When I saw the image below (thanks Lindsey for another awesome set of photos this week!), I immediately shared on social media and fell in love with the visual of these pigeons carefully putting one foot in front of the other, hoping to not fall through the freshly formed ice on the Proctor Pond. After admiring the photo further, so much of the emotional journey we’ve been on over the past week came into focus.
Too often, we navigate this life of ours assuming we will be given tomorrow. We make plans for ourselves, for our families, set goals for the future. We, as we should, approach our daily life through a lens of hope, allowing ourselves to be inspired by what is possible as we push aside ‘worst case scenarios’ because we don’t want to let ourselves live in fear. And then tragedy enters our world. Optimism is dashed. The layered weight of grief consumes us. Today, we share with heavy hearts the passing of Lindsey Degon: a faculty member, sister, daughter, girl friend, mentor, friend, and fierce advocate for many of our students.
The bus stopped and exhaled before letting us leave. It had been the first part of our journey. The group and I were headed to Cabo de Gata for the last excursion before leaving Spain. Dropping down the steps and off the bus I collected my overly-packed suitcase and made my way towards the train station. The hours ticked on by as our journey continued through the window of my seat on the train. Sweeping hills and mountains clothed in snow or still showing remnants of the summer green sped past me. I recalled the times that I had been on a train here in Spain and where it has taken me during my months here.
Campus is quiet as students, faculty, and staff spend time with family and friends over the week of Thanksgiving. This time of transition between seasons affords the opportunity to reflect on past ten weeks of the Fall Term, while looking ahead to all that is possible this winter. Today's blog features a few photos our photographer, Lindsey Allenby, took over the past few weeks from the quiet corners of campus. Each captures the balance we seek during school vacations between reflection, rejuvenation, and planning for the future as we press pause for a few days on the various projects in our lives.
Landfall after 14 days at sea… Raising St. Croix from the crosstrees…Snorkeling in crystalline tropical waters…And seeing, first hand, the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria… All of these statements illustrate what our Ocean Classroom 2017 crew has experienced during the last few days. And now it’s on to San Juan and the end of this voyage of discovery.
Is November more beginning or more end? Is it the wind up as in the final stages when the last notes of a song are played or the last calculus problem set of the term is completed? Or the wind up like when a baseball pitcher shifts the seams, finds the curve grip, and collects for a single pitch that is simply one of many?
For the fourth time in the last eleven seasons, Proctor’s varsity football team has completed an undefeated season, following in the footsteps of the 2006, 2008, and 2012 teams who also ran the table in the Evergreen League. Proctor’s team was selected for its fourth New England Bowl berth in program history, earning a bid to the Wayne Sanborn Bowl vs Hamden Hall School scheduled for Friday evening at 5:00 PM at Worcester Academy.
On a run through Proctor’s cross country trails earlier last week, a Ted Radio Hour played on my headphones. The conversation, facilitated by Guy Raz, discussed Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how the groundbreaking research of Abraham Maslow in the 1950s laid a foundation for modern psychology (listen to the full show here). As I plodded through the woods on the cold November morning, admiring the rusty oak leaves for their perseverance and looking ahead to Holderness Weekend, my thoughts turned to the intersection of Maslow’s hierarchy and our work at Proctor.
Proctor Academy is incredibly excited to welcome the work of MeadEaglePhotos to campus in a new art installation in the Brown Dining Commons. The exhibit, Namaste: Images of India, is the first of hopefully many visiting installations to grace the walls of the new Brown Dining Commons which opened its doors in the fall of 2016. Read on to learn more about the exhibit, the artists, and their goal of increasing conversations around diverse cultures within educational settings.
I want to talk about about the appearance of the place: all the white buildings, the Mediterranean sea and the white sand beaches, even the red jellyfish that stung Michael. Out of all my time in Spain, Cabo de Gata is the most surreal place I have visited. I've seen pictures of settings like this online and on postcards, but I never actually thought that I would be here. Looking at the scenery in front of me was hardly a dream, yet I couldn't shake the feeling that I was in paradise.
