to order food and cakes and enjoy a night of movies. But she was happy to be able to go over to her neighbor’s house and celebrate together in lieu of a day in the hub of New York.
In the midst of all the fear and haziness around COVID-19, the Deerfield community seems to come up with various alternatives to traditional birthday celebrations. Although it was devastating to miss out on having a birthday in the sunny campus of Deerfield, students have still kept their spirits high with the essentials: time with their loved ones, a sweet cake, and blowing out their candles.