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55 Years Ago

The more things change, the more they stay the same, as this letter to the editor of The Echo ably demonstrates. Questions about the current “lights out” and dorm closing policies seem to have slipped to the back burner lately, and while the “powers that be” may wish that I hadn’t reminded the student body that this has been an issue, your editor is really trying to gauge whether students are reading this column, anyway. Perhaps we’ll find out later this week…

from The Echo, vol. III, no. 1, p. 2; October 22, 1962.

Dear Echo:

Should there be unlimited lights at Northfield? Such a question raises pros and cons in the minds of almost everyone, for both sides of the issue have been discussed. Since this issue will be brought before Council in the near future, we should try to form intelligent opinions about it.

The reason for a definite lights out and rising bell is that commonly accepted rules of health show that the average sleep requirement for an adult is about eight hours a night; and for a busy teenager one half hour more would not be wasted. Bells are a part of the daily routine within which punctuality is stressed as being part of dorm cooperation, campus-wide cooperation, even simple obedience to the rules.

No two people work at identical rates of speed. To achieve a smooth-running system is to determine an average and build from there. The question now lies in this average. The present schedule is successful in that the average upper-classman can complete the minimum requirement for every subject in the time allotted and meet essential requirements. I quote a member of the faculty, “Doing what is asked for means earning a C+. Anything above that is achieved by working on your own initiative to produce more than what is demanded of you.” Not everyone can do more than what is asked for and participate in extra-curriculars as well. Where, then, can she find time except after taps?

Can a student act sensibly if left to her own judgment? Would she work steadily and go to bed when her studying was finished, rather than waste time and stay up all night? Could she accept at Northfield the responsibility she normally has at home and use it to her best advantage without abusing it? I think so. It should be possible to trust any Northfield girl with her own health.

Would this freedom be school wide or restricted to seniors only? Certainly the seniors need late lights, and could be trusted to respect the privilege with the highest degree of maturity.

Would seniors staying up late bother the rest of the dorm? Late pers [permissions –ed.] don’t disturb anyone, and obviously seniors would be obliged to behave after ten p.m. as on a late per, using the extra time for studying only.

Whether the right to have unlimited lights is ever granted, either to seniors or to the entire student body, as an open privilege or as a more lenient form of late per, is yet to be decided. I hope everyone can think the issue over, form her own opinion, and care enough to express it in Council.
Button Making! Sunday 10/29 4-5pm

Come to the library, have a snack and make a button to decorate your jacket or bag. All materials will be provided, but feel free to bring text or an image that you'd like to make into a 1" button. Prepare for Spirit Week, support your favorite clubs, or make something just for fun!

NMH Home Movie Night! Friday, 10/20, 8-10 pm

Come to the library, settle in with popcorn and candy, and watch some great footage of the Northfield and Mount Hermon campuses through history.

For over a century, students just like you (only dressed somewhat differently) have lived through the experience of midterms, workjob, athletic competitions, and other aspects of NMH life.

Meet Elliott Speer, our slain headmaster. See views of the Northfield campus. Get acquainted with past traditions, like Tree Day. You'll even get to check out the Dairy Herd.

The library will open at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night for this special event. Bring your friends!

Knitting @ the Library! RESCHEDULED: Sun 11/5, 4-5 pm

Knitting in the library is BACK! Sunday, November 5, 4-5 pm

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced knitter, come join the fun as we knit together. Bring your own project, or start one! Bring your own needles, or we’ll loan you some! Bring your own yarn, or use some from our yarn stash! Snacks will be served.

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100 Years Ago

Events from the world beyond our campus are always affecting us here; rarely is this more evident than when a former student writes back as a witness. A century ago, as the Great War raged in Europe, countless alumni wrote letters to their alma mater, Mount Hermon, about their experiences. Their words were occasionally excerpted for the newspaper. Here’s one example.

from The Hermonite, vol. XXXI, no. 1, pp. 1-2; October 1917.


There seems to be something about Hermon from which I can never get away, something that makes me want to get back there. When I look back to those days I spent there, it seems like an old home to me.

Life here is different from that at Hermon. Although the weather here for the last three months has been better than one could expect, it is not a life very many care for. Just to give you an idea of how we spend our spare time I will tell you a little about the house that my pal and I have just finished making. The censor may allow it to pass, or may tear the whole up; for we are allowed to tell very little. Of course you will know that we are continually moving, and that means we have to fix up a house or “bivvy” as we call them, every little while. This time we have made an entirely new one. First, we looked around for what seemed a suitable place in the trench in which we are all stopping and, having decided upon a spot, set to work. (Everyone builds his house according to his own idea.) With a shovel and pick we dug a hole in the side of the trench a little above the bottom, long enough and wide enough so that both of us could lie abreast; then we went a considerable number of yards and brought up some old iron roofing that was lying about; after which we made our roof. It was quite a little work to get the slope and to make the covering tight around the sides to keep out rain and wind.. After the outside of our house was finished, we made a wash-basin, a brazier, a fireplace, a cupboard (which is but a hole in the side of the trench near the roof) for our rations, another place for our equipment, a rifle rack, and finally a name; all of which takes much longer to do than to describe. We have named this “bivvy” the “Sask-E-Bec Bivvy” for the reason that my pal is from Saskatchewan and I am from Quebec.

This letter seems to be a fearful mixture of thoughts, but I am sure you will overlook that, as you will understand that I am not learning grammar but how to stand shell-fire.
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95 Years Ago

The following not only reminds us of our Northfield heritage, but introduces one of the periodicals produced at the seminary. Note the difference in tone between this piece and, say, last week’s. While today’s students do not experience the daily joys of the place that was and is Northfield, it is you who keep alive the Northfield spirit today. Here’s how one Northfield student defined that feeling nearly a century ago. Leaving aside the gendered language of the Northfield Seminary, may all of us do our part to follow the advice herein, to help keep said spirit alive for the next ninety-odd years.

from The Northfield Star, vol. VII, no. 1, pp. 6-7; October, 1922.

A Spirit Gift

Northfield’s greatest gift cannot be defined, not even by a logical definition. It is freer than the air, yet to those who possess it, it is priceless. Every girl may have it if, of her own free will, she desires it, and by honest, purposeful effort strives to obtain it. This gift is not the Northfield “N,” but is generally known by the name of The Northfield Spirit.

Think back to the days when you were a new girl, shy, homesick, and everything seemed so strange. Everywhere you went girls smiled at you and called out a merry greeting. Old girls showed you where you were to take your examinations, where you were to go to have your schedules made out, and helped you solve the puzzles which stared you in the face during those first days. Did you ever stop to think why they were so thoughtful, helping you with the little things which meant so much to you? There is only one answer to this question and that answer is the Northfield Spirit.

Go down on the athletic field when there is a challenge game being played and get acquainted with this same Spirit. Even if no one else is there, you may be sure of Her presence on the field watching the game. She creates the atmosphere of good sportsmanship and it is because of Her that the players can smile at defeat.

That fine spirit of sincere, thoughtful endeavor shown in the classroom, that spirit of constant helpfulness in the halls, that spirit of self-forgetfulness toward one’s friends, the Spirit herself, is waiting to bestow. Do you not want for your very own all these splendid things which make Northfield worthwhile? Just take them, for they are your heritage. They are all embodied in the words Northfield Spirit, and when Northfield has given you that she has given you her best.