Proctor is not, and never will be, defined by a singular program. However, it is the individual programs that, together, create an unparalleled educational experience for our students. For the past 25 years, Ocean Classroom has quite simply changed the lives of well over 400 students, four of whom are now faculty members at Proctor. The launch of Ocean Classroom 2018 called for more than usual send-off with families on the pier as we celebrated the silver anniversary of the premier maritime education program for high school students in the country.
For the 48th consecutive year, Proctor Academy has kicked off the school year with a five day hiking and backpacking trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As is the theme of so much we do at Proctor, small groups work best as eight students and two faculty allow for relationships to develop that are simply not possible in a larger setting. Tech free, shower free, and with no shortage of challenges, Wilderness Orientation pushes even the most confident of new student outside his or her comfort zone.
Thursday evening I hit the trail to drop in on a Wilderness Orientation group. It was getting dark, but I knew where the group had camped along the Pond Brook Trail in the Sandwich Wilderness. I knew the swimming holes, knew the rerouted section, knew the waterfalls. I jogged up through a tree farm a little after 6:30 pm. The sun had dropped down behind the Sandwich Range, and where the Guinea Pond trail angled left, I hooked a right on the Bennett Street trail to run along Pond Brook in the softening light. The dog stitched back and forth through the pines, and after a mile or two I caught the sound of laughter against the brook. It was Patty Pond and Lori Patriacca’s ‘01 group.
Proctor in China is a four-week culture and language immersion trip for Proctor students interested in experiencing cultural immersion, developing their Mandarin language skills, and earning one full year of language credit toward their graduation requirements. For this summer's group of eight students and two faculty members, Mandarin teacher Jon Beard and Admissions Counselor Ilyena Kozain '10, the past month of once in a lifetime experiences will certainly take time to fully appreciate.
I boarded the Roseway on Thursday morning at 6:30 am with trepidation. I had signed up for the day sail from Portsmouth to Boston on a glorious hot, still, calm July day in Andover. But this morning was fogged in, rain and thundershowers were predicted and big swells were inevitable. We sign up for things, sometimes, with a romantic notion of what they will be—an AP class that will impress our parents and colleges, a summer service trip that will be fulfilling and profound, an off-campus program that will challenge and inspire. And then when we get to the class, or the airport, or the dock, our feelings sink—why did we ever think this was a good idea?
For each of Proctor's three Summer Service trips, student access to technology is intentionally limited. While we have not been able to share many photos or blog updates from our trip in China (students are starting Week 3 of 4 with host families!) or our trip to our friends on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota (happening right now), the real impact of these trips on Proctor students seeps into their lives over time. This spring, Sage Fletcher '18 reflected while on Mountain Classroom about her experience at Rosebud during last summer's Rosebud trip. Dive into Sage's heart and mind through her words below.