Each season brings with it a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Over the past ten weeks, athletes and coaches have worked tirelessly to help their teams become the best version of themselves they can be. Our athletic mission statement clearly emphasizes the journey, not just the results. While we are thrilled with the post-season ambitions for our football and boys' soccer teams, as well as the outstanding finishes in league competition for our mountain bikers, cross country runners, and crew team, we are most proud of the effort and commitment our students and coaches demonstrated each afternoon.
Proctor graduates are collaborative, ethical individuals, ready to contribute productively to their communities. At least that is what we have written in our aspirational Profile of a Proctor Graduate statement. But how do we get them there? Well, part of the answer might be found in last night’s end-of-the term “Innovation Night.”
On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared a national celebration of Armistice Day, a day Calvin Coolidge would describe in 1926 as, "A day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace." President Eisenhower would later change the name Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 recognizing all those who had served in the US Armed Forces. For the 99th year, we will observe Veterans Day as a country tomorrow, but like many federal holidays, Proctor does not cancel classes, and business continues as usual. In the midst of our busyness, we want to pause and recognize those who have served our country.
Following the final whistles of today’s games, our attention shifts to a rekindling of the long-dormant end of season rivalry with that school up north. Born on the athletic field more than 100 years ago, Holderness Week took on new life in the late 1960s when former Colby College teammates David Fowler and Bill Clough were hired as football coaches at Proctor and Holderness, respectively. The rivalry intensified over the ensuing years as playful pranks between the schools unified generations of Proctor students and faculty in support of one another. Through the efforts of Holderness’ Rick Eccleston (son of long-time Proctor faculty member Tom Eccleston) and Proctor’s Gregor Makechnie ‘90, Holderness Weekend is back!
“Science is never spontaneous”. A brief sentence shared by science faculty member and Environmental Coordinator Alan McIntyre with his AP Environmental Science students last week that speaks to the intricacies of science our world of immediate gratification tends to ignore. Over the past weeks, Alan’s AP classes finished the final set of tests to conclude a ten-year analysis of the Proctor Pond. Now at the end of the study, they hope to have a clearer picture of the health and vitality of the beloved pond that sits at the heart of campus.
As I write this, Roseway has finally entered the trade winds and is making way towards St. Croix, with an expected arrival sometime late next week. The passage from Fernandina, Florida to St. Croix represents the longest offshore leg of our Ocean Classroom program (+/- 10 days) and encompasses so much of what voyaging is about.
The quiet, generous help of PAPA (Proctor Academy Parent Association) is everywhere at Proctor when I reflect on the fall term. Winding all the way back to the start of school, even before the start of school, parent volunteers have continuously stepped forward to make a difference. Day Student Picnic. Registration. Open House. Adopt a Team. Adopt a Dorm. Fall Family Weekend. And the most recent example? You only had to pass through the Wise to witness Halloween dance decorations - a term which loosely does justice to the shrieking bats, giants skulls with red eyes, and the drifting, life-sized ghosts - to appreciate their commitment to the community.
As usual the blur of noise, that is otherwise known as people speaking fluent Spanish, surrounded me. I looked around at my family trying to capture the few words that I knew as they flew out of their mouths and across the table rapidly. Once again I decided that there was no hope for this night and my understanding of their complex foreign conversation, so I turned my head back down to my tortilla and ketchup. Ketchup, I thought to myself. Last night we had tortilla and tomato sauce, so this is a nice change. I drifted into deep thoughts on ketchup vs tomato sauce, and, just as my mind was beginning to make a complete exit, I noticed the noise around me had stopped. Uh oh. Somebody had just asked me a question and I didn't know what it was, and now they are all waiting for an answer. I was sure of it. It is a regular occurrence.
For the past fifteen years, Proctor’s Mountain Bike team has been at the center of the sport’s boom at the high school level in New England (read more about the rise of mountain biking in New England here). Now with nearly thirty teams from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts competing weekly, the Northern New England Mountain Bike league has become a mecca for high school cyclists in the Northeast with more than 400 riders competing each week. At Saturday’s league championships hosted by Gould Academy, Proctor earned second place overall as a team and garnered a number of first place individual honors.