I used to walk down the halls of my large public high school and hide. I was terrified of having a discussion with a teacher or administrator. I had always been a fairly shy person, but school had exacerbated this trait to a new level. As I got older, it began to influence my performance in school. I did not allow myself to have conversations about assignments, or ask questions about material covered in class.
One of my favorite books, The Man Who Planted Trees, is a fictional account of shepherd who lives in a ravaged and wild landscape in a simple hut with his dog and the acorns that he sorts, soaks, and carries with him to plant each day as he tends his flock. A young man who is hiking to escape the tangled destruction of an overly industrialized world encounters the shepherd. The hiker befriends the shepherd and visits him over decades, witnessing the growth of a forest, sees a water table restored, and notices an abundance of species returning to the hills. He marvels and is inspired by the work of a single planter of trees.
Shortly after the first nationwide Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970, Proctor launched its own Earth Day tradition of dedicating one academic class day each spring to reaffirming our deep commitment to environmental stewardship through hands-on workshops. Today, more than fifty small, faculty sponsored workshops allowed the entire community to pause from the breakneck pace of the Spring Term in order to reconnect with the natural world that surrounds us.
It takes a special coaching staff and team to thrive during baseball season in New Hampshire. April rain (and too often snow) combined with the the impending swarms of blackflies test the heartiness of Proctor’s baseball faithful. For head coach Mark Tremblay, his eleventh season at the helm of Proctor’s baseball program is turning out to be one of his most rewarding to date as his six seniors lead the way through a challenging Lakes Region schedule in pursuit of the program’s first Lakes Region Championship.
It was the beginning of a very typical week, we had just gotten back from Granada and were just getting back into our daily routine. But walking back to our homestay on that Tuesday night was different. There was an unusual sound of heavy drumming in the air and crowds were filling the street. Upon getting closer you see the hooded capes of all different sizes slowly marching up to the Cathedral walls. First you would see two lines of these figures filing up the streets with large metal staffs, followed by hooded children. Then comes the incense swinging side to side and introducing the large “float” of a religious figure. Each float comes from a church and is typically either carried or pushed throughout the narrow streets to the Cathedral in the Plaza Mayor.
Entering Colorado provided Mountain Classroom with the opportunity to head to over 10,000 feet in pursuit of snow. We made home at Leadville's High Mountain Institute where we rented skis and down pants, among other gear, for going adventuring in the Mosquito Range. Our mission was to enjoy the spring skiing and learn about how adaptable the human body is at elevation and in snow camping conditions. It was a blast!
It is hard to believe 4 years ago I was applying to college. It is even harder to believe I am in my last semester at St. Lawrence University preparing for my next journey in life… a career. It is a common understanding as a senior not to talk about the dreaded "J" word because we get enough inquiries from parents, relatives, and professors who constantly ask, “Do you know what you are doing after graduation?”
Each academic year only 16 students are selected to be a part of European Art Classroom. To say that it is a privilege to be in Aix and travel around Europe is an understatement. Proctor has challenged and stretched me as a student and as an individual. Being here as a student in Europe is no different. We might not have the same rigid 8:00 am to 5:30 pm schedule, but we are challenged in other ways. We are given more freedom to explore and when I say explore, I do not mean just the sites.
With Spring Family Weekend upon us, we have already reached the midpoint in the spring athletic season. For the boys’ varsity lacrosse team, the first four weeks of the season have been jam-packed with games, including challenging out-of-league matchups with some of New England’s strongest squads. For coaches Tucker Prudden and Phil Goodnow, as well as captains Chandler Devaney ‘17, Dillon Fitzpatrick ‘17, and Sam Fulton ‘17, the team’s hard work has laid a foundation for future success during the second half of the season.
Midterms are complete and we enter Spring Family Weekend with the anticipation that the end of the school year is within site. As our families prepare to travel to campus to sit in on classes, assembly and engage in parent/teacher conferences, we offer a comprehensive guide to ensure everyone gets the most out of Spring Family Weekend 2017!
This was our first time traveling and leaving our little Aix bubble and the daily routine we follow each day. We were taking a break from “hanging around” and going on a “Grand Tour” of France’s capital, Paris. It seems that in Paris, everything happens due to it’s artists and historically showing it all off at the great Expos of the past.
