In the midst of celebrating the end of the school year, student accomplishments, the performance of the spring musical, art show, and saying goodbye to retiring faculty and staff, we pause to honor the life's work of former faculty member and legendary coach, Spencer "Spence" Wright P'72, '75 who died at the age of 94 on May 16, 2019.
A few summers ago, I had the privilege of building dry stone walls with fellow faculty members Josh Norris '92 and Peter Southworth. It was hard work. Really hard work. But the results of that work were tangible. Each day, we would walk away from the job site seeing what we had built; the perfectly placed foundation rocks, tetris-like fits locking the wall into place, flat tops and square corners that made you appreciate the miles and miles of centuries-old stone walls lining New Hampshire’s woods. There was an immediate gratification with this summer job, a satisfaction that provided a welcomed contrast to the feedback mechanisms associated with teaching adolescents.
We all deserve to experience what it is like to be a part of a great team at some point in our lives. Great teams know themselves. They understand who they are. They know their strengths, their weaknesses. Each member understands individual roles within the group, and the coach knows how to optimize the performance of the group. It really is magical to watch a team firing on all cylinders. We had a chance to watch a few of those teams this winter including the girls’ varsity basketball team as they made a run to the NEPSAC Championship game over the weekend.
Sustaining and stewarding a school's culture through generations is the responsibility of each of us. Wednesday's inservice day for faculty took a non-traditional approach to professional development. There was no discussion of curriculum mapping, professional goals, or strategic initiatives that will drive Proctor forward in the most competitive boarding school market any of us have ever seen. Instead, we talked about our personal lives in small “life groups” of 8-10 colleagues.
Roughly 40 prospective families arrived to a bitterly cold campus early Saturday morning, immediately feeling the warmth of the boarding school community into which they stepped. Boarding schools are an enigma for many who are unfamiliar with our holistic approach to education. However, for those of us who have chosen to make Proctor our home and have committed our life’s work to helping our students navigate adolescence, the immersive nature of boarding school life simply makes sense.
Students have departed campus for the week and we wade through the grading of final exams, writing of end of term comments, plowing of weekend snow, and tying up of loose ends before a few days truly "off", we pause to thank those that surround us. Working at Proctor is a choice. It requires each employee to put into perspective the greater goals of the work we do: empowering a generation of young people to make a difference in the world around us. It's hard, emotionally and physically exhausting work, but also incredibly rewarding to work with this group of students AND adults who have chosen Proctor.