Independence Day 2017: Understanding Freedom

Posted by Scott Allenby

07/04/2017

The tiny, quaint town of Andover grows by more than five times its normal population of 2,200 people during its annual 4th of July celebration. For the past 75 years, Andover has served as a gathering place for residents of the entire region as the town green and Proctor’s campus are flooded with flea-market booths, games, food vendors, a parade, and fireworks. It is small town Americana at its finest as we celebrate America’s independence and our individual freedoms granted in the U.S. Constitution.

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Well over 10,000 people pack 'downtown' Andover for the fleamarket, performances, and parade. Today's crowd was among the largest ever. 

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Proctor faculty member Terry Stoecker and Alison Barry P'15, '17 ride in today's parade. 

Politics have played more of a role in our lives than any of us would have liked over the past year, however, the intricacies of American democracy have never been more understood by us as citizens. Regardless of individual lean, civic engagement across the country has skyrocketed, and we each possess a better understanding of the issues facing America today than ever before. We have been in contact with our local and state representatives, we are acutely aware of Congressional votes and Federal appointments, and we have, hopefully, taken the time to understand why others believe differently than we do. We are thankful to be able to freely engage in civil discourse on the local level, and to be able to put our political preferences aside as we collectively celebrate the remarkable independence and freedom America provides.

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Andover and Proctor's Cope Makechnie '17 sings God Bless America to kick of today's 4th of July Festivities

This appreciation for the idea of freedom extends to Proctor’s work as a boarding school. Each of our students arrives on campus with a certain sense of self shaped through prior experiences (both positive and negative). Too often with adolescents, this sense of self is clouded by self-doubt, thus inhibiting an unfettered exploration of learning. Whether it is because of a hyperfocus on perceived cognitive or physical limitations, a lack of self-confidence, or paralysis by social comparison, high school students rarely allow themselves to follow their passions with the unbridled enthusiasm they are capable of. At Proctor, we want our students to experience true freedom as they set their own course into the future. It is this ultimate goal that undergirds our approach to elevated relationships between adults and students, guides our student centric approach to learning, and maximizes the impact of Proctor’s off-campus programs.

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The Town Green transforms into an epicenter of vendors, benefits for local organizations, music, games, and food! 

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As a society, we are slowly re-learning a lesson Proctor has been teaching its students for generations: freedom fosters unparalleled growth in adolescents because it requires students to have significant responsibility. We are thankful to be able to exercise this responsibility daily. 

Happy Independence Day to everyone in the Proctor Family!

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