Two summers ago, my family had the opportunity to take advantage of Proctor’s Summer Enrichment Program (mini-sabbatical of sorts). We spent sixteen days driving over 5,000 miles around the American west in a campervan. I mapped the route meticulously months in advance.
The last two weeks have served as an incredibly powerful reminder of who we are as a community, not only at Proctor, but within our local towns and immediate families. Our hearts go out to all who have lost something in their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak: loved ones, jobs, homes, interactions with friends, and, for our faculty and students, an opportunity for a typical Proctor spring.
If your mind is in anything like mine, it has spent the past few weeks spinning: the final weeks of Winter Term, final exams, final arts performances and games last weekend, rational (and irrational) fears surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on Proctor, Super Tuesday primaries, and so much more.
More than a decade ago, Proctor experimented with an integrated arts course as a Freshman Seminar. Students were able to experiment in different arts disciplines within the context of self-exploration that sits at the core of our ninth grade wellness curriculum. While our wellness seminars have evolved from this model, maybe we were onto something back then that current research is now reemphasizing: immersion in the arts and improved wellness are inextricably linked.
The Hays Speaking Prize is the brainchild of former trustee, parent, and teacher, John Pendleton, who served as a judge in tonight’s competition alongside Andrea Costanzo, Ewa Chrusciel, Joan Katz. Named in honor of former Bowdoin College debate team standout and former Proctor Academy Board of Trustees Member, Bill Hays, this annual speaking competition among sophomore American Literature students remains a highlight of the Winter Term in its 21st year. Read excerpts of this year's finalist speeches below.