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45 Years Ago

An equivocal reaction to an all-school observation – the end of the Vietnam War.

from The Bridge, vol. IV, no.11, pp. 1,3; January 31, 1973.

Last Wednesday…

On Wednesday, January 24, 1973, classes were cancelled to commemorate the unofficial conclusion of the Vietnam War, announced by President Nixon the evening before. The war officially halted on Saturday January 27, when Secretary of State, Rogers, signed the peace agreement on behalf of the United States. Many students worked through the night to draw up plans for the following day’s activities, which included a 6:30 a.m. march to Northfield by Mount Hermon students.

The same issue of The Bridge included a critical reaction to the day’s events:


Wednesday’s “celebration” in honor of the announcement of the Vietnam peace accord was a farce at NMH. We were shaken by the school’s childish and insensitive reaction to this occasion of both joy and sorrow – joy at the end of the war and sorrow at the lives lost during America’s senseless and wasted efforts in Southeast Asia.
We were at first convinced that the cancellation of classes had a meaning beyond “recess” until the assembly at Northfield auditorium turned into a pep rally. Mount Hermon’s gestures of walking to Northfield and the opening speeches at the assembly were indications of our recognition of the day’s ambivalence. They seemed to show that we understood the combined rejoicing the day deserved. But when the glib plug for the morning’s dance at Tracy [the Northfield student center –ed.] and the afternoon’s hockey game were met with such an instantaneous shift in the audience’s attitude, we were disgusted. Yet the most unfortunate aspect of this injection of triviality was its warm reception: we cannot condemn the activities without including the appreciative audience in their condemnation.
Wednesday degenerated into an ordinary Headmaster’s Holiday because its original purpose was forgotten or subordinated. It was not the time to raise the issue of school spirit or to collapse in Tracy. Yet the day was regarded solely as a postponement of a calculus test, an extra day to finish a history paper, a recess, a play-day.
We, the school as a whole, should have been celebrating the lives that will be saved by the cease-fire but simultaneously mourning those that were lost by America’s useless meddling. Just as the world was revolted by Nixon’s bombing Hanoi back to the Stone Age, or the negotiating table, so were many of us revolted by our own insensitivity.

Other reaction followed…- ed.
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120 Years Ago

            In its early years, The Hermonite featured two regular columns which digested the latest school news at Northfield and Mount Hermon. Careful reading of these occasionally brings previously unremarked facts to light. Below we print just such an example, as we celebrate the 120th anniversary of the purchase of the land on which Overtoun Hall sits. 

from The Hermonite, vol. XI, no.8, pp. 116; January 15, 1898.


E.B. Freeman has been appointed officer of Cottage I.

A mock trial was held on New Year’s Day, with Judge Clotworthy on the bench.

The New Year was rung in at Hermon for the first time by tapping the bell with a hammer.

A new ceiling of Cottage 4 basement was put in and wall painted during the past vacation.

Miss Miller, Mr. Fite, and Mr. and Mrs. Douglass spent the vacation at Hermon, occupying a part of the South Farmhouse.

The following men will not return to school: Schweitzer, ’99; Poole, ’01; Bradley, ’01; W.T. Capron, ’01; Young, ’01; Stadie, ’99.

Work on the new chapel has been discontinued for the winter. However, twenty-seven stone cutters are still employed preparing the granite for the spring work.

The property of Charles Severance adjoining Mount Hermon on the south has passed into the hands of E.L. Kelley. A new dormitory and dining hall will be erected on this ground just south of the athletic field. Materials for buildings are now being hauled to the site.

Under a change in classification rules, a student may be classified as a Senior or Senior Middle if he is behind his class not more than one year of a daily study and one year of Bible, elocution or composition. This change does not apply to students below the two classes mentioned. Penmanship and spelling maintain their ancestral high standing and hold their delinquents down to Junior [The equivalent of a 9th grader today –ed.] classification.

Too bad for Overtoun residents that they didn't build that dining hall...
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20 Years Ago

from The Bridge, vol. XXIX, no.6, pp. 1,6; February 4, 1998.

Irish Studies Program Adopted

On January 8, 1998, the Academic Committee approved a proposal for a new class called Senior Seminar: Irish Studies. The pilot program, to be added to the 1998-99 curriculum, is the first in a succession of new seminar classes. During the spring term of their senior year, 12-14 students will learn about Irish culture and travel to Ireland. The seminar program application will be similar in format to that of a term abroad. According to Donna Inglehart, who came up with the idea, the seminar “will incorporate primary elements of the Strategic Agenda: the international perspective, cross-disciplinary studies, and the senior seminar.”
The seminar courses consist of an English class and a seminar class, both taught by Dennis Kennedy. During the early weeks of the spring term, students will be taking a more traditional English class heavily focused on Irish literature. The block schedule allows for intensity, so the readings will be extensive and varied. During the day’s second block seminar class, students will be studying Irish history and culture in an effort to absorb as much information as possible before leaving for a three-week trip to Ireland.
Students will be more than just tourists in Ireland. They will be able to learn about a specific topic of interest in greater depth and detail from first hand experience. From this knowledge, students will be able to share with the group what they have learned. This gives students the opportunity to become teachers as well as learners.
After their return to NMH, students will continue their English classes, but will concentrate largely on individual projects for the senior seminar. Each student will design, plan, execute, and present a complex project on a chosen area of interest relating to the theme of Irish Studies. Possible topics include the impact of dance on Irish society, the role of politics and religion, and Celtic Art. The end of the term will culminate with the presentation of the completed project to the Northfield Mount Hermon community.
Inglehart…expressed her excitement in the set-up and scheduling of the program during the academic year. Because it takes place during the spring term of senior year, the course allows students a closing and summation of their years at NMH. In completing their independent projects, students have the opportunity to look back at their time at their time at Northfield Mount Hermon and develop their project while examining their academic and personal growth. The seminar accomplishes one of Inglehart’s goals for this program, instituting the chance for seniors to continue to grow during their last term at NMH.
Class participants will be able to preserve their life at NMH in addition to reaping the benefits of traveling abroad. The independent project gives students the chance to develop a complex project of their own design, reflecting the work of the term.
Many students are interested in taking part in the new pilot program. Interested students should contact Donna Inglehart for more information.

The Senior Seminar: Irish Studies is the first of many new interdisciplinary programs being planned for the future. If the new class works well, there are many opportunities for future seminar programs.