After many days of long drives, pit stops at new places and the old, to new and happy memories, Mountain Classroom has finally made it back, full circle, to New Hampshire.
Stewarding a community like Proctor is never the task of an individual, but rather the responsibility of every person whose life has intersected the school. Whether you consider yourself an alum, a student, a parent, a faculty or staff member, a grandparent, or a parent of an alum, your stewardship of the Proctor community matters. Today’s celebration of the Class of 2018 at Proctor’s 170th Commencement was a reminder of how the collective work of everyone in the Proctor community, past and present, has shaped Proctor into the perfectly imperfect place it is today.
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. This final afternoon of exhibits also provides a powerful window for 9th, 10th, and 11th graders into what might be possible during their own senior projects in the future.
The role of parents within a boarding school community has changed dramatically over time. Until the 1970s, parents “sent” a child to an independent school, entrusting the educational, moral and spiritual development of their son or daughter to the masters. A report card documenting progress and disappointments arrived by mail at the end of a term.
Each fall and spring, students have the opportunity to showcase projects from classes across disciplines at Proctor’s Innovation Night. Now in its fifth iteration, the event has become an embedded part of our academic calendar and serves as a celebration and culmination of the hard work our students have been doing all term. Academic Dean Derek Nussbaum-Wagler reflected, “It provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the rich, valuable work that they have produced through our experiential learning opportunities”.
Seeing as this is, unfortunately, the last blog post of the term, everyone is going to be contributing a paragraph about our experience on the whole. And seeing as it was finals week last week, I need to cover two weeks in a short space of time. As a result, I am going to focus on my highlights, instead of a meticulous chronological run through.
Our Admissions materials encourage students to choose their own path. While this customized approach to education is central to our model, the benefit to the Proctor community is not a bunch of individuals blazing their own trails. Instead, when students join the Proctor, they simultaneously contribute to, and are supported by, the community surrounding them. Through connections to others, students find themselves and are empowered to grow in ways they never thought possible. Weekends like this one are testament to the efficacy of Proctor's educational model as we enjoy the richness this type of diversity of talents and passions brings to our community.
This is going to sound very cliche, but when I arrived in Spain I had no idea how deeply in love I would fall. I enjoyed visiting every city that we went to, but there was something special about Granada. Maybe it was the history, maybe the gelato, maybe it was that I felt more confident speaking Spanish.
We enter each spring athletic season optimistic warm temperatures will melt the snow and maybe, just maybe THIS year will be different than the rest in terms of weather events. As the season concludes this weekend with Lakes Region tournaments, green grass and temperatures in the high 70s almost make us forget about those April snow storms that buried both fields and our ephemeral moments of optimism. Through bad weather and the onslaught of late May black flies, the Hornets buzzed to victories, including a Lakes Region Softball and regular season Golf championships, all while representing our school and our community incredibly well.
There is always this week. Garry George shows up outside of Maxwell Savage with a pallet of bricks, a saw to cut through asphalt, a shovel and some fine grit fill. On each brick is the name of a member of the class of 2018. The ground is prepared, the bricks are set, the tamping is done, and by the end of the day the new section of walk is complete. Seniors start to drift by and pause to look for their name and the names of friends. It’s one of the rituals in the final week.
This weekend, the 26 cast members and 15 crew of the Proctor theater department will take the stage to perform In the Heights. With music and lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the author and composer of famed Hamilton, the mix of hip-hop, salsa, and classic musical numbers make this show a good one “even if you’re not into musical theater” says lead Sam Wyckoff ‘19, “because it is so special - the message, the music, the dance - all of it”.
Monday's assembly marked the beginning of the end of the 2017-2018 school year as academic departments presented underclass awards. As Head of School Mike Henriques mentioned in his opening comments of the assembly, our students have invested incredible effort and energy into their academic pursuits at Proctor this year. While we wish we could publicly acknowledge each of our student's individual growth, today's awards assembly recognized a handful of students whose performance and effort stands out as truly excellent. Congratulations to each of this year's underclass award winners listed below!
