Recent Blog Posts
no image

25 Years Ago

            From their founding through the early 1930s, smoking was prohibited at both the Northfield Seminary and the Mount Hermon School. Students pledged to refrain from the habit even during vacations, and a single offense resulted in dismissal. As smoking became more widespread and socially acceptable, the rules regarding smoking were gradually relaxed. First, the penalty was reduced from expulsion to suspension, the young poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti being one of the earliest to benefit from the rule change. Later, Mount Hermon seniors were allowed to smoke in a lounge – popularly called “The Blue Cloud” – in what is now the music building. The strictures at Northfield remained tougher, with no smoking allowed on campus. Through the 1960s girls traveling to and from school were only permitted to smoke on trains and buses which were traveling north of Brattleboro or south of Greenfield. At the merger of the schools in the fall of 1971 smoking was extended to allow any student with written parental permission to smoke within specially designated areas on campus. By the early 1990s, with the risks of smoking and the dangers second-hand smoke well-documented, and with prohibitions against obtaining tobacco by those under 18 now law, school rules changed again.

from The Bridge, vol. XXIV, no. 4, p. 1; December 11, 1992.

NMH Smoking Policy: No Butts About It

As the 1992-93 academic school year got underway, and abundance of changes affecting the NMH community were introduced. Among the changes implemented was the third phase of the infamous Smoking Policy. This phase had been a long time coming.  Those who chose to light up would be forced to extinguish their habit.
A committee was established to assemble an effective non-smoking policy. The committee assembled was composed of faculty, administrators, students and health officials.  The purpose of the policy was to eventually make NMH smoke free. A three year plan was put into effect in 1990. In the first year, all of the student body was allowed to smoke. Then in the second year the phasing out began and only juniors and seniors with parental permission were allowed to smoke in designated areas. Finally, during the 1992-1993 school year the final phase of the policy was put into effect and no one except faculty and staff, in designated areas or in their own homes, are permitted to smoke.

The student response has been mixed. However, for all of the complaints, the policy’s effect has been felt. Currently no students are on D.P. (Disciplinary Probation) as of now due to a violation of the smoking policy. Smoking and non-smoking students alike seem to have greeted this change in policy with heated feelings. As one former nicotine addict states, “If people think that this change policy has curbed the use of tobacco, they are living in a fantasy world.” One non-smoking faculty member declared, “I don’t object to smoking, but I feel we need to protect our kids.” A nearby student pipes up upon hearing this faculty statement and states, “That’s an exemplary point!”
no image

35 Years Ago

from The Greenfield Recorder 190th year – no. 290, p. 1; December 10, 1982.

Meadow Messages
Students spell mischief with bales of hay
By Richie Davis
Recorder Staff

NORTHFIELD - What’s a graffiti writer to do in “the sticks,” where subway cars are scarcer than hen’s teeth?
The answer is “rural graffiti,” in which hay is more than for horses.
For the past week or so, someone’s been stealing into Frank Podlenski’s field off Route 10 and rearranging the hay bales into messages for passing motorists.
Some of the words have four letters, and Northfield police have been trying to keep one step ahead of the country-style vandals. That means, walking down the bank to change the bad words,” which are clearly visible to traffic up on Route 10. Northfield police don’t push the hay into new configurations, though, said officer Eugene Miller.
“I’m not that ambitious,” he said.
Nathan Stewart, who edits Northfield Mount Hermon School’s newspaper, The Bridge, said the hay games began between Pioneer Valley Regional School students and what appeared to be a rival team.
NMH students – who can see the hay from the shuttle buses that carry them between the school’s two campuses – got involved in the creative hay shuffling last weekend, writing a commentary on a disciplinary problem at school.
Someone, explained Stewart, had walked off with some keys from campus security, and school officials warned there would be curfew for everyone if they weren’t returned.
“KEYS?” the haystacks read.
Sunday, after the key culprit was found, the stacks were changed to “GOTCHA.”
Early this week someone rearranged the hay into an advertisement for a Springfield radio station: “WAAF 107.”
And Thursday, a few Bridge staff members gave their newspaper a plug, “The Bridge.”
“It’s just fun and games,” said Stewart.
Frank Podlenski, who owns the Bennett Meadow property that borders on the Connecticut River, says he isn’t at all upset by the pranks.
“It doesn’t bother me a bit,” he says. “If someone wants to have fun – as long as they’re not doing me any damage – God bless ‘em.”

Ed. note: This story was picked up by the Associated Press and appeared in newspapers from as far away as Albuquerque, NM and Miami, FL.