We’re in the window of beginnings when all feels new and the arc of the possible is the dominant trajectory. On Thursday I met with three sections of Freshman Seminar circled up in chairs in the Black Box. We talked a little about Proctor, my role, and the way our community functions, how their start was going. At no time is the arc of possibility more palpable than in September when the campus first fills.
The defining mission of Proctor, long established as a commitment to understand, honor, and support the learning differences in the individual, long established as a commitment to teach in a way that sees the experiential as an essential element in the accrual of knowledge, long hewing to a commitment to sustainability and core values of honesty, compassion, respect and responsibility, this community, too, is poised. Just as we were in the 70’s or the 80’s or the 90’s, we stand at the start of the year with the opportunity to fulfill the mission. This year, with expanded art offerings and higher enrollment numbers in that department than ever, a residential life program with more intentionality not just for ninth graders, but also for all students, and a new seven-block schedule that adds flexibility and opportunity for course offerings, we are optimistic about our evolution within that mission.
Part of my time yesterday was spent encouraging our ninth graders to get to know different members of the community. The majority knew Edna (chocolate chip waffles), a few knew Dana in Maintenance (bunked beds), but they all seemed willing to branch out, and I encouraged that. How community functions, the complexity, and the roles that go into the whole – these are important groundings and have been the focus of a much of this first week for the incoming class of 2019. We believe that breaking outside of a class, a team, a dorm identity to see and appreciate the whole is important both as a lesson in gratitude and in functionality, a part of the art of seeing what’s possible.
“You staying in touch with home?” I asked one group. Some nodded, others shook their heads, and a few smiled in a manner suggesting the newfound power of radio silence. Mischievous. “Even a text can be huge,” I reminded them. Collectively we love these days in September. They are thrilling, exhausting, filled with anticipation, and possibility. We come to the end of this first week knowing we will catch our breath over the weekend (make those calls home), and slow down before week two of classes.
The deeper rhythm of the year begins, the arc of possibility stretches, we take that next step with anticipation.
Thank you for reading, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Mike Henriques P'11, P'15
Proctor Academy Head of School