We never want to become a school where isolated pockets of academic novelty trump the whole of the work done in our classrooms. We simply want to be who we are, to be who we have always been, long before buzzwords like innovation, maker-spaces, and collaboration saturated our lexicon. We want to be a school where these buzzwords happen naturally through the work we do with our students.
Tonight, more than a third of the student body showcased this work during our biannual Innovation Night, preceded by AP Language and Composition students presenting Moth stories in the Community House.
Each spring, AP Language and Composition students share Moth-style stories in the Community House. As Ryelle '20 (above), Ryan '20, Avery '20, Donnie '20, Teagan '20, Chris '20, and Sophia '20 shared moments of their lives with the packed house, we laughed, cringed, and leaned into each word. The intimacy of the space matched that of their stories, and we thank them for sharing so openly.
The community quickly transitioned to the Farrell Field House where World History, Introduction to Literature, Engineering, AP Environmental Science, Conservation Ecology, AP Human Geography, Economics, and Culture and Conflict students shared their final projects in a science-fair setting before retreating to individual classrooms to present their projects in detail.
Every year we wonder if we could end more cohesively, with more of a clear sense of purpose. We often feel as though we are going a million different directions as we attempt to finish final projects, clean dorm rooms, squeeze in last minute outings with advisories, get yearbooks ready to distribute. And then poof, underclass students will depart for summer break on Thursday and we will focus our attention on our seniors. Nights like tonight remind us that in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us this time of year, we are actually incredibly unified in our purpose.
Each class approaches Innovation Night with the clear goal of elevating student work beyond the immediate audience of the classroom, showcasing collaboration among individual students and across academic departments. Ninth graders worked in small groups to explore the role of the individual within society.
Culture and Conflict (Proctor's interdisciplinary humanities honors course) shared research on their year-long study areas of strife and the stories of those not heard in the past. While the depth of research differed from our youngest students to some of our most advanced, the creativity of thought and representation of ideas was impressive across the board.
AP Human Geography and AP Environmental Science students worked on an interdisciplinary project to design a futuristic city that was environmentally sustainable and took into account geographic, social, and cultural pressures. Engineering students shared their team designed rockets (launching will take place tomorrow), and Conservation Ecology students discussed their research into native species living on Proctor's 2,500 acres of Woodlands.
The breadth of topics covered tonight was incredibly broad, yet the themes within the student work coalesced around our identity as a school: environmental sustainability, sense of place, understanding of our responsibilities to others in society, advocacy for the underrepresented, and a constant desire to become better versions of ourselves. No one told students to center their work around these themes, their experiences in their classes, on off-campus programs, and in relationship with each other have simply reinforced this identity over and over again. The ethics of our community becomes a lens through which we see the world around us, and in turn impacts our actions and beliefs. Nights like tonight reassure us we are doing something right as a school, even in the midst of the end of year chaos.