KnightLife: Humble Hearts

humbleWhile Spring Break may seem like a distant memory, the impact of the Deerfield-Windsor baseball team’s mission trip continues to influence our players, coaches, and
teachers:

Our goal at Deerfield-Windsor is to educate holistically. Traveling to the Dominican provided an opportunity to learn that when much is given, much is required. This trip, this work, the exposure and experience helped our students broaden perspective and see first hand the importance of embracing social responsibility.

Jonathan Davis, Varsity Baseball Coach

There’s no way that you could go on that trip and not be changed in some way. Our boys were exemplary young men who came back with humble hearts and a new appreciation for life’s little luxuries. They made me so proud!

Jessica Marshall, Upper School Spanish Teacher

Hearing about poverty and seeing it firsthand are two completely different. I had the opportunity to experience poverty and help improve conditions when I traveled with my teammates to the Dominican Republic. The village we went to, located in San Pedro de Macorís, was stricken with poverty, but you wouldn’t know it when observing the children of the village. They came to greet us as soon as we got off the bus and had huge smiles on their faces. All throughout the house building process, the small children stayed with us at the worksite. Due to the language barrier, communication can sometimes be tough, but if a kid wanted to play with you, he or she would say “caballo” which means horse in Spanish. This meant that they wanted you to carry them on your back and run around with them. They were so happy. The children’s attitudes definitely impacted me the most. They live in challenging conditions, but find joy and happiness in little things that we readily take for granted. Seeing this taught me and my teammates to always be grateful for what we have and appreciate everyday things like a hot shower or clean tap water.

Garrett Smith, Upper School Student

KnightLife: Viva Firenze!

View of Florence from San Miniato al MonteWhen breaks from school approach, most of us look forward to time away from the classroom. Maybe I am just a nerd, but I love learning! For the past six years, I have eagerly sought and found some amazing professional development opportunities that rejuvenate, recharge, and refresh my attitude, my teaching methods, and my desire to be a lifelong learner.

For two weeks last summer, I ventured to every museum, church, restaurant, and Gelato stand in Florence, Italy. As a student with Mercer University’s Florentine Freedoms, I immersed myself in the culture, the history, the beauty, and of course, the FOOD of this unbelievable city. Walking the narrow brick streets, listening to the concerts in the piazzas, gazing on some of the most important art in the world, connecting the past with my present, and standing in places once inhabited by Michelangelo, Donatello, Dante, and Brunelleschi – I became a part of the Renaissance that changed the world.

Venturing out from my apartment on the Piazza della Signoria, I climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and hiked to San Miniato atop Michelangelo Square; I marched and cheered with the Santo Spirito soccer team and fans after their championship win; I observed the blessing of the horses in the Palio in Sienna; I cried upon seeing Brunelleschi’s Wooden Crucifix; I stood in awe when I turned the corner in the Academia and saw Michelangelo’s David; and my taste buds exploded the first time I ate pear glazed gnocchi. Florence – the city of art, religion, politics, diversity, acceptance, and love. The city of pizza, gelato, street musicians, selfie sticks, and fizzy water!

The courses I teach at DWS have been influenced but this experience as I learned the Harkness Method of class discussion and now implement that practice with my students. That said, I came away with more than just a recharged battery and volumes of new knowledge. My faith grows stronger; my passion for great books burns brighter; my desire to learn continues; and yes, my weight is weightier.

I am forever a part of Florence, as she is forever a part of me.

Viva Firenze!

Debbie Newsome Allen, Upper School Humanities

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