For the past eleven weeks, we have operated in our own sphere, working incredibly hard to do our best work in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in the studio. Focused on our individual work, individual needs, deadlines, demands. Periodically, we come together for community moments, but too often it seems these moments center around tragedy: processing the loss of a loved one, supporting each other through unthinkable violence, discussing the hard truths around inequality in our lives. As we walk through this final week of classes of the Fall Term, our focus shifts to coming together as a community to celebrate all the good that surrounds us.
Traditionally, the culmination of the Fall Term centered around Holderness Day - a football matchup with that school up north. The first time the two schools played each other dates back to the early 1900s, but throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the rivalry blossomed into an all-school event complete with banner competitions, pranks against the other school, borderline inappropriate cheers, and well choreographed ploys to distract the opponent like the entire school body storming out of the woods on Leonard Field just prior to kick-off. In the late 1990s, Holderness Day was suspended indefinitely. Holderness adopted Tabor Day as a replacement, and life went on at Proctor without a defining culmination to the end of the term until last fall when Athletic Director Gregor Makechnie ‘90 and his counterpart at Holderness, Rick Eccleston (son of longtime Proctor faculty member Tom Eccleston), committed to reigniting this age old rivalry.
Kudos to both Gregor and Rick for their commitment to making Holderness Weekend about so much more than a single contest. Last year’s festivities were a huge success as both schools embraced the history of the rivalry, while incorporating a scoring structure to the weekend that allowed every team to take part in the competition - a JV2 soccer win counts as much as a varsity field hockey win. Proctor came away with a 6-4 overall victory in 2017, and will look to repeat as Holderness Weekend winners despite there being no football game against the Bulls this year (dwindling football participation across New England prep schools resulted in Holderness making the decision to offer 8-man football moving forward).
During Thursday’s assembly we will choose the 2018 Keeper of the Spirit and on Friday we will have an all-school pep rally before welcoming the entire Holderness student body to campus for girls’ soccer games. On Saturday, our entire school body will travel north to support our teams at Holderness. Regardless of the nasty weather forecasted for Friday, we will join together as a community to celebrate and support each other.
Holderness Weekend is not just about athletics, however. It is about the celebrating the work of all our students and faculty over the past term. It’s about coming out to performances by dance, vocal (check out photos here), and jazz/rock ensembles (Saturday night at 8:00 pm), Innovation Night (Thursday night at 6:00 pm), and doing your best possible work on your final projects/exams in each of our classes. It’s about respecting each other’s pursuit of greatness and about reminding us of the diversity of talents on display within our community.
Proctor will never allow itself to be defined by our athletic prowess. Sure we love to win on the athletic field (especially over Holderness), but we believe it is far more important to be defined by our willingness to support each other than it is to be victorious according to the scoreboard. Proctor is defined by our commitment to community, a togetherness that simultaneously buoys us through difficult times and empowers us to vulnerably share the pursuits of our passions - on the stage, in the studio, in the classroom, or on the athletic field - without fear of judgement. This is what Holderness Weekend is all about, celebrating that one word that will always be at the heart of Proctor: TOGETHER.
Schedule of End of Term Culminating Events:
Thursday November 8 - Innovation Night - 6:00 PM Wise Center
Friday November 9 - Girls JV Soccer (4:30 PM) and Girls' Varsity Soccer (6:30 PM)
Saturday November 10 - ENTIRE SCHOOL TO HOLDERNESS SCHOOL FOR GAMES
Tuesday November 13 - Art Show - 6:00 PM Meeting House