Earlier this week, we published the 2017-2018 Greenbook (Proctor’s Student Handbook) and sent a series of permission forms to parents to complete in advance of the upcoming school year. This process takes place each summer, both for returning and new families, and serves as an important acknowledgement of the rules, expectations, and boundaries essential to sustaining the Proctor community. The temptation for some might be to glance over the forms, identify where to sign or initial, and click submit. To check the box and move on with summer plans. Our hope is this process is a bit more intentional because we recognize joining a community, especially a community like Proctor, is not something you should take lightly.
Head of School Mike Henriques P’11, ‘15 shares a poignant introduction to the Greenbook, “Entering any community should be done with a measure of grace and circumspect. A student at Proctor is expected to become a citizen of the community, and not simply a resident. A citizen is someone who comes to know, appreciate, and engage in the makeup of community. They know that sustaining community requires a measure of understanding the boundaries of community, the responsibilities of being a part of community, and of giving back to community. We believe that Proctor students should come here wanting to be citizens, not simply residents.”
We anxiously await the arrival of 124 new students (and their parents) who we know will enrich our lives at Proctor during the 2017-2018 school year and beyond. Each will bring with him or her a unique perspective that deepens our appreciation for each other, expands our worldview, and encourages us to care just a little bit more than we thought possible. Sure, there will inevitably be bumps in the road when boundaries are tested and mistakes are made, but these moments are simply part of the never-ending building of community required at a school like Proctor.
The work of community would feel a heck of a lot easier if we could somehow eliminate the heartache and pain that accompanies life’s toughest challenges. But, we recognize it is in those moments, when the waters of life become rougher than we expected, that the true character of our students, faculty, and staff shines through. These times happen throughout the entire year, not just while school is in session. Advisors don’t stop advising when summer break begins, coaches don't stop coaching once the season is over, and the adults in the community don’t stop caring about each other when classes end in late May. As we begin to appreciate the intricacies of community and come to understand each other as fellow citizens, we realize life gets more challenging when we are committed to others, not less. Life feels far easier when we avoid this sense of commitment and shield against vulnerability through apathy, but that is not the type of community we desire at Proctor.
As families read their Greenbook this week and submit their permission forms, they are setting aside any possibility of apathy and are intentionally choosing to join a group of students and adults paddling in unison through the often turbulent rapids of life, together as a community.