Letter from David

Letter from David Dickinson:

Sara Schewe

As a faculty member in a community that instructs and nurtures young people twenty four hours a day, I have had the opportunity to act as surrogate parent on may occasions. Some relationships deepen to friendships that last a lifetime. In nineteen years one comes to develop a “pick list” of teenagers who have the chutzpah, the gung-ho spirit, the talent to make an impact during their adult years. Let me first say that writing this letter is extremely difficult. The tragic loss of an individual creates a profound ripple effect on a close community such as Deerfield Academy. Sorrow, emptiness and thoughts of “what could have been” for that young person come to the fore. Sara Schewe was, and still is in my mind, a stand-out. From a gangly, braces wearing, upbeat freshman to a radiant, courteous, upbeat senior, Sara was instructed by me in both the art studios and on the tennis courts of Deerfield Academy.

Her progress as a draftsman at the introductory level was remarkable. Possessing an intelligent eye for composition and an extremely patient approach to rendering assignments, Sara quickly emerged as leader in her class. She was given the nod by the department to make the leap to the advanced placement level as a sophomore. She shared top grades with only two classmates in the senior laden A.P. studio Art portfolio course. Only a handful of assignments become earmarked as unique when one teaches so many young people. Sara’s original idea, and execution of family portraits on common paper bags “so I can carry my loved ones with me at all times,” is one of those unique memorable projects. Her accurate renderings and skillful use of a variety of media were a favorite of the class and the college board. A score of “5,” the highest allowed by the Educational Testing Service, was the icing on the cake that year. After completing a number of other requirements, Sara returned to the studios her senior year for an independent study in portraiture. Documenting the lineage of headmasters at the Academy, Sara also included their hobbies to add a humorous, whimsical touch to the work. The Hilson Gallery hosted her work that spring.

Sara’s love of tennis and dedication to the growth of the girls’ varsity tennis team was as intense as her work in the studios. Her dogged determination, competition, talent and outright joy at being a part of a team just scratched the surface of Sara’s impact. She was a coach’s dream, ready to adjust her attack when the going got tough. I’ve had the privilege of coaching some wonderful, undefeated teams since Sara’s graduation, but her senior year team was the one that won the big tournament. Sara was the main reason for that outcome. Obviously, upon her death, the Sara Schewe Trophy was created. At the 1996 sports banquet, I read these words:

“A Chris Evert at the baseline, Sara’s relentless attack on the ball and uncompromising work ethic in practice compiled an incredible 34 wins and only 6 losses in her Deerfield tennis career. She was instrumental in the Girls’ Varsity Tennis team winning the team trophy in the “93 DeVillafranca Tournament that hosts 19 prep schools. Sara’s name appears three times on the Deerfield Academy Coaches Award trophy. She loved the game, she played the game. To quote one of my colleagues, Jay Morsman, in terms of kindness, sweetness, and thoughtfulness, she will be remembered as one of the top ten Deerfield girls. Sara gave her all and never for personal glory – she did for the teacher, the coach, the team – that is her legacy!”

Sara was a sensitive, personable, and determined young woman. She was part of our first coeducational year in 1989. Sara had to show her stuff in what used to be a traditional, all-male bastion. In her own unassuming way, she successfully forged a path with kindness, diligence and an abundance of talent.

Upon graduation Sara and I talked about the future. Business, possibly international business, seemed to be the direction she was choosing at the college level. We also talked about graphics and advertising as she had the potential for these areas. Her acumen for things visual and her enthusiasm for the challenge would have made a powerful combination in the years ahead. Sara’s vision was clear and uncompromising when it came to people. Her talents contributed greatly to the success of Deerfield’s coed art program and helped establish a winning benchmark for a young tennis program. Sara was special.

David Dickinson
Instructor, Art Department
Tennis Coach, Deerfield Academy