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DA grads told to ‘Look over the horizon’


DEERFIELD — Don’t let nostalgia hold you back, but move forward into the dimly lit future.

The advice were the words of two Deerfield Academy students — Emma Frances Witherington and Adam Edward Philie — as they accepted their diplomas from the independent, co-educational boarding school they have called home for four years.

On Sunday, the two senior speakers joined 204 Deerfield Academy students to graduate in the school’s 214th year amongst peers, parents and teachers and members of the Kennedy family as noted by Headmaster Margarita O’Byrne Curtis. Liam Kennedy was one of the graduating seniors.

In the center of Old Deerfield, a village shrouded in the past’s historical landmarks and lined by Colonial homes, the Deerfield Academy students became part of the future.

As they received their diplomas, they would leave the hallways and the classrooms that have become home over the past four years. But as many school leaders professed, they would carry with them the lessons the school instilled in them — character, integrity, service and respect. And remember the connections they forged with fellow classmates while eating breakfast in the dining hall, floating down the banks of the Deerfield River or cramming for final exams.

As she spoke to the hundreds of faces before her, Witherington remembered her first day at breakfast anticipating the workload she’d receive, her late-week soccer practice and the next four years of her high school life. Deerfield Academy had become her home, a place that would be forever instilled in her heart and a place where she forged lasting friendships.

“It’s our last day here as students, but not our last time here together. Though we leave the place behind, we’ll always share this enduring connection to the place we all started,” Witherington said.

In his graduation address, Rory J. Cowan, a Deerfield alum of 1971 and chairman of Lionbridge Technologies, a global online marketing and content management company, told students to look over the horizon.

Beyond the graduating seniors, the day was also marked by a couple who dedicated decades to the school — Jay and Mimi Morsman who received the Deerfield Medal, the house honor established in 1962 to honor those who provided distinguished service to the school. Aside from the well-known former headmaster and his wife, Frank and Helen Boyden, no other couple has served as long as the Morsmans — a combined tenure of 70 years. Jay Morsman served as the director of dining hall and sports information director until his retirement this year. Mimi Morsman is the academy’s director of alumni relations.

Morsman, an alumnus, returned to the school in 1960 to coach tennis. Under his direction in the soccer, hockey and tennis programs, Morsman has coached students to more than 1,000 wins and one national title, a pair of New England Championships, and four Kingswood-Oxford Tournament crowns in tennis.

Local day students who graduated:

Nolan Bishop of Deerfield, Brandon Coulombe of Amherst, John Deskavich of South Deerfield, Clara Galperin of Deerfield, Sungmin Hong of Hadley, Anna Klink of Deerfield, Hannah Latham of Deerfield, Christopher Lin of Longmeadow, Meaghan McKelvey of Conway, Ethan Peterson-New of Greenfield, Anna Pettee of Guilford, Charlotte Posever of Amherst, Thomas Shuman of Amherst, Sofia Taylor of Deerfield, Taran Weeks of Greenfield and Benjamin Wood of Greenfield.

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