What if we, as an imperfect society, sought justice for the oppressed with the same conviction that those in power seek to stay in power? What if we took time to honestly reconcile the racism and oppression on which America was built? What if we, as individuals, made the conscious decision to choose love in our daily decisions? Would we accelerate the slow bending arch of history toward justice that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. promised more than fifty years ago?
The Hays Speaking Prize is the brainchild of former trustee, parent, and teacher, John Pendleton, who served as a judge in tonight’s competition alongside Andrea Costanzo, Ewa Chrusciel, Joan Katz. Named in honor of former Bowdoin College debate team standout and former Proctor Academy Board of Trustees Member, Bill Hays, this annual speaking competition among sophomore American Literature students remains a highlight of the Winter Term in its 21st year. Read excerpts of this year's finalist speeches below.
We enter a new year (and decade) with resolutions to be better. More exercise, less sugar. More time with family, less on technology. I have mixed feelings about the concept of New Year’s resolutions. While I appreciate the opportunity for reflection and the notion of self-improvement, I also recognize real self-improvement happens incrementally and is a far more complex process than a simple declaration as the calendar flips to a new year.
During the busyness of the academic year, we crave the pause offered during Winter Break where campus is quiet and we can refocus on the 30,000 foot perspective of why we exist as a school. We know our daily work is valuable, we see incremental progress toward our goals, and we see tangible student growth, but without moments of reflection, the context and "why" of this work can too easily be lost.
The nature of the academic year sometimes causes us to forget all that has happened in the last calendar year. A look back chronologically at the past calendar year through highlighted blog posts from each month allows us to relive some of the best moments from the second half of the 2018-2019 school year and the most memorable events of the 2019-2020 academic year to date. Sit down and scroll through the images, click on the links, and read the stories below to remind yourself of all the good you have been part of as a member of the Proctor family during 2019. Here's to an equally powerful 2020!
Our family’s favorite holiday movie is the 2018 version of Dr. Suess’ The Grinch. This animated film, more than any other we have watched, speaks to reason we celebrate this season. Unlike other versions of the story, the writers offer a more complex look at the trials of Donna Who as a struggling single mom raising three young children, the loneliness of the Grinch rooted in his complicated past, the persistent optimism of Mr. Bicklebaum, the selfless love and mischievous grit of Cindy-Lou. It reminds us that while we are each imperfect and our existence messy, we can make a difference in the lives of those around us. We are more capable than we believe.
Three years ago, Proctor art curator Molly Leith connected with renowned sound artist, Spencer Topel, about designing an installation for the atrium of the Fowler Learning Center. Originally planned as a student collaboration during Project Period 2019 last March, the complexity of the project postponed the installation until the first week of December. After a week of ropes, rigging, and detailed construction alongside Brad Hardie of Fireside Design Works, Time Lines now graces the Fowler Learning Center.
The holiday shopping experience has changed over the past decade. The days of wandering through shopping malls have been replaced with the ease of adding items to your Amazon cart, the promise of two-day shipping, and a purely transactional nature of consumption. In this transition, we have lost much of the meaningfulness associated with giving a gift to a loved one.