To find traction and a sense of laying down tracks, making a mark, having a voice, you need these spaces. It’s not just Slocumb. It’s the Norris theater, the machine shop, the forge, the metal shop, the music studio, the woodworking shop. In Segovia and Aix we have them, and collectively they are some of the most important creative soul corners in our community. In the jargon of the day they might be called makerspaces or tinker spaces, but I like to think of them as soul corners, these eddies within community where one finds a path of one’s own while connecting with something much bigger than oneself. They are both humbling and inspiring.
Discloser: This expose is fully taken from the Spring Mountain 2018 experience and might vary for other groups, but our hunch is the lessons we've learned will be similar to those you will learn on your Mountain Classroom experience. Know what you are getting yourself into, and then make the most of it!
As European Art Classroom approaches the final two weeks of its term abroad, the group spent time in Vienna, Austria. The photos and video below speak for themselves, but a week of entries in Anna's '18 journal transports us into life on European Art Classroom unlike any blog post we've read before. Enjoy!
This past weekend was the fourth and final meeting of Proctor’s Board of Trustees for the fiscal year. In addition to approving the budget, discussing upcoming Campaign for Proctor initiatives, understanding the ever-changing dynamics of the boarding school admissions market, ensuring they are meeting their fiduciary responsibility with regard to financial decisions the school makes, the Board has a responsibility to ensure Head of School Mike Henriques and Proctor’s faculty and staff are best serving each of our students. It’s a remarkable leadership responsibility, and despite the frequent laughter from the Proctor Room over the weekend, is not a responsibility this group takes lightly.
Proctor Academy's Mountain Classroom group is back on the road as they head north and east toward South Dakota following a week long excursion on the San Juan River and backpacking adventure in Colorado. While spotty internet access and cell phone service in the mountains limited the number of photos and video sent this week, the blogs below from Ryan '19 paints a beautiful picture of the life-changing experience taking place in the American southwest this term.
It’s moment is fleeting. Tucked against the side of Maxwell Savage, actually jammed up against the building, it’s an unobtrusive presence. Who planted it? Why there? It’s a protected spot, but it’s cramped. One side brushes up against brick, marginalizing its spread. Its size is overwhelmed by the building and the nearby maple. Most students and faculty zip past it as they bend down the path towards the Wise or Meeting House. There’s a bike rack that shares the same corner of Maxwell Savage, so at least those who roll their bike into the rack have to acquaint themselves with the tree. Particularly in the spring, usually in the first week of May when the unfurled blossoms emerge, flourish, and fade in what seem to be minutes.
April flood waters from the Blackwater River have gradually receded in response to this week's sunshine as spring peepers scream “pick me pick me” from the wetlands surrounding campus. As I jogged across Carr Field toward the nearly full moon cresting the eastern horizon behind Gannett House during a post dinner run last night, an uncharacteristic summer-like humidity hung in the air. The peepers' relentless calls drowned out U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" playing on my headphones. I strained to hear Bono’s lyrical spiritual journey as I reflected on the dichotomy of the lack of isolation I feel in my existence at Proctor and that which is clearly felt by the vast majority of individuals in our society.
Proctor Academy is thrilled to welcome the artwork of Jordan Thompson '01 and Emily White Hat '94, P'14 to campus as we celebrate Native American Alumni weekend. Jordan and Emily's work is displayed in the Fowler Learning Center, complementing another on-campus exhibit in the Brown Dining Commons by former parent and trustee, Bill Peabody's P'82, '86, Honorary Trustee collection. We invite you to join us in celebrating the work of Bill on Friday, May 4 at 12:30 pm in the dining commons and the work of Emily and Jordan on Saturday, May 5 at 6:30 pm in the Lovejoy Library. Learn more about this talented group of artists below.