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A Letter from the President
Chijioke Achebe '21 Contributing Writer
October 2, 2020

Dear Deerfield Community,

I’m so grateful to be on campus with all of you. It truly is an honor to serve as your student body president this year.

I’m writing this letter in the middle of my three-day quarantine, which, in and of itself is a sign of our changing times. The world has faced crises before, and the Scroll has been there through it all, so I think it’s fitting that I work with them today to deliver this message. 

We are at a trying moment in time, with racial justice and the pandemic playing such large roles in our daily lives. It would be impossible for me to address either of these things in sufficient detail here, but you will hear much more from me at Convocation about how we can move forward, together. 

Those of you who are returning to Deerfield know how much we value our community and traditions here, and you must feel somewhat disconnected from those things. For our new students, it probably feels as though those traditions were never really here to begin with. It’s hard. I understand that. This year, you probably won’t get to experience the traditional sit-down meal, Choate Day, semi-formal, or the many other traditions that seemingly make up life at Deerfield. I love these traditions, I believe in them deeply, and it saddens me that this year, many of them will either be changed significantly or will not happen at all. 

That being said, I’ve come to realize that our traditions alone aren’t Deerfield. You are. Each of you makes Deerfield the place we know and love.

So what exactly is that? What are we about? 

We’re about saying hello to someone on the path, even if you don’t know who they are. We’re about saying thank you to the housekeeping and dining staff. We’re about jumping in the River after a long practice, about quesadillas with guacamole from the Greer. We’re about sending leaders into the world.

Now, this may sound intimidating, but rest assured, you don’t need a fancy title to be a leader. Leadership is about empathy, respect, and kindness — traits that brought you all to Deerfield. The newest ninth grader can be a leader on a team, in a class, or in the dorm. We’re about being there for each other. These are the traditions that don’t change — the traditions that bind us together — whether we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic or not. 

Your Student Council has always been and always will be here for you. In the coming weeks, you’ll hear much more from us about elections, projects, and other great new events in the works, but I wanted to share one thing I’m very excited about. This year, and hopefully in years to come, we’ll be rolling out an initiative where members of the Council attend a different alliance meeting each month. If there was ever a time where more understanding was needed, it’s right now. It’s my fervent hope that this leads to a deeper appreciation and a better understanding of your classmates’ perspectives and experiences. At a minimum, you deserve this from the people you elect to represent you. More than that though, it’s only fair that you see those representatives in the community, where people feel most comfortable, responding to your needs. I pledge to you that this Council will be the most accessible it has ever been. 

So I have something to ask of you. Hold us accountable. Demand more from us. You have placed your trust in us, and we will not let you down.

There are a lot of cosmetic changes this year, but on a basic level, Deerfield is still Deerfield. Those core values that I talked about still animate our campus. All you have to do is look around. You’ll see everyone donning a mask, distancing themselves, and wearing their tracers not just because it’s required, but because we care about each other. That’s the Deerfield I know.

The student handbook, which I’m sure you’ve read cover to cover, asks us to act with respect, honesty, and concern for others. Let’s let those words guide us not just here at Deerfield, but in everything we do. 


Chijioke Achebe

Student Body President