Spring Break on Proctor’s campus is always quiet as faculty scatter to warmer climates, students disperse around the globe, and the overall pace for our staff lessens. But, never has it been quite the ghost town we are experiencing right now.
As an independent high school offering experiential learning both on and off campus, by necessity Proctor is unavoidably in the business of managing risk. Mostly we are comfortable with that. Knowing that students are going to be riding out gales in the Atlantic on Ocean Classroom, clattering through a slalom course at the Proctor Ski Area, navigating solos on Mountain Classroom, learning how to use plasma cutters in the metal shop is all in our comfort zone. It’s what we do in so many arenas at Proctor. And our students find the landscape of challenge rich with life growth opportunities. We take managing this risk seriously. We recognize, however, that in the midst of these daily risks, there are moments when our risk profile amplifies. It is during these moments when we must remain agile, shift course if necessary, and remain vigilant to the external factors impacting our internal offerings.
More than a decade ago, Proctor experimented with an integrated arts course as a Freshman Seminar. Students were able to experiment in different arts disciplines within the context of self-exploration that sits at the core of our ninth grade wellness curriculum. While our wellness seminars have evolved from this model, maybe we were onto something back then that current research is now reemphasizing: immersion in the arts and improved wellness are inextricably linked.
As a coach, momentum is either your best friend or your worst enemy. If it’s your team making a run, you hear fans cheering, watch as players dial in their focus, adrenaline rushing. If your team is on the unfortunate end of momentum, you pray for a referee’s call to go in your favor, search for any stoppage of play, and then desperately call a timeout in hopes of allowing your team to regroup.
Irrational fears are often rooted in an experience, a moment in time when our innocence is lost or our perspective shifts drastically. I’m terrified of sailing. It is an irrational fear born of a family sail aboard our 17 foot day sailer as a young child. I don’t remember the specifics, but simply recall the sensation of lost control, of tipping on edge, of feeling helpless. For years after my father worked to help me overcome this fear, attempting to teach me how to sail, how to manage gusts of wind, explaining ad nauseam there is always an escape plan in an emergency as long as you are prepared for it.
Today it is raining (again), the mosquitos in the woods are unbearable, and the high temperature will not crack 60 degrees. Not the idyllic mid-June days we dream of during the depths of winter, but the last week has graced us with exceptional weather. Even in the rain, there is such beauty surrounding us. We need to get outside and enjoy that beauty. We need to prioritize our connection to nature, and in doing so, we will find ourselves trending toward happier, healthier, more balanced individuals.
This winter, our Sophomore Seminar classes explored ways to stay healthy in the midst of what can be a long, tiresome trimester. Classes discussed substance use and abuse, relationships, stress management, communicable disease, birth control, being a good person, and how to take care of ourselves to the best of our ability. As the term wound down, students shared personal wellness goals