During their spring break, Derryfield students, faculty, and staff traveled to Colorado and North Carolina to participate in two community service initiatives. These trips were a reinstatement of an annual Derryfield tradition, a pattern that was broken by Covid in 2020 and 2021, but joyfully resumed this March. True to their motto, Derryfield students aspire to “lead lives of passion and purpose.”
Led by CFO Scott McPherson and math teacher Kelsey Leblanc, 17 students, spent six days in Utah and Colorado, based out of the Deer Hill wilderness camp. After acquiring advanced outdoor skills while hiking and camping for four days in arid canyon lands, the group spent three days staying on a homestead in the Navajo Nation. There, the students cleared and weeded family gardens in preparation for spring planting, and also helped to repair fencing and dismantle an old farm building.
Alyssa Shula ‘23 summarized her trip experience, "While on the Navajo reservation I enjoyed sitting around together and being spoken to by Woody (Woody and Lavina were our host family)...the entire experience was eye-opening into the day-to-day lives of Navajo people."
A second group of 23 students, accompanied by Director of Philanthropy & Engagement, Anna Moskov, visual arts teacher Joe Acone, and English teacher Angela Romilla, spent five days in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County. The Derryfield team worked on construction projects in two different neighborhoods, utilizing newly learned skills such as how to install siding and flooring, and frame walls.
A universal theme was the significance of coming together as a group to lend a hand in a community. Mary Hodgkins ‘23 reported, "Habitat was an unforgettable experience because as we laid flooring or put up siding, we were making a tangible difference in someone’s life. It was great knowing we were helping to build a home for a family in need!"
Anna Moskov, in a follow-up letter to parents, gave her perspective of the students:
They had such deep gratitude for this experience, something that they had been looking forward to for years and were not sure they would get to experience because of Covid. I did get a little teary-eyed as they spoke - so many of their high school experiences have been impacted by Covid, and it felt really special to be here with them on this trip, and share their joy of being together.
The spring break trips reinforced for the participants a founding principle of The Derryfield School, "Academic achievement without concern and compassion for others is meaningless.”