A Letter to Those Who Delivered on Their Beliefs

Posted by Anne Swayze

10/01/2014

There is a known predictability with the fall season. The nights are crisp, the days warm, the leaves shed their green hues for reds, yellows and oranges, and we watch in the morning as mist rises above the pond indicating that the air around us is cooler than the temperature of the water. All predictable changes. What isn't predictable is that early October snowstorm that blankets the land, or the Noro virus that arrives weeks in advance of when we expect it and catches us all by surprise, or that returning student who maintained a quiet, reserved presence last year and this year moves through the campus with confidence and pride. 

The unexpected moments that cause us to recalculate our approach and reassess our response. These are the moments when we step away from the known and enter the unknown—often doing so because we know, in our hearts, that it is the right thing to do. 

So, it was for the Climate March.

Proctor Academy Environmental StewardshipA week or so before the march a seed was planted, offered to the community, and within hours (literally) plans were being drawn up on how to make it all happen. Who should go? How do we get there? What about the parents? When do we leave? Is it really the right thing to do? Will we make an impact? And, on and on and on.

Proctor Environmental Stewardship

It all happened. Students, motivated and guided by faculty, crystallized their own vision. Banners were created, emails were sent, phone calls home solidified their plans, and the feeling of personal ownership permeated through the campus. For the adults in the community, those of us that recall the sixties and seventies, we were back listening to songs about civil rights, speeches about Earth Day and environmentalism, and boarding buses for the long ride down to Washington, DC to march for women's rights. I remember those bus rides and marches. 

Proctor Academy Environmental Stewardship

The adults scrambled to cover responsibilities, made alternative plans with families, slept a tad more on the nights prior to the march, and felt the surge of excitement as the time drew near. In an amazing act of collaboration, the event took flight and the journey began at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. The marchers were back on the home turf by 1:00 a.m. Monday morning. But, what happened in between 4:00 a.m. Sunday and 1:00 a.m. Monday was a testament to the Proctor community’s personal and professional commitment to education—to being part of the moment—and celebrating the experience. The faculty members that dreamed up this dream acted as role models; entertainers and camp counselors; friends and mentors. And, dare I say, 'radicals' in that they believed in a cause and delivered on their strong beliefs. 

Proctor Academy Environmental Stewardship

So, from this gray haired, once-upon-a-time protester, I extend to those of you who marched gratitude, appreciation, and a warm heart knowing the impact you have made and will continue to make on our community. May Proctor always be willing to step outside the map and stand strong for those who cannot. Thank you all for rallying to take part in such a crucial and historic event, the People's Climate March in New York City, Fall 2014.

Sincerely, 

Anne Swayze

Assistant Head of School

 

Watch a video recap of the Climate March here!

    

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