The Picasso Museum, tucked away in an alleyway in Barcelona’s gothic district, seemed at first glance to be an as of yet hidden gem in a sea of tourist traps. Unfortunately that pleasant fantasy was seemingly disintegrated when my companions and I arrived at the Museum proper — the site was swamped in tourists. While we were discouraged, I could make out what appeared to be a number of well-cultured locals scattered amongst the crowd. Surely they wouldn’t be attracted to the saccharine “local flavor” that the countless other “landmarks” around Barcelona had fallen prey to.
Proctor’s long-winter weekend, or Bonus Weekend, has arrived. It marks the midway point between Winter Break and Spring Break, and provides a much needed respite for all in the community. While we’ve enjoyed one of the nicest weeks of January weather any of us can remember, the winter remains a long, exhausting term. Despite these challenges, our goal is to embrace all the Winter Term has to offer, rather than feel like we are just ‘getting through it’. In order to ensure this mindset lasts, we need occasional encouragement.
Last week, I talked in assembly about being in the White Mountains, years ago, with a group of students during a brutal March storm when the temperature swung from the upper 20’s to 15 below zero. The winds screamed at the base of Carrigan, snapped tarps, drove snow everywhere, and buried gear. I talked about the necessary skills to be comfortable – relatively – in such an environment, and the people in my life who had made a difference, forged a connection, inspired a love of wilderness, and imparted those skills. I talked about former teachers, old Outward Bound and NOLS instructors, listing some of the adults who guided me towards wisdom and helped me with skills.
Usually the most valuable conversations are the most difficult ones. When Cindy Pierce visited Proctor Academy’s campus Tuesday, an anticipation of discomfort and curiosity preceded her separate conversations with students and faculty, which meant we knew this meant it would be time well spent! As Pierce noted at the beginning of her conversation, “In order to get to the other side of awkward, you have to wade through awkward soup.”
After a week paddling on the Rio Grande with Desert Sports out of Terlingua, Mountain Classroom has arrived at Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas to begin their study of border issues. Meredith '17 and Avery '17 reflect on the past week paddling a leisurely 33 miles down the Rio Grande in today's Mountain Classroom blog!
You would think that two weeks of being constantly together as a group would get old. Yet as we wander the streets of Aix looking for our own, special café to call our home-away-from-home, or painting amongst a vineyard, the mountains that decorate the horizon, I notice that as each day passes, each and every one of us grows happier and happier. We truly are in a paradise; every new day I spend here, Aix comes to feel more and more like home.
Proctor’s experiential roots run deep. While many of our alumni stories focus on the current careers of alumni within the past thirty years, recently, Dick Day, Jr. ‘42 responded to an alumni newsletter with his story. It is not often we are able to share a student’s journey through Proctor from this era, so we jumped on the opportunity.
It’s not easy standing up in front of your classmates in an American Literature class to deliver a speech, but when you are chosen by your peers to speak in front of the whole community and be judged on your performance? That’s a whole different matter. That takes courage to push through as legs shake and stomachs lurch. I could have no more delivered a speech like the Hays than run a four-minute mile when I was sophomore.
The Proctor en Segovia Winter 2016 group’s first week in Spain is full of activity. Students start building relationships with their host families, discover natural spaces along the border of the city, participate in a diverse array of afternoon activities and begin their study of Spanish language, history and literature!
Enjoy poetry by AnnIe, reflections on modern art by Zack, and Grace's thoughts about cheese!
Each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Proctor foregoes a regular class schedule, instead celebrating the work of Dr. King and applying lessons learned from his teachings to our community. Monday’s programming was led by the D.I.V.E.R.S.I.T.Y committee, and proved to be a powerful experience as we reflected on the relationship between privilege and injustice in our society.
Proctor Academy's Mountain Classroom program just completed a weeklong adventure in Big Bend National Park during which they studied wilderness first aid. Students practiced scenarios where first aid skills necessary to respond to backcountry ailments and injuries were required. Check out some stunning photography from the five day trip alongside student reflections in today's Mountain Classroom blog. The group next heads out for a rafting trip up the Rio Grande! Enjoy!
Flying over the South of France only 9 days ago was the first glimpse I got of the mountains and the surrounding water of the Mediterranean Sea. Was I really here? When I was offered the spot on this wonderful program only a little over a month ago I had many things running through my mind. Excitement. Disbelief. Fear. Could I make this possible? Could I go?
For stretches, long stretches at times, travel for the school takes me out of New Hampshire and across the country: last week, DC; this week, NYC. I meet alumni from different moments in Proctor’s history like the graduate from the late 80’s who worked for Newsweek and now is a chef; the entrepreneur who graduated in the 90’s and works out of a Manhattan shared space office; the parent who is watching their child slowly build executive functions.
Proctor Academy is quite a special place for me and my family. Proctor was first introduced to us through a close family friend, Sawyer Meegan ‘14. Sawyer encouraged me to join him during the summer before my junior year for pick-up soccer on Carr Field. Alan McIntyre immediately welcomed me and introduced me to the rest of the group, which included Proctor alumni, current students, faculty, and friends of the school. The warmth of the community was obvious; it was like returning home to family.
Each program at Proctor exists for a reason. Our unique academic model did not develop by chance, but rather through the vision and commitment of those who came before us at this small boarding school in central New Hampshire. In its infancy, Proctor’s Learning Skills program became one of the first formal academic support program for dyslexic students in the country. Over the past seventy years, Learning Skills has developed into an integrated academic support program unlike any other.
After a two week winter break, Proctor Academy's Mountain Classroom group reunited in Austin, Texas for the second half of their journey across the American Southwest. After a few days of reconnecting in Blanco State Park, the group began preparations for their weeklong backpacking trip in Big Bend. Read an update from Eliza '17 and Lilah '17 in this week's blog post!
The Proctor community is the best. Period. We know we may possess a bit of bias, but time and time again we are reminded of the strength of this community as we attempt to navigate the messy, painful reality of life. Tuesday afternoon was another powerful reminder of why we choose to live, work, and learn within the Proctor family.
Professional development is one of the most important things we do as educators. Whether it is a attending a conference, taking courses, or sharing reflections on a recent book we've recently read, we must consistently take time to think intentionally about our craft. This process affirms what we are doing, while at the same time challenges us to grow. Today was a professional development day for faculty at Proctor, and we had an opportunity to do just that: affirm and then grow.