Too often, we navigate this life of ours assuming we will be given tomorrow. We make plans for ourselves, for our families, set goals for the future. We, as we should, approach our daily life through a lens of hope, allowing ourselves to be inspired by what is possible as we push aside ‘worst case scenarios’ because we don’t want to let ourselves live in fear. And then tragedy enters our world. Optimism is dashed. The layered weight of grief consumes us. Today, we share with heavy hearts the passing of Lindsey Degon: a faculty member, sister, daughter, girl friend, mentor, friend, and fierce advocate for many of our students.
We learned late Friday afternoon that faculty members Casey McCormack (Learning Skills, varsity football coach, Burbank West dorm parent) and Lindsey Degon (Learning Skills, Burbank West dorm parent) were in a traffic accident while vacationing in Key West during the Thanksgiving holiday. Casey suffered significant, non-life threatening injuries from the accident. Lindsey, tragically, did not survive the crash.
Growing up in the small town of Palmer, Massachusetts with her parents, her twin brother, Corey, and an older brother, Eric, Lindsey lived an active lifestyle throughout her life. A 2005 graduate of Wheaton College (MA) where she ran track and field, she actively sought opportunities to broaden her horizons through building relationships with those around her. Whether it was studying abroad at the University of Auckland, serving as an Athletic Mentor at Wheaton, or jumping with two feet into her work with adolescents following graduation from college, Lindsey was passionate about understanding the needs of those around her and working to meet those needs to the best of her ability.
Lindsey joined Proctor’s Learning Skills Department in the fall of 2014 after pursuing graduate studies in school counseling at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and obtaining her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Westfield State University in 2013. Over the past three plus years, she tirelessly and skillfully worked to support her students in Learning Skills and her ninth grade boys in Burbank West as they learned to navigate adolescence. There are many who will be directly impacted by this news; both Lindsey and Casey’s Learning Skills students, residents of Burbank West, members of Casey’s football team, colleagues, alumni, and countless others. Just as Lindsey would daily wrap her arms of support around her students, we now follow the example she gave us as we seek to wrap our collective arms around all those impacted by this tragedy.
The week leading into Thanksgiving Break provided countless reminders of the importance of both our extended Proctor family and those who comprise our internal community. The theme of “Together” transcended athletic fields during Holderness weekend to all aspects of the community. Prior to departing for Thanksgiving we looked each other in the eye and thanked each other for the hard work of sustaining a community like ours. Today, we look each other in the eye and, again, acknowledge the need to come together as we support each other, Lindsey and Casey’s families, and those most deeply impacted by this tragedy. When we are surrounded by support, we have the confidence to live our lives with hope, not fear, and yet today we are reminded to hug our loved ones tight, read that extra book at bedtime with our children, call our parents and siblings to check in, and tell those around us that we love them.
*We do not yet have information on memorial services, but will keep the community informed as we learn how you can best support the families involved.