After completing our primitive skills backpacking trip, Proctor Academy Mountain Classroom visited Smithfield's Hog Operations Headquarters in Milford, UT. We then went on to visit Morgan Family Dairy in Circleville as we immersed ourselves in studying large-scale agriculture. We were treated to a number of thunderstorms and rainbows at Otter Creek State Park, which we called home for most of the week before driving on to Moab. We left Moab for Bluff, Utah where we are headed rafting on the San Juan River for the next week with longtime Proctor friend, Kay Harris of Canyon Expeditions.
The months of April and May can be incredibly stressful times for many of our students as the college application process looms before juniors and seniors are in the final stages of making their college decisions. The mission of Proctor's College Counseling department is to foster students’ academic, intellectual and personal growth while empowering them to take ownership of the college process and their futures. We find the students who find the greatest success in the college admission process are those who understand their abilities, passions and interests, and are therefore able to find the “right fit.” Historically, Proctor students have had the motivation and the self-awareness to make such matches. They trust their hearts and inner-self, allowing insight, not college rankings, to guide their post Proctor careers.
Each week a new student gets to write the blog. We can write about whatever we want. The thing is when teachers give you the freedom to write anything it is either amazing and the words come flowing onto the page, or a painstakingly slow process where you are stuck so long looking at a blank screen that you start to hallucinate or forget what words even are. So where to start?
Karen Hoskin ‘86 left the comforts of her rural Maine milltown in the fall of 1985 and arrived on Proctor’s campus as a first year senior. Familiar friends, coaches, and family, were replaced by countless unknowns, but she was confident the journey on which she was about to embark would change her life. She was right. As her 30th Proctor Reunion approaches, Karen reflects on her journey since Proctor; one that led her to Williams College, to working in an enlightening, albeit unsuccessful, political campaign, to living off the grid with her husband for ten years, to a successful career as a brand builder, and most recently, to starting her own craft distillery in Crested Butte.
The Sabbath. Oliver Sacks has written a wonderfully, tight essay about the role this day played throughout his life - the restfulness of it, the pause of it, the disconnect from work and routine to focus on the connection of faith and family. It’s a powerful reminder the author tucks into the end of his slim volume of essays titled Gratitude. That essay and a conversation with Gregor about what we do and don’t share about individual beliefs have me musing late in the week about faith and schools.
Why offer students a time in their days to sit quietly, focus their thoughts, quiet their bodies, set their intentions, and just have a time of reflection, relaxation, and rejuvenation? In a world such as ours at Proctor, which might be seen as a magnificent bubble away from the greater culture around us, our students are challenged to do their very best. And this can become stressful.
This week's Mountain Classroom blog post is a "read one get one free special"! Mountain Classroom was treated to a glorious 3-day backpacking trip in Grand Canyon National Park in the final days of March. We started our hike at Hermit's Rest Trailhead and made our way down to the Colorado River at Hermit Rapids. There we rested for a layover day before returning to the South Rim on the same trail. Before and after hiking, we camped at Mather Campground in the park at over 7000 feet where we experienced snow flurries and a herd of curious and rambunctious elk.
We got off the high speed train in Valencia to be greeted by an array of alluring billboards. We then press on to the hostal where we unload all of our belongings. After brainstorming for awhile we collectively decided to go to the beach for an hour or two before dinner. The beaches skyline was littered with a plethora of kites and floats. Kevin and Drew were the only ones daring enough to set foot in the frigid waters.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of working at a boarding school are those moments throughout the course of the year when you are able to experience tangible moments of transformation. Spring Family Weekend is one of those moments (as are Fall Family Weekend, Commencement, and Reunion Weekend). Our family comes together and we are reminded of the hard, very real, work we all are doing alongside our families to help our students navigate adolecence.
During today’s assembly, nine School Leader candidates shared brief speeches on Proctor’s core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and compassion. Over the past week, this group of rising seniors has stepped out on a limb to be considered for School Leader by their peers and by faculty. They have taken part in two student panel conversations and have risked failure in a very public manner. Today, we take a closer look at what one of our core values: compassion.
Mountain Classroom has been on the road for three weeks. Most recently our adventures have found us traveling through remote parts of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Our limited access to the internet means we are delayed in sharing stories from this part of our adventure with you, so thanks for your patience! Below, we share thoughts on our rock climbing experience in Cochise Stronghold after getting acquainted outside of Tucson. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on Grand Canyon backpacking and their hunter/gatherer experience near Boulder, Utah!
Too often we take for granted the food that enters our bodies. We wake up, grab something for breakfast and off we go into the busyness of our day. Living at a New England boarding school, our connection to the food we eat becomes even more distant as we are fortunate to have talented dining service teams provide three warm meals a day to us. Thankfully, Proctor's Dining Services team's creativity in the kitchen and passion for serving healthy, local food options regularly reminds us to be acutely aware of how we are fueling our bodies for learning.
I appreciate the seamless flow of a well-executed play, celebrate the flat-out effort of a starter playing an entire game, marvel at acrobatic dunks, but essentially know nothing about the game. I have seen the miracle shot launched from half court at Proctor– DJ Rankin’s buzzer beater earlier in the season. And grit? All I have to do is think back to the girls’ win at KUA during the madness of the March playoffs.
~ Drew Childs
Just as Friday’s student panel during Revisit Day highlighted the impact of a Proctor education, today’s conversation between visiting families and current students reinforced how important it is to allow yourself to be curious. Nearly every student on the panel articulated how his or her experience at Proctor has been one of redefinition. But why is this? What environmental factors allow for this type of uncharacteristic vulnerability among adolescents at Proctor?
During Friday's Admissions Revisit Day, eleven students volunteered their time and to serve on a student-panel for visiting families. After Director of Admission Christina Dotchin opened the floor to questions from families, students responded without a script, prompts, or direction from any adults. It was a wonderful hour long window into the power of the Proctor experience from the student perspective.
This week’s March 30th editorial by Frank Bruni, College Admissions Shocker! is a humorous poke at the ridiculously competitive landscape of some of the top colleges in the country. The author of the editorial, and the best selling book Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, takes on the foolishness of college admissions rate in a delightfully provocative way. And it has got me thinking on the eve of our own Revisit Day about our own school, our own process, and what the difference is between the landscapes of independent secondary schools and colleges.