Proctor's Mountain Classroom community transitioned to a hunter/gatherer mindset as we drove away from California. On our way to Boulder, UT we paddled through the Black Canyon seeking out hot springs around every corner. Once in Boulder we began fasting in preparation for learning how to butcher a sheep under the direction of Laurel Holding and Carrie Ryan. Both have acquired their skills over many years as instructors for various organizations, including the Boulder Outdoor Survival School.
The Cloud Forest School in the Monteverde Region of Costa Rica once again welcomed four Proctor Academy sophomores to their spectacular rain forests and generous host family homes for the Spring Term. This unique off-campus program allows a select group of tenth graders to study abroad while continuing their core sophomore classes at the Cloud Forest School. After four weeks of living, learning, and exploring Costa Rica, Auggie '19, Ellie '19, Will '19, and Asher '19 share photos and reflections on their term abroad to date!
As coaches of high school athletes, we know well each season brings with it a new set of challenges - new roles, replacing graduating seniors, injuries, snow, rain, more snow. Navigating the unknowns keeps our job exciting. For girls’ varsity lacrosse coaches Jill Jones Grotnes, Kate Austin ‘01, and Caroline Murphy, this spring has done exactly that. As the team prepares for two games this weekend, the leadership of captains Makena Gorman ‘17 and Emily Saef ‘17 will prove critical to guiding one of the youngest girls’ varsity lacrosse teams in the league to a successful campaign.
The best ones are those that you move in and out of seamlessly, that offer delight, bring laughter, and deepen an understanding of the world. They are the friendships forged over years, spanning decades. Sometimes, in rare instances, a friendship will touch a community, its impact ringing out the way a bell rings out, looping its peels in ever widening circles. That’s the kind of friendship Proctor has with John Around Him, who has been on campus this week. He has brought the experience of his travels in the world and the wisdom of the Lakota people to Proctor’s campus, and we have delighted in his return as one delights in a visit of the closest of friends.
Waking up on a sunny Monday morning in Segovia, we met together as a group in front of the bus station, and set out for the trip to Andalucia. First taking the high-speed train to Madrid, then Antequera and finally a coach bus to the city of Granada, we have experienced the conspicuous convenience of the ground transportation in Spain. Granada is located in the very south part of Spain, close to the coastline of Mar de Alboran (the westernmost part of the Mediterranean Sea).
As we walk through our daily life, a silent voice speaks over our shoulder with every decision we make, “Don’t mess up. People are watching. Don’t mess up.” In a world where our work, and consequently our learning, takes place in more of a public forum than ever before, we wrestle with the dichotomy of perfection and learning, a fear of failure and need for experimentation. How do we fight back against this fear of failure? At Proctor, we believe it’s a fight worth fighting.
For many, the game is too slow. Pitchers amble around the mound, rub the ball, peer around the bases, shake off signs … and drive many sports fans to reach for the remote and another channel. In any given game, 90% of the players on either team might be idle and have nothing to do except find the Gatorade cooler or a packet of sunflower seeds. Outfielders can stand for inning after inning and never see a ball in their zip code. At its most blistering, baseball keeps pace with golf. Football, soccer, and lacrosse – those games move at broadband speeds compared to baseball’s dial-up pace.
And yet, maybe baseball is the game we need more than ever.
On Friday, we will welcome 67 prospective families to campus for the second of our two Admissions Revisit Days. Last week, we asked our prospective families to ‘get real’ (read more in THIS BLOG) as they toured schools one last time before making their final decision. Today, we ask our visiting families to consider the role of an independent school in their child’s development.
Mountain Classroom is spending our spring studying food. We started the term by getting our hands dirty on the Midland School’s farm in Los Olivos, CA. Ranch Manager, Nick Tranmer, was our gracious host, as we camped out in a beautiful field nearby campus, before heading into the San Rafael Wilderness for a first aid themed backpacking trip. After backpacking we returned our thoughts to food systems by visiting Duncan Family Farms, a large-scale organic farm growing salad greens in New Cuyama. Now we are en route to the Colorado River for a canoeing trip in the Black Canyon below the Hoover Dam.
While complaining there is “nothing to do on the weekends” seems to be a right of passage for every adolescent (enrolled at boarding school or otherwise), Proctor’s weekend activities council does a masterful job planning Weekend Love each week. The breadth of on- and off-campus activities offered varies week to week, taking on the personality of the faculty assigned weekend team duties, and there is always something to do.