The quiet, generous help of PAPA (Proctor Academy Parent Association) is everywhere at Proctor when I reflect on the fall term. Winding all the way back to the start of school, even before the start of school, parent volunteers have continuously stepped forward to make a difference. Day Student Picnic. Registration. Open House. Adopt a Team. Adopt a Dorm. Fall Family Weekend. And the most recent example? You only had to pass through the Wise to witness Halloween dance decorations - a term which loosely does justice to the shrieking bats, giants skulls with red eyes, and the drifting, life-sized ghosts - to appreciate their commitment to the community.
When we talk about Proctor as a family, it becomes a family because of the total sum of all outreach, and parents play a huge role on making this happen. In admission circles there is a lot of talk about “validation,” about how families looking at schools need more than just a campus tour, a website, an engaging interview as they determine the “fit” for their child. They need validation outside of this process, sometimes from two or three sources. We see parents - current and past - often stepping into this role. So not only do they help create this environment of relationships, of caring, of warmth, they help sustain it through outreach as validators of the model.
Learning the art of gratitude is one of the great, spirit-sustaining gifts that we can carry through life. When I watch the dish room in action every day, students, faculty, and staff snaking through with their plates and glasses, “thank-you” calls accompany the drop off. I love to hear them. That simple act of awareness, of being sensitive to those who help to make this whole complicated machinery of community not just function but flourish, it’s so important. Our parents were right. Manners do matter, and saying thank you is at the top of the list.
PAPA support at Proctor happens so seamlessly, so frequently, and so quietly at times that we might risk taking it for granted. We don’t, and we won’t. The Halloween dance and everything that PAPA does is a tremendous gift to the school, so on behalf of all of us at Proctor - faculty, staff, and students - we send our thanks. You help us become the school and the family we aspire to be.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Mike Henriques P'11, P'15
Proctor Academy Head of School