Patches of grass have begun to emerge around campus where the persistent late-March sun has repeatedly beat away at layer upon layer of snow. Pathways are swept, sand recycled to be used again next winter, playing fields plowed for the spring season. Mother Nature probably has one more snow storm in her, but our sights are firmly set on spring. As we prepare to turn the calendar to April, we are reminded of the rebirth that takes place this time of year and the opportunity for a fresh start for each of our students.
Little by little the days are getting longer. This week’s sun and warmer temperatures have buoyed our spirits and put a noticeable bounce in everyone’s step. Overnight rain and ice reminded us how closely tied our emotional state can be to the barometric pressure. As we look toward the final three and a half weeks of the Winter Term, we lean into the scaffolding of support that surrounds each of us at Proctor.
In the midst of the daily grind of teaching adolescents, we risk drifting away from our “why”. Why have we dedicated our life to education? Why have we chosen Proctor as the fertile ground into which we will sow our seeds of hope for the next generation? In order to best serve our students, we must nurture daily habits of centering around our “why” as individual educators and as a community.
Thursday evening provided the Proctor community an opportunity to hear seven sophomores share speeches during the 20th annual Hay's Speaking Contest. The Winter Term affords all sophomore English classes the opportunity to embark on a speech writing process that explores personal journeys, influential moments, or social commentary using research for support. Tonight, we saw a representative of each American Literature class deliver their speech to the community.
I cannot recall a moment over the past five years when there has not been the background noise of construction on Proctor’s campus. The beeping of excavators in reverse, air compressors turning on and off as nail guns adhere new siding to buildings, dump trucks driving in and out of campus. This constant state of construction, while inconvenient at times, illustrates our community’s deep belief in our mission and willingness to invest in Proctor’s future through The Campaign for Proctor. However, visits to classes this week reminded us it is not just our campus that is under constant construction, but our students brains are works in progress as well.
As the sun rose over the east side of campus on this final day of 2018, the simple joy of another day on this earth settled upon us. The peacefulness of quiet pathways, empty classrooms, and traces of late November snow storms clinging to shade cast on the north side of buildings is lovely, but leaves campus feeling incomplete. On Wednesday evening students and faculty will return from a two week break, filling the void we feel right now as we all dive into a new year. On this final day of 2018, we offer our New Year’s resolution for 2019: Pursue Happiness.
Proximate learning does not occur without risk, but it is in those moments where students are living their education alongside the issues they are studying that world views are transformed. Tomorrow at noon, more than a third of Proctor's student body will submit applications to study abroad on one of our five term-long off-campus programs next year. Many will apply to study off-campus for the first time, while others will look to cap their Proctor experience with a second or third trimester abroad. So why is it that more than 80% of our students choose to study off-campus?
“Which path will you choose?” Each visitor to our website or admissions office encounters this question through our marketing materials. The intent of the question is simple: Demonstrate to each prospective family there is no single track through Proctor, but rather an infinite array of different paths through which a young person will encounter growth opportunities and develop attributes we believe to be critical to success in life after Proctor. But does this focus on breadth of curriculum and individualized approach to academics have unintended consequences for those seeking to better understand the value of a Proctor education?