The steady stream of prospective families through our Admissions Office over the past month resulted in a 20% increase in October tours over our five year average. While a far-too-early indicator of enrollment numbers for the 2020-2021 school year, it is a data point. There’s something intriguing about this random school plopped on 2,500 acres in the Blackwater River valley between Ragged Mountain and Mount Kearsarge. So what is it? Why are families interested in Proctor when all of the data shared by the Enrollment Management Association (EMA) and TABS on independent boarding school enrollment trend the opposite direction?
Drive along NH Route 11 and you will encounter beautiful scenery, farms, open fields, views of Mount Kearsarge and Ragged Mountain, and the varied architecture that speaks to an evolution of a town without strict zoning laws. You might conclude that while quaint, the village of Andover is far from a cultural center. Take a step off of Main Street into the Lovejoy Library, Wilkins Meeting House, or Brown Dining Commons and you will quickly realize your premature conclusion to be false.
We hear often the value of being a generalist, of embracing different pursuits and being well-rounded individuals. Yet, time and again, specialists are rewarded for being the best at what they do. Professionally, we rarely see someone promoted for simply being above average at many things. College coaches claim they want multi-sport athletes, but more often than not reward specialized athletes with scholarships. The mixed messages our children receive as they discover who they are and what passions live within them are not only unhealthy, but have created an unsustainable environment for our schools.
The Class of 2019 graced us with their artistic talents over the past four years. Every graduating student is required to take three art courses at Proctor, however, many choose to dive far deeper into their artistic pursuits. The graduates below will be studying art in college next year - be sure to keep an eye out for their work in the future!
I’ve called these places soul corners in the past, the pockets where energy coalesces in a particular way to reveal something of a community’s heartbeat, its delight, its potential. They are not often manicured spaces, prim and dolled up. They have an aura of work surrounding them, of student effort expended and adults guiding. Slocumb is one of those spaces. The tech lab, the woodshop, the machine shop, the forge - all soul spaces. So, too, is the Norris Theater with its paneling, the wooden beams that hold up the grid, the scene shop. It’s one of those spaces that invites lingering. It’s calming and energizing. It’s a place of music, of singing, of acting and set magic, of students making birthday announcements and game recaps. It’s a place of laughter and sometimes somber talks. It’s one of those places that makes Proctor…well, Proctor.