After returning from quite the freezing but thrilling Paria River backpacking expedition where we spent four nights and five days venturing in some pretty ridiculously cool canyons, we ventured back to our home for the next week in the town of Kanab, Utah. Erica and Quinn gave us a tour of the cabin and we rushed to shower as fast as we could, as it had been 9 days since any of us had showered…I know, gnarly. With all of us being relatively tired from our expedition, the rest of the day consisted of exploring the cabin and the surrounding area along with a nice meal cooked by myself and Sasha.
As the Proctor community swings back to in-person learning this week, as the dorm pods loosen and disperse, the interconnectedness of all that is Proctor, the mycelium underneath, reveals itself. Coming back to in-person gets the network humming. Yes, we can do a lot remotely, but we get to the “it “ of learning by being in the landscape, not simply observing it from the outside.
Proctor Academy’s Winter Ocean Classroom program continues to navigate uncharted waters from their home base in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. While the waters are metaphorical for the time being (due to an extended quarantine period), the lessons remain powerful: patience, perseverance, and making the most of a difficult time. Read more from the past week on Winter Ocean Classroom.
After spending our first couple days at Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, we all piled onto Deb (our trusty bus) and spent the four hour drive down to Utah playing games and looking out the windows at the beautiful scenery. For our first night we camped in the front country and slept in tent/tarp shelters for the first time on this trip, as we had just been sleeping in sleeping bags at Red Rock.
Words are used to build up and to tear down, to communicate the intricacies of self and to oversimplify the complexities of each other’s humanity. When we seek to use the words given to us by society, we fail to capture the whole of who we are in this moment, and who we must become. Today’s community celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, albeit virtual, provided a powerful reminder of the power of words and the intricacies of our interwoven stories.
It’s part of who we are, part of our history, part of what we move forward. Scraps of the history can be found in the woods behind the football field, a wheel nailed to a maple tree signals the old rope tow. Stories swirl of slope improvement that involve students, dynamite, and a granite stater do-it-yourself mentality. Every institution has legacy, tradition, and it’s important in the current hustle to evolve and to become the new next, legacy is not forgotten. And yet sometimes legacy has to justify itself, and sometimes in the exploration of legacy institutional values are revealed. And that can be a steadying.
Core to any Mountain Classroom experience is teaching students to adapt, to embrace challenges, to be prepared for the unexpected and to work collaboratively to face each obstacle that arises. When COVID-19 threatened to cancel Proctor’s Mountain Classroom program this winter, instructors Quinn Harper and Erica Hample partnered with program director Patty Pond and Proctor’s Health Center staff to create a quarantine and testing protocol that would allow the program to function, with modifications, and allow ten lucky students to experience a term of place-based learning and expeditions in the American Southwest. Today, we share the group’s first blog post after ten days together.
For the past 27 years, Proctor students have spent the Fall Term studying aboard an historic tall ship, sailing the eastern seaboard of the United States. This coveted off-campus experience has always been limited to the Fall Term, however, COVID-19 forced us to creatively look at our off-campus offerings this winter. With Proctor en Segovia unable to run due to travel restrictions, Ocean Classroom program director Brooks Bicknell '77 went to work reimagining a winter trimester program partnered with the World Ocean School based in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Today, eight students are aboard the schooner Roseway after rigorous COVID-19 testing and quarantine, ready to launch the experience of a lifetime. Read more from this group's first week together!
Over the last decade, Proctor Academy's European Art Classroom program has provided hundreds of students the opportunity to immerse themselves in an art colony in the south of France. With COVID-19 shutting down international travel, program directors Dave and Jen Fleming reinvented the art immersion program stateside. Retaining the essence of the European Art Classroom experience (shared meals, plein air painting, art history and culture classes, art journals, sketchbooks, and living in community), the Southwest Art Classroom experience is underway in Arizona. Enjoy this brief update from Pheobe '21!
Walking to assembly Thursday morning, Wednesday night was still very much with me. The images from Washington, Capitol Hill, jarring: the confederate flag in the capitol, the images of doors being barricaded, guns drawn, members of congress crouching under desks. As Nicolas Kristof wrote in an editorial for the New York Times, “I’ve covered attempted coups in many countries around the world, and now I’m finally covering one in the United States.” How to find context for hope in all of this?
Normally my winters are spent in the gym coaching one of Proctor’s basketball teams or one of my three kid’s local rec teams. But with youth basketball programs on hiatus until later this winter due to COVID-19 and Proctor on an extended break, I decided this winter would be a great time to dust off the Nordic skis that usually get one or two uses a year.
A glance through old yearbooks and even photos from last winter reminds us just how much the world has changed over the past nine months. We yearn for the normalcy of assemblies in the Wilkins Meetinghouse, a packed Brown Dining Commons, hosting basketball and hockey games, and the impromptu dance party in the Wise Center. A return to normal may still be a distant dream, but the release of two successful vaccines has lit a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel through which we have all been stumbling through this year.
One of the challenges of working in school communications is the inability to disconnect from the world of social media. There is always something to post, someone to follow, a comment to which we must reply, and, inevitably, comparisons to others to be made. We know the perils of social media and the damage it can do in the lives of children, and recognize we can fall victim to these dangers as adults as well.