Sometimes we forget how much talent surrounds us in this tight knit school community. We see faces walk by on the paths, interact with students in classes, advisory, at meals, and in the dorms, and just know them as regular kids. And then they step foot on the stage, the court, the ice, or the hill and a whole different set of talents are exposed. Whether it was Annie performing an original song at the Jazz/Rock Ensemble, Logan showcasing his growth as a vocalist at the choral concert, Cooper putting on a break taking performance in the winter play alongside a talented cast and crew, or countless students displaying their artwork at the Winter Art Show, the past week reminded us how talented our student body is, how passionate our arts faculty are, and how much this community values the intersection of the arts with academics, athletics, and afternoon program.
While the winter athletic season is not officially over (hockey and basketball teams await NEPSAC playoff bids, Nordic skiers compete at the NEPSAC Championship at the Proctor Ski Area Saturday, and USSA/FIS skiers continue to race until late March), we celebrated the collective work of coaches, students, and the athletic department during Friday's assembly. Hosting and traveling to over 300 different games/races/competitions, running daily practices, coordinating buses for fifteen different teams, and sharing scores and highlights from various programs requires considerable effort by Proctor's athletic department and coaching staff.
Gun violence. I would rather not write about this topic. I would rather write about listening to the singers who performed in the chapel last Sunday, or Corby talking about his art, or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (performed tonight and tomorrow night). I’d rather write about ski jumping or basketball, women’s hockey or Nordic races. I’d rather update on the construction in the Field House or the latest heroics on Maintenance. I’d rather sing the praises of the artists who dominated the art show up at the Ava Gallery in Lebanon. But my weekly Notes can’t always be whipped cream and bonbons.
Proctor is incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful spaces begging for art to displayed. Through the efforts of Molly Leith, Arts Department Chair Bill Wightman, COO John Ferris, and our Maintenance team, we have transformed empty wall space throughout campus into intentional art exhibits that speak not only to the soul of Proctor, but to the talent, culture, and creativity we admire in the world around us. Check out current and future art exhibits currently open around campus!
Proctor Academy's European Art Classroom study abroad program enters completed its sixth week of painting, traveling, studying, and immersing themselves in the various cultures of Europe. Their most recent excursion to Florence, Italy proved to be one of the most powerful yet. Check out photos and reflections from Karly '18 in this week's blog.
Coleman Horn's '86 journey to becoming a revolutionary soft goods design consultant began in Proctor's woodshop, metal shop, and dark room more than thirty years ago. Read more about Coleman's work designing many of the outdoor products we use today and his reflections on the impact Proctor had on his path in this alumni profile.
This is a story taking a little over half a century to unfold, and at the same time it is a promise of what is yet to unfold. It is a tale that is neither epic nor incidental. It’s personal, yes. I could claim it’s only about me. But somehow it seems much bigger. Whatever it is, Proctor is at the center of it.
Four times a year Proctor’s Board of Trustees arrive on campus for two days of meetings, conversations, and planning. They are parents, alumni, and friends of the school and their relationship can stretch back decades or just a year or two. They come to Andover to share their talents and their love for the school, bringing invaluable perspective from different worlds. Renovations or running an endowment? What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur or artist? They’ve got that. They are not on campus four times a year to be prescriptive but to help, and their wisdom and work contributes mightily to the success of Proctor.
The past two weeks for Proctor Academy's Mountain Classroom group have been packed with challenges that have forced students to get proximate to their learning. The Borderlinks portion of the Mountain Classroom program exposes students in person to the border issues that exist between Mexico and the United States. Through time spent on both sides of the border, students gained a powerful window into the depth and layers of border issues. Following border studies, the group traveled to Baja California for a sea kayaking expedition. This post is a long, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Student leadership sold Candy-Grams during lunch today and will place them in mailboxes tomorrow morning. We anticipate the normal adolescent flirting to tick up just a bit on this day of love, and there will probably be at least a few deliveries of flowers by secret admirers before the end of the day tomorrow. This post may have been triggered by Valentine's Day, but the focus is far from the Hallmark holiday before us. Instead, I want to dig into an aspect of “love” that I believe every school should nurture with more intentionality. So bear with me as we take a circuitous route through Valentine’s Day, hugs, love, academics, and institutional evolution.
Have you ever fallen in love? With a city of course, because we have. The group was going to embark on one of the biggest adventures of a lifetime. On Wednesday morning the group boarded the bus that would take us to the Segovia train station, which would take us to Madrid and then into Barcelona. A day full of travel, worse than it seems. We went from bus to train to another train and finally rode the high-speed train right into Barcelona. “Big, Bad, and Bold” as Nicole said when we found out this was going to be the city we would explore for the next three days.
It’s the mountain that clanked and rattled and almost shut down. The t-bar gears clattered so much you could hear them across the valley. The cement slabs across the Hameshop Brook, the “bridge”, was slowly settling to become a beaver dam accessory. The “groomer,” better suited to smoothing snowmobile trails, labored up and down the hill, coaxed along by Garry George. The snow making was first generation, vintage at best, and when the lights flickered on at dusk, dusky corners held their ground. A dozen years ago this was the question on everybody’s mind: Why keep the little big mountain going?
The cast and crew of the winter drama program have been working hard each afternoon and evening to prepare for this winter’s play on February 23 and 24: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. The show, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, is from the perspective of an autistic young man, Christopher, as he investigates a neighborhood mystery and a series of clues with deep familial implications. Throughout the winter term, the actors and technical crew have been experimenting with the portrayal of Christopher’s internal commentary and his relationships, providing a brief window into another world.
Proctor's five term-long off-campus programs provide unparalleled experiential learning opportunities as students travel the globe, immerse themselves in different cultures, and learn more about themselves than they ever thought they would. For five of our sophomores, the decision to study abroad at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica has transformed their high school experience. Read mid-term updates from the Cloud Forest and try not to be jealous of their experience!
After a week in Paris, Proctor's European Art Classroom Winter 2018 group returned to the familiar streets of Aix-en-Provence and welcomed visiting parents (and aunts and uncles) to their home in the south of France. As the group shared their life on Euro filled with painting, exploring, and sucking the marrow out of the experiences laid before them, Grace '18 reflects below on the past week studying abroad.
In mid-October (oh to feel that autumn sunshine and crisp breeze right now!), I shared thoughts on the annual ninth grade hike to the Proctor Cabin in a blog titled, Shaping and Sustaining Culture (read it here if you’re so inclined), in which I reflected on the intentionality required of crafting the culture of a school like Proctor. Specifically, the blog explored the challenge facing our first year students: “Do I passively embrace the culture that exists here at Proctor or am I willing to actively shape it?”
As someone who is relatively - maybe completely - incapable of carrying a tune (I’ve been told I couldn’t carry one in a bucket), who dodged requisite instrument lessons as a youth with artfulness and guile, and who only much later (this year) started tinkering with chords on a piano, you’d think appreciation for the individual and collaborative journey of musicians might have eluded me. Not so much. It’s more a sense that I didn’t carry that “gift”, that innate wizardry the musical seem to possess enabling them to hear and see the intricacies of beats and rhythms and to speak in that language, but that doesn’t translate into a lack of appreciation.
In a recent conversation with Ethney McMahon P'16, '20, our videographer, she mentioned the following that struck me. "I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to float into classrooms and onto athletic fields at any time. It’s a free pass to observe this community, up close, in its continual making. I see teachers and students in their element as much as I see them out of their element."