It is a new year which entails a whopping birth to a fantastic new European Art Classroom! Although there were some scares with baggage at the airport, we eventually arrived safe and sound to our new home for the winter trimester. Adjusting to a new country with a new language seemed intimidating at first, but as we continue to take French classes, we slowly are becoming more comfortable exploring nearby towns on our own.
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.
In a small community like ours, we assume we know each other. We mistakenly tie an individual's identity to that which we see on a daily basis: their personality in the dorm, in the classroom, their smile as they walk to lunch or assembly, their athletic talents, their style based on how they dress. We assume we understand and appreciate the entirety of each other's contribution to the Proctor community, and yet during this final week of each trimester, we are left with a powerful reminder of the depth of being that exists within each member of our Proctor family.
It is good to remember that the lightness of being is nearby, ready to balance out challenge. Sometimes you catch it in the glimmers of sun sheeting across a field and a mood shifts. Or a day. Of course you have to be open to the possibility, and sometimes you have to actively look for the lightness of being. Sometimes the moment simply seems to fall in your lap. Fortunately, at Proctor, there seems to be a high density probability of encountering one of these uplifting interludes.
Corby Leith '92 and I were talking Thursday morning in Slocumb, reviewing some of the charcoal work of this fall’s art students, some of the framed work in racks that had been in a summer show, and then he checked his schedule and realized he was supposed to be in the forge teaching. We scooted out through the ceramics studio and headed around to the backside of the Shepard Boat House to the shuttered door of the forge. I thought I would tag along to see how the class unfolded.
A San Francisco native, Roth Martin ‘91 first found himself on the east coast as a seventh grader at the Fessenden School (classmates there with fellow San Franciscan and Proctor alum Matt Nathanson '91, actually) before matriculating to Proctor for his sophomore year. From his first interview with Chuck Will in the Admissions Office until the moment he was greeted by Head of School David Fowler on graduation day, Roth describes his Proctor experience as remarkable. “My teachers, coaches, dorm parents, friends, everything at Proctor was so positive for me. I fell in love with ceramics and design aesthetics thanks to Patrice Martin, skied competitively, gained remarkable independence living 3,000 miles from my family, all while subconsciously absorbing Proctor’s ethos of environmental sustainability that would guide me throughout my life.”
Proctor’s annual Senior Project Exhibition and Express Fest marks the end of our seniors’ high school academic responsibilities, while providing a perfect experiential bookend to the journey that began on Wilderness Orientation four years ago. This final afternoon of exhibits also provides a powerful window for 9th, 10th, and 11th graders into what might be possible during their own senior projects in the future.
Seeing as this is, unfortunately, the last blog post of the term, everyone is going to be contributing a paragraph about our experience on the whole. And seeing as it was finals week last week, I need to cover two weeks in a short space of time. As a result, I am going to focus on my highlights, instead of a meticulous chronological run through.