Hours remain until we can official begin celebrating the Class of 2019 with Senior Dinner and Senior Recognition Night. Commencement will follow in the morning, and then campus will be empty. An eery quiet will descend upon campus for the summer, a quiet we simultaneously crave and fear as we feel the energy of our students leave us until September. As our seniors take their final steps toward graduating, we reflect on the past week of culminating projects, visiting speakers, awards, and end of year rituals.
We never want to become a school where isolated pockets of academic novelty trump the whole of the work done in our classrooms. We simply want to be who we are, to be who we have always been, long before buzzwords like innovation, maker-spaces, and collaboration saturated our lexicon. We want to be a school where these buzzwords happen naturally through the work we do with our students.
The spring athletic season in Northern New England is not for the faint of heart. It snowed on May 14th this year, and rained nearly every day throughout the months of April and May. The patience of our grounds crew, coaches, athletes, and athletic director were tested as game after game was canceled or postponed due to unplayable conditions. Even though the weather did not cooperate, the lessons our athletes learned on the playing fields this spring undoubtedly will last a lifetime, as will the relationships built within teams.
In the midst of celebrating the end of the school year, student accomplishments, the performance of the spring musical, art show, and saying goodbye to retiring faculty and staff, we pause to honor the life's work of former faculty member and legendary coach, Spencer "Spence" Wright P'72, '75 who died at the age of 94 on May 14, 2019.
Over the past decade, a shift toward competency based education (CBE) has flooded the world of higher education as universities look to become more efficient in developing a graduate’s skill set while ensuring each student possesses baseline proficiencies. Plenty of obstacles exist to implementing a competency-based educational model in higher education, however, Proctor’s World Language Department continues to pioneer a rethinking of the traditional approach to assessing and evaluating student development used by most high schools.
We have never been more connected to each other (digitally), yet we have never been more disconnected from the world around us. Whether it is the food we consume, the natural world, the fuel we consume, or the waste stream we leave behind, it has become far too easy to glaze over the externalities we create as someone else’s problem.
We have a choice as an independent school:
- Create a facade that we are a perfect school community in order to attract prospective families and hope they don’t see our flaws too soon. OR
- Present openly the challenges that accompany educating 370 adolescents in a boarding school setting within an incredibly competitive boarding school market.
A few summers ago, I had the privilege of building dry stone walls with fellow faculty members Josh Norris '92 and Peter Southworth. It was hard work. Really hard work. But the results of that work were tangible. Each day, we would walk away from the job site seeing what we had built; the perfectly placed foundation rocks, tetris-like fits locking the wall into place, flat tops and square corners that made you appreciate the miles and miles of centuries-old stone walls lining New Hampshire’s woods. There was an immediate gratification with this summer job, a satisfaction that provided a welcomed contrast to the feedback mechanisms associated with teaching adolescents.