We are heartbroken to share that long-time faculty member Patrice Martin passed away peacefully Tuesday evening after a long battle with cancer at the age of 65.
Mountain Classroom entered the "final phase" of the term in New York before making their way to Vermont. During final phase students take full responsibility for their community culture and all logistics. Exams were held at a cabin over two miles from the trailhead at the Merck Forest and Farm Center. With academics over, the students headed off on a celebratory backpacking loop on the Long Trail.
This weekend we celebrated Proctor Academy's 169th Commencement alongside the Class of 2017 and their families. Each of the 109 members of the Class of 2017 impacted the Proctor community in a unique way. It is impossible to quantify the impact a class has on a school community, but what we do know is we are going to miss the Class of 2017 dearly! Thankfully, we were able to recognize the diverse talents and tremendous contributions of this graduating class throughout Friday's Senior Dinner and Saturday's Commencement exercises. Check out some highlights of the weekend below.
Proctor’s annual Senior Project Exhibition and Express Fest marks the end of our seniors’ high school academic responsibilities, while providing a perfect experiential bookend to the journey that began on Wilderness Orientation four years ago. Express Fest and the presentation of Senior Art Awards also affords the community one more opportunity to appreciate the incredible talent among the 109 members of the Class of 2017.
After hours of traveling in trains and buses, we entered the city different from all others, Sevilla. I say that Sevilla is different from all other cities for quite a few reasons. First I will describe the people. In most cities we have traveled to, people are very rushed and will walk right through you if you let them; for example, in Madrid if you don't keep your head up on the sidewalk you will be tossed around the pavement as if you were in a football game. In Sevilla there is a much different feeling. Most of the people are more than willing to take a minute to help you if you are lost. The people shift along the sidewalk so that everyone is moving in a rhythm, flowing like a wave.
It can be hard to believe that living in France studying art can count as school, and after completing the program it is even harder to imagine. That is not to say that living over here is smooth sailing 24/7. I am living and breathing art, creating art and seeing art from both my peers and the Dutch Masters. I love developing skills, working to become better at something and in this case art. So if you are taking this program seriously it isn’t always easy, but it can be a lot of fun.
Each year approximately 20% of the Proctor Academy's graduating class goes on to compete in collegiate athletics. The Class of 2017 is no exception as 27 members of the class (of 109 students) are pursuing careers at the collegiate level, including a remarkable seven NCAA Division 1 athletes! Thank you to all members of the Class of 2017 for their contributions to Proctor's athletic programs over the past four years, and to Rich Tilton P'16, '18 for the photography in this article.
Every weekend at boarding school is packed with classes, games, and activities, but few are as exciting as the past 48 hours have been at Proctor! Throughout alumni basketball, tennis, softball, and lacrosse games, the producition of the Spring Musical, the display of student work at the Spring Art Shows, the 5th Annual On Your Mark 5K race, and Spring Fling, we were reminded how much fun it is to be a part of the Proctor community. Enjoy this brief recap of the weekend through photos.
The conclusion of wilderness solos meant that it was time to embark on our final academic unit in food systems: small-scale sustainable agriculture. There is no better place than Polyface Farm to start the discussions that this unit warrants. From Virginia we drove to Allentown, PA to challenge ourselves physically by running a 10K. And then it was on to Lake Taghkanic State Park in Upstate NY where we camped while visiting farms in the beautiful Hudson Valley.
Heading into the 2017 baseball season, Head Coach Mark Tremblay knew he had a solid core of seniors who would put up a fight, but no one could have imagined the journey they would take the Proctor community on over the next two months. Battling early season snow, mid-season rain, and late season black flies, Proctor's Varsity Baseball team ran the table this spring with 15 straight wins on its way to the program's first regular season Lakes Region title in more than twenty years, and first Lakes Region tournament championship on Saturday afternoon.
Proctor Academy's spring athletic season has come to an end after unprecedented rain wrought havoc on game schedules all term. Despite early season snow and mid/late season rains, the Hornets buzzed to historic finishes in a number of different sports as varsity baseball, varsity boys' tennis, and varsity golf all entered their respective Lakes Region Tournaments on Wednesday with undefeated records. Varsity softball and boys' varsity lacrosse also had great seasons, posting an 8-3 record and 13-4 record, respectively.
Last games, last projects, last rehearsals, and last snow…. the year winds down. Watching the ski area to see when the last snow will fade from the middle trail is like watching the final pinches of sand running through an hourglass. Cupped by a dip in the middle trail this white patch has been diminishing slowly in May, and Tuesday it finally disappeared. One last time I visited winter, touching its cold while across the valley the flanks of Ragged flashed summer green. The season turns over, the overlap of beginnings and endings similar to a school transitioning from one year to the next.
Friday and Saturday evenings, Proctor’s theater department presents Beauty and the Beast in the Wilkins Meeting House. The Disney classic adapted for the stage features well known songs, plenty of drama, and wonderful comedic timing by members of the cast. For seniors Cope Makechnie (Belle), Jay Piere (Lumiere), Addie Lindley (Babette), Grey Bechok (Maurice), Cyrus Davis, Matt Arruda, Drew Childs, and Jacqui Morris this weekend provides one final opportunity to share their talents on stage!
Since its earliest days, Proctor’s passion for skiing and snowsports has pulsed through its veins. Known as the “School on Skis” throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Proctor’s commitment to snowsports has continued to grow through significant investments in both infrastructure and program over the past decade. The award winning Proctor Ski Area, an on-campus, FIS certified alpine and Nordic race venue with full-snowmaking, serves as home base for more than 150 snowsport athletes each winter, including Proctor’s elite USSA alpine program. Proctor is now proud to announce it has been awarded Podium Certification at the Bronze level by U.S. Ski and Snowboard!
During a visit to the Dartmouth Entrepreneurship (DEN) for Project Period, Dartmouth’s Director of Entrepreneurship,Jamie Coughlin, described innovation and entrepreneurship as THE 21st century skill students must possess as they enter the workforce. Over the past three years, Proctor has taken Jamie’s advice and run with it through the development of new courses in Social Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, the adaptation of existing courses to focus heavily on hands-on innovation projects, and the introduction of semi-annual Innovation Nights to showcase student projects each fall and spring.
This spring’s weather has created significant challenges for Proctor’s tennis and golf teams. The rain (and even snow) haven’t stopped boys’ varsity tennis, girls’ varsity tennis, and varsity golf squads from competing, and winning, against the Lakes Region’s finest. Both boys’ varsity tennis and golf boast undefeated records, while girls’ varsity tennis holds a 5-2 record, as teams head into their respective Lakes Region Tournaments Wednesday afternoon. We were able to catch up with team captains and seniors to reflect on their success this spring.
Proctor's Mountain Classroom program set our sights on Salina, KS as we departed South Dakota. We visited The Land Institute to learn about their plant breeding programs as a part of our food systems curriculum. From Salina, we drove due east to Green Sulphur Springs, WV where we hiked into the hills for our wilderness solos.
Dave Pilla was talking about this in a report to the board of trustees last weekend when he and two of his students, Eliza Orne and Kevin Barry, talked about the stewardship of Proctor’s lands. The concept of thinking seven generations into the future (about 140 years) is attributed the Iroquois laws. It’s about the ripple of today’s decisions, about caring for more than a moment. If we cut this stand of white pine, what’s the impact? If we plant chestnut trees at Elbow, how does the next generation benefit? Or the generation after that? This concept may not have the currency it should in today’s ‘now’ world, but I had the chance this week to spend Wednesday with three individuals, who over a significant portion of the school’s history, helped set the course of Proctor, shaped its arc, and ensured that actions of the past would ripple into the future in positive ways. These are seven-generation thinkers.
As the year comes to an end and we prepare to watch the Class of 2017 head off to their many college destinations, we are always conflicted. Where is she going to college? Did he get off the waiting list at so-and-so University? Why do we do this? We cannot help ourselves. We have read the articles by Frank Bruni, analysed the data showing the lack of correlation between elite schools and economic success, and the longitudinal studies showing that happiness cannot be ranked by US News and World Report.
I think that I speak for all of us when I say I was a little hesitant to travel to Lisbon, Portugal. After studying the language for a handful of days, the only thing I could confidently say was "Uma mulheres esta nadando" (the women are swimming) and "ola!" (Hello!). Soon though, when our plane our plane flew over Lisbon and started to descend and touch down, all my worries about the language flew away and I was left with excitement and anticipation for the week ahead of me.
As a Proctor student I have done a number of things in the community, some of which involved stepping out of my comfort zone. I have gone to Guatemala on a Summer Service trip, played varsity football, helped the varsity basketball win a championship in England, and spent a term abroad in Segovia, Spain. Traveling has always been easy for me, so they weren't necessarily risks, but going out on Wilderness Orientation was a huge step out of my comfort zone. As was running for school leader and putting myself out there last spring. However, I never thought I would participate in the musical. I have always attended previous productions, but never thought that I would one day be up on stage. That all changed this spring.
Proctor's Mountain Classroom program turned our focus to Colorado's grasslands as we drove to Chico Basin Ranch to study rotational grazing and ranch management. Our experience was facilitated by Lee Derr, a local bird banding expert and grassland ecologist. The next stop was St Francis, SD, on the Rosebud Reservation. There we spent time with the White Hat family, whose longstanding relationship with Proctor has been a fixture of Mountain Classroom for years.
This past week Scott King shared a recording of the vocal ensemble singing a medley of tunes, and the recording reminded me of two things: first, the range of talent in our community is impressive; secondly, that wonder is a local commodity sometimes inspired by small moments that can have disproportionate impact. An eight-minute recording can impact a day, a week, sometimes a month. It lingers. Echoes.
Coming off an impressive run to the an extra-inning defeat in the Lakes Region Championship last season, the Proctor Academy varsity softball team is back and ready to contend for another run deep into May. With a young roster and a new coach coming back to coach her alma mater, the Hornets have feared in the Lakes Region League due to their outstanding pitching, solid hitting, and great chemistry. After another dominating 15-0 win over Kimball Union Academy on Wednesday, the team sits at 7-1 and poised for a Lakes Region title run.
The loud mechanical whirring of the splitter starting up is a nuisance to some but music to others, it is the tell-tale symphony of spring. The clunk of the log being put on the splitter, the hydraulics powering up, the first crack of wood against the wedge and then comes the complete split and the sputtering of the cylinder. Finally, the dropping of the log in the metal truck bed, which adds a hint of percussion to the melody.
Proctor is well known as one of the least formal of all the New England boarding schools. Students call faculty and staff by their first names (read Boomer's '17 post on this!), we do not have formal, sit down meals as a community, and daily dress code is relatively relaxed (neat and clean makes the cut). While there are numerous benefits to this informality (not the least of which is happy and comfortable students and faculty), sometimes it’s nice to get dressed up, and Spring Formal provides just the opportunity!
Proctor math teachers, Kristen Martin and Chris Farrell, joined Mountain Classroom in Salida, CO for a weekend of hiking, soaking in hot springs, seeing downtown, and mountain biking. From Salida we drove southeast to the beautiful Beulah Valley where we were hosted by Linda and David Overlin. The Overlins have a wealth of knowledge on ranching and the surrounding grasslands and are skilled craftspeople. They welcomed us to camp in their backyard while guiding us through projects in their wood and metal shop.