It’s amazing how much your surroundings can change in just a three hour train ride. Travelling from our small town of Aix-en-Provence to the bustling city of Paris was a drastic change of scenery.
We entered the stadium, more than eager to finally lay eyes on the incredible, god-like athletes that we have been looking up to since we were young kids. We walked up a long flight of stairs and entered a long hallway full of entrances to the large, beautiful soccer pitch home to Real Madrid Club de Fútbol. We were all in shock; it was beautifully kept and just an all around majestic looking place. Although we were not yet at our seats, our eyes were locked on the view of the field. The first thing we all quickly pointed out was the large poof of hair jogging in the distance, and, although it was hard to see from where we were standing, we all knew without a doubt that we were looking at none other than Real Madrid’s Marcelo.
The past two decades have spoiled us as New England fans. Think about it; five Super Bowl wins for the Patriots since 2002. World Series Championships in 2004, 2007, 2013 for the Red Sox. The Bruins (2011) and Celts (2008) have done their share of winning as well. Much of the country (let’s be honest...everyone outside of New England) thinks we New Englanders take this success for granted and are pompous, spoiled fans who do not fully appreciate each championship run. To this, we scoff and look to the finer points of a championship run that keep us just as excited this year as we were in 2002; the personal storylines within the story that connect us on a personal level to “our” team’s success. This year, one of those storylines involves our very own Anna Zerilli ‘19.
Proctor's Mountain Classroom group visited the Tohono O’dham Reservation in Arizona and completed three and a half day solos in the Arizona dessert over the past week. Check out reflections from Luke '18, Augie '19, and Julian '19 in the blog post below. The group apologizes for fewer photos and videos this week (broken camera/phone), but promises more to come next week. Enjoy!
Whenever we look at our school calendar in August, we see Bonus Weekend just three and a half weeks into the new year, and often scoff at the notion we would need a respite that soon after Winter Break. And then the realities of January hit us, and we always enter this weekend incredibly thankful for a few days off. The challenge this time of year is to step back, in the midst of our busy schedules, and appreciate the incredible amount of hard work that goes into daily life at Proctor. We must pause and allow ourselves to recharge.
Proctor's ski jumping program is as storied as any high school jumping program in the country. Built through the hard work of former faculty member Tim Norris over the past fifty years, the jumping program is now under the guidance of Chris Jones '04, one of Tim's former jumpers. At their first home meet of the 2018 season, first year jumpers Ezra Taylor '21 and Peter Koumrian '20 put forth a great effort, including a first place finish by Ezra! Read more about the ski jumping program's rejuvenation from the coach's perspective in this week's team spotlight.
Every day, Proctor students are called to indulge in their curiosities, challenge themselves, and try something new. This same ‘trying something new’ mantra has guided the World Languages Department over the past few years as instructors have been experimenting with different pedagogical approaches to classroom structure. As Ross, Ale, Erik, Jon and Scott discover creative ways to teach timeless lessons, we are reminded that a culture of learning is hinged on educational exploration for all community members, where individuals evolve with each passing season.
We landed in Madrid after roughly nine hours of traveling. We were jet lagged and tired, but the excitement of beginning this next chapter of our lives kept our spirits and energy up. After nearly getting lost on our connecting flight in Ireland and and a very uncomfortable and turbulent ride to Madrid, we were ready for our adventure to begin. We met Ryan and Mikaela outside baggage claim, where we hopped on a bus and were on our way to Segovia.
There are the upsides. We couldn’t do half of what we do today without technology. It’s made us smarter, more collaborative, and the benefits are clear even if it’s just writing an essay on Google docs or incorporating video into a bio lab report, or skittering through an Excel spreadsheet. But it’s also arriving with unprecedented force, delivered at ever higher pressurized streams. It’s like fracking, that practice of drilling into shale deposits and injecting super compressed fluids - “slick water” with “proppants” - to drive out oil or natural gas trapped in the rock. With technology fracking, the aps, news, entertainment, and social media injected into the bedrock of communities is consequential. It raises the question: what’s being damaged?
