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Letter From the Editor
Harry Niles '21 Editor-in-chief
November 22, 2020

Dear Reader,

Over the past few months, the Deerfield Scroll’s 95th board has combed through past publications to find articles to reprint for our election issue. Some articles were quite amusing, others worrisome. Some showed that Deerfield was striving to make progress, others showed how much work there is to be done. 

The times we spent delving into each issue were my highlights for this term. We would gaze in amusement at images of old Deerfield dances, analyze political polls that the Scroll conducted in the 80s, and read interviews that startled us with their lack of political correctness. It was then that I truly realized how important the Scroll will become. 

In the 2020 May issue, I wrote to you all about how our publication serves as a time capsule for future generations. In my letter, I mentioned murder hornets, the Australian wild fires, a global pandemic, and many more events that mark 2020 as an infamous year. I wrote about how students in 20, 30 years will look back to see how Deerfield students reacted to these global issues. 

But little did I know how much would change on our very own campus. Little did I realize that this year will be marked as a stark difference to the traditionality that has existed for the past 95 years. 

From a drastically revised schedule to a lack of sit down meals, Deerfield has had to drastically progress. We are making leaps and bounds compared to the change that has been reported on by students in the last 100 years. As a community, we have had to react to events that exist outside of the Deerfield Bubble.

If you had asked members of our community in the 1900s to rid the traditions they hold so dear for the greater good, I would be surprised to hear a compliance, a peaceful removal of said traditions. Deerfield, as an institution, has and continues to hold so tightly to our traditions, and this year, we had to give many of them up. 

Right on top of a pandemic causing our community to evolve, we witnessed one of our nation’s biggest elections. Communities around the world were split based on their opinions, and Deerfield was not exempt from this divide. Our campus began to learn what it means to delve into political discourse and disagree with one another. 

Not only these two events, but we are in the midst of a Civil Rights Movement. Deerfield has had to completely reconsider what it means to be a modern day institution, especially an institution with a history of racism, sexism, homophobia, and much more. For years, students have faced issues on our campus, and this year these testimonies were brought to light. 

With the growing prevalence of social media, Deerfield has had to redefine our current disciplinary process. As a community, we have had to create new boundaries for what is acceptable, maneuvering the definition of right and wrong as a group of teenagers.

Yes, 2020 has been a major year for so many different reasons, and that is why it is vital that the Scroll continues to produce high quality, prevalent stories for you all. 

It only feels fitting that the name of our publication is the Scroll, as that is what we are. The Scroll was created not to share our thoughts and views to those in our community, we all, for the most part, engage with these ideas on a daily basis, but it was founded and continues to exist for history. It continues to exist so that our writing, our words, or journalism will continue to tell a story long after our time at Deerfield has ended. We are shaping Deerfield’s story.

To all the historians out there, on our campus, who have ever questioned writing for the Scroll, I urge you to do so. Stop by our board room and look at the primary sources that exist to show you what Deerfield was once like. When campus buildings were first built. When dances, like Semi-formal, were first announced. When Deerfield championed the pool deck. 

In May, I told you all to write a daily journal entry, no matter how boring your day may have been. I remind you all of that possibility. But at the same time, our nation is questioning our past, and while you may be writing your present, question that past with the Scroll. The only way we can truly write about our present is if we first reflect upon our past. This was the Scroll’s goal for the fall term. To reflect upon our past, and have our community do the same. 

Over the break, question your very own ancestry. Find new ways to engage in America’s controversial past. Deerfield asks us to “Be Worthy of your Heritage.” Let’s each find out what that heritage truly is to ourselves and to Deerfield’s campus. 

Word hard, be kind, get smart,

Harry Niles