Stumbling upon a wolf pine in the midst of Proctor’s vast woodlands, its wide arms spread wide over the new growth forest below it, reminds us of the slower pace to the life of trees. These relics and their sturdy presence steadies us as we navigate change and look for direction.
Spend an hour during the summer months sitting in one of the hundred green Adirondack chairs sprinkled throughout Proctor’s campus and simply listen. Of course you’ll hear the sounds of birds singing their songs and frogs croaking their own tune from the pond. Listen a bit more closely and you’ll hear the steady sound of hard work: lawn mowing, weed wacking, building, constructing, fixing, and mending. While many of us enjoy a slower pace to summer, our Maintenance Team is operating at full throttle working on campus improvement projects that are unable to take place during the school year.
We have carried a different community energy this year, an energy that is still positive, still Proctor, but different. We carry the loss of Dave Pilla from the summer. We miss his cheer, his laughter, his grace, and his generosity, his constant search for the perfect cup of coffee and his constant reminder of wilderness solace and solutions. Many of us think about the way he held his depression so close, hiding it from so many. The Woodlands Office has been quieter this year, the woodstove cold for much of the winter. Next door, the Wilson Building sits empty and unused; it carries a heavy energy.
Proctor Academy is excited to announce the planned construction of a new Outdoor Center on the west end of campus after an anonymous gift of $3,000,000 catalyzed the project. Long committed to outdoor sports, the construction of the Proctor Outdoor Center reaffirms our institutional belief in the benefits of year-round outdoor activities.
Certain events throughout the year remind us of those stewards of community responsible for sustaining the Proctor of today in a way that is consistent with the Proctor of yesterday. On one of the busiest weekends of the winter, our Board of Trustees met to discuss the 2019-2020 budget, tuition rates, and the greater landscape of independent school market place, celebrated the opening of Phase 3 of the Farrell Field House renovation, hosted six home games, and capped the night with the 12th Annual Proctor Ski Area Celebration.
Life at an academic institution synchronizes you to nature’s cycles as meteorological and calendar milestones create inseparable associations: fall foliage/Fall Family Weekend, first snow/Holderness Weekend, Thanksgiving Break/snow guns blowing at the Proctor Ski Area, frigid cold of January/pond hockey, late March snowstorms/Project Period, black flies/baseball season, and first thunderstorms of the spring/Graduation weekend. This winter, a disruption to this cycle occurred when Proctor made the decision to dredge the Proctor Pond in order to restore the aquatic ecosystem at the center of campus.
We tend to look up, eyes drawn to the skyline, the geometry of rooflines, the arc of hills against the horizon, the splash of stars across the night sky. The beauty, the majesty, it’s up ahead. We coach our players to keep their head up, to work to see the whole of the playing field, to anticipate. Maybe in golf or baseball you keep your head down, but that’s only temporary. Your eyes immediately rise after you hit the ball: how far will it travel? Sand trap or fairway? Base hit or triple? Maybe this proclivity to always look up is instinctual, an ingrained alertness to see what’s coming, to prepare and protect.
June's blooming flowers and grassy green hues mark a time of gratitude at Proctor Academy. As we approach the end of the month and the end of the fiscal year, our every day thankfulness for the beauty of our surroundings is coupled with our gratitude for the many ways our community receives support; as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we rely on the incredible devotion of our financial supporters to make all that we do at Proctor a reality.