I was sitting today...processing January...yes processing January. When you have -18 degrees one day, 52 degrees and 2" of rain with flooding a week later, challenges with discipline, challenges with relationships, and challenges in class, yet simultaneously seeing students produce beautiful writing, art, music, comedy, (even a yo-yo master), and then celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. while tackling the challenges we still face as a nation when it comes to freedom and equity, you must process January.
Proctor Academy's term-long Mountain Classroom program reconnected after Winter Break in El Paso, Texas to kick off 2018 and the final seven weeks of their trip to the American Southwest. As the group camped in El Paso and discussed their upcoming adventures, illness swept through the group in epic fashion. While it was not the start they wanted to 2018, there are lessons in everything, including the flu, and the sickness did not stop them from rock climbing and exploring Gila National Park. Read Anna's '19 and Sam's '18 reflections on week four of Mountain Classroom 2018 below.
What does MLK Day mean to you? This was the question posed at the start of our community assembly today. Equality. Work yet to be done. Celebrating diversity. Love for our brothers and sisters. Perseverance. A fight worth fighting. Civil rights. As each person stood and shared a word or phrase, you could see a cracked door into their life as light shone on each individual’s story. For some of us, our story has long been openly read by those around us. For others of us, we've allowed our story to collect dust for years as we have clung tightly to our thoughts and emotions for fear of judgement. This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration at Proctor provided connection through self-reflection; an invaluable exercise we must never limit to a singular day in mid-January stamped as a federal holiday.
One of the best parts of the Hays Speaking Contest comes right after the last speech has been given. Sitting in the back of the auditorium it unfolds like a fan around the seven participants who stand in the front of the room. Family, friends, and teachers make their way down to congratulate the students who have spoken their truth, and from the back the fan seems to open up slowly, pushing its way across the stage, and the truth of the night’s words rise up and swirl.
Today’s blue skies, warm sunshine, and clear pathways will soon give way to more than an inch of rain and unseasonably warm temperatures tomorrow and Friday. The weather patterns this winter have been changing at the same breakneck speed with which we navigate the Winter Term at Proctor. Sunrises, classes, assembly, afternoon programs, races, games, rehearsals, extra help sessions, study hall, college counseling meetings, sunsets blur into a life that is equal parts invigorating and exhausting. In order to set our eyes on the invigorating, and not solely on the exhausting, we must intentionally carve out time to press pause and connect with each other.
As we brave the bitter sub-zero temperatures of January in New Hampshire, many of us have found ourselves wishing for warmer climates and sunny beaches. George Kaknes ‘71 spent thirty years of his life living in some of the most beautiful places on earth as he helped families fulfill their travel dreams with an international tour agency. After a lifetime of worldwide adventure, he has found his way back home to New England and reconnected with Proctor. In this Alumni Profile, George reflects on the lessons he learned as a student.
In the fall of 1968, Dick Bellefeuille arrived on campus with his wife, Helen, and his young family. Along with serving as the dorm parent in Mary Lowell Stone, Mr. Bellefeuille (as he was always known by students) taught Spanish and coached reserve football, skating club, and lacrosse. Over the next thirty-two years (1968-1999), he would expand his teaching role to the science and math departments and become Proctor’s first athletic trainer in the 1980s. Through these varied roles, his career impacted thousands of students’ lives and left an indelible mark on the Proctor community. On December 28, Dick passed away at home in Concord, New Hampshire under the care of hospice.
Forecasting the weather has always been a tricky endeavor. The early calls for Thursday’s storm were for wind, a little snow and cold weather backing in after the event, but nothing epic. Nothing like a winter hurricane. Nothing like Grayson’s bombogenesis of 24 hours. And there is something delicious in the unpredictability, something cleansing in the wildness of a storm.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented cold stretch in central New Hampshire as daytime temperatures have not climbed above 5 degrees and nightime lows have consistently been -10 degrees or colder for the past six days. Students will return from Winter Break this evening to relatively balmy temperatures in the upper single digits. Keeping Proctor's forty-five buildings and myriad heating systems within each running has kept our Maintenance Team incredibly busy during this stretch. Today, we pause in the midst of a professional development day to thank them for their tireless commitment to keeping us warm!