What is it that drives us to the ocean, to shorelines, out on the water where the blues turn to grey, the ripples build to waves, the zephyrs strengthen into gales? We are a landlocked school, tucked up next to rock-ribbed granite of New Hampshire. Our proximity is to rivers and lakes, to ski mountains and biking trails. And yet, as today’s launching of Ocean Classroom reminds us, we are drawn to the ocean, to harbors, waterfronts, lighthouses and passages that bear us outward. Today nearly two dozen students will go to Boston and find the Roseway, Captain Flansberg, a World Ocean School crew, and two Proctor educators. They will walk the decks with their duffels over their shoulders to ease down gangways and find assigned berths below. They are beginning their term at sea. That beckoning to adventure and discovery, that call to the sea, is in us all.
About a week from now, the 2017 Proctor Magazine will be arriving in mailboxes around the country. A theme woven throughout this year’s magazine centers on the necessity of building a strong foundation for each of our students. Understanding the complex lives of adolescents, the often conflicting priorities they feel (which is more important: sleep or studying?), and our role as adults helping them navigate the daily decisions they make are all critical to nurturing a vibrant learning community.
We’re here! Michael, Matt, Chloe, Caitlyn, Zina, and Mila have arrived in Segovia, Spain. It was 5:00am in the morning Spain time, but it was 11:00pm local time in the U.S. So you can guess we all looked like the walking dead. After meeting our host families and getting settled into our new homes for the next two months, we were left to sleep much of the day because of the time change. As you can imagine it wasn't hard to completely collapse into our new beds.
We all know the Harry Potter series, and most are familiar with the beginning of the school year at Hogwarts when new students find themselves placed in houses like Gryffindor or Slytherin with all the attending alliances and associations, reputations and personalities. The “Sorting Hat” places the new students at Hogwarts. The choosing is not their own. And in some way a similar process has played out across Proctor this week as afternoon team activities ramp up and coaches work towards roster decisions. And now, at the end of the week, cuts have been made, and teams have started to coalesce. Roles have been determined. It's not quite the Sorting Hat, but it can feel that way.
After nearly two weeks of unofficial starts to the school year, the first day of classes has finally arrived. All 371 students are in classes (except Ocean Classroom students who depart a week from Friday), we’ve had our first assembly of the year, have met with advisories, held our first dorm meetings, and gathered with our athletics/afternoon activity groups for the first time. As we begin to settle into a rhythm this fall, we recognize the opportunity a new year provides to define ourselves both as individuals and as a community.
Day three of the Wilderness Orientation and pre-season sports camps and I can’t help but reflect on an article read earlier this morning in the New York Times: It’s 10P.M. Do You Know What Apps Your Children Are Using?For our students in the Pemi Wilderness on their Wilderness Orientation the question is easy to answer. Their App is an MSR stove, a fire, a chicken noodle Cup of Soup. Their connection is a connection of shared experiences standing under a rain fly waiting out a rain squall, sharing stories around a hot meal, collectively whooping when the sun peeks out. Theirs is a personal connection, the best kind of connection, the connections that cannot be replicated on line.
Proctor’s athletic teams welcomed 127 new and returning students to Preseason Sports Camp 2017. While official varsity tryouts will not take place until after Wilderness Orientation returns allowing all new students an opportunity to try-out, these five days of training are crucial to building a foundation on which Proctor’s athletic program will operate during the upcoming season.
About a month ago, a mother robin built her nest directly above the entrance to Proctor’s Admissions Office. For days on end, I lugged a ladder out of the closet and tried to snap the perfect picture of the nest full of chicks. Alas, I was never able to capture a good enough of picture to post. Late last week, when I checked the nest on my way into the office, it was empty. Mama robin had done her job. She fiercely protected and successfully raised four babies until they were able to fly out of the nest and into a life of their own.