Early snowfall in central New Hampshire and cold November nights has allowed Garry George '78 and his crew at the Proctor Ski Area to create amazing early season conditions on alpine and Nordic trails. A favorite run of mine, even in the winter months, reaches the halfway point after climbing the 600 vertical feet up the backside of the Proctor Ski Area. As you emerge from the double track access road to the top of Proctor’s little big mountain, heart racing from the climb, your eyes peer out over Proctor’s campus and the village of Andover. For so many of us in the Proctor community, this view never gets old. Nor does the feeling of a change in perspective it provides.
Campus has been incredibly quiet over the past week. A smattering of meetings, end of year fundraising projects, and office holiday gatherings filled the calendar, but with this change of pace came an opportunity to reflect on our collective work at Proctor. Just as those trips to the top of the ski area shift perspective, so, too, do the perfectly timed vacations in the boarding school schedule.
In the busyness of the academic year, the 30,000 foot perspective of why we exist as a school is often lost in the hectic transitions between classes, assemblies, meals at the dining hall, afternoon activities, study hall, and dorm meetings. We know our daily work is valuable, we see incremental progress toward our goals, and we see tangible student growth, but without moments of reflection, the context and "why" of this work can too easily be lost.
Our hope during this break is that we each allow ourselves the pause in our lives to recharge and refocus on why we do what we do. Why have we committed our lives to working at a boarding school? Why have our parents chosen to entrust their children to us at Proctor? Why did our students fall in love with this school in the first place? The answer to each of these questions find common ground in the unique way Proctor seeks to fulfill its mission: through relationships with each other. This is the gift of Proctor; a gift that keeps giving as long as we nurture those friendships with our colleagues, alumni, parents, and students that sustain us.
During a season of gift giving to loved ones, we recognize the gift that Proctor continues to be in each of our lives. The past twelve months have repeatedly required us to lean hard on our Proctor family. But just as the days have begun to get longer as we move beyond the winter solstice, our hope for 2019 becomes brighter each day. Thank you to everyone who has chosen to be a part of giving the gift of Proctor to us this year. Hopefully you each feel as fortunate to be a part of the Proctor family as I do.