The last ten days feels like a blur. A week ago I wrote a blog titled Ship, Shipmate, Self as we worked to process loss in our community, and while my intention is not to run an entire blog series on grief, it is important to continue the dialogue that too often gets swept under the rug following a tragedy like this.
“Grief is the price we pay for love, and when you feel the weight of the grief we are all feeling right now, you recognize just how much love lived in the one you are grieving.” These words were shared by Proctor’s counselor, Kara Kidder, during an informal gathering for faculty and staff Tuesday morning in the wake of longtime forestry faculty member Dave Pilla’s sudden passing. Just as Proctor’s Maintenance Department approaches the tireless clean up of downed trees from Tuesday night’s microburst that ripped through campus, the path to healing for our community will take time.
It is with the greatest sadness that we share news with the Proctor community that longtime faculty member Dave Pilla passed away Sunday afternoon. His sudden passing leaves our community with an immeasurable void, and only the smallest solace can be found in knowing that the lives he touched and the passions he kindled move outward in the world.
No one is having a busier summer than Jim Cox, our Director of Technology and Information Services. With the installation of a new phone system and regular technology maintenance issues, the past month has been non-stop work for Jim and his tech team. A member of the Proctor community since 1990 when he first served as a Mountain Classroom instructor, Jim has played a vital role in the evolution of our technology integration and use on campus over the past 30 years. Each week throughout the school year, we feature a faculty/staff profile in our weekly Parent Page and will start sharing some of those profiles to a larger audience this summer. Read about Jim's Proctor experience and the technological changes that have occurred during his time at Proctor in the interview below!
Teaching can be a seriously humbling life. I can’t speak for other teachers as to why they started teaching but I assume inspiring students fits somewhere on the list for many of us. I’d love to think of myself leading the charge for my students as they learn about the world and find a path that inspires them. Many schools espouse the idea that we need to be learning for the world beyond the classroom; that part isn’t something that is unique to Proctor. The difference for us is that we have built a school that doesn’t only talk about it but makes it happen and has made it the norm for our students.
In a recent conversation with Ethney McMahon P'16, '20, our videographer, she mentioned the following that struck me. "I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to float into classrooms and onto athletic fields at any time. It’s a free pass to observe this community, up close, in its continual making. I see teachers and students in their element as much as I see them out of their element."
I was sitting today...processing January...yes processing January. When you have -18 degrees one day, 52 degrees and 2" of rain with flooding a week later, challenges with discipline, challenges with relationships, and challenges in class, yet simultaneously seeing students produce beautiful writing, art, music, comedy, (even a yo-yo master), and then celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. while tackling the challenges we still face as a nation when it comes to freedom and equity, you must process January.
In the fall of 1968, Dick Bellefeuille arrived on campus with his wife, Helen, and his young family. Along with serving as the dorm parent in Mary Lowell Stone, Mr. Bellefeuille (as he was always known by students) taught Spanish and coached reserve football, skating club, and lacrosse. Over the next thirty-two years (1968-1999), he would expand his teaching role to the science and math departments and become Proctor’s first athletic trainer in the 1980s. Through these varied roles, his career impacted thousands of students’ lives and left an indelible mark on the Proctor community. On December 28, Dick passed away at home in Concord, New Hampshire under the care of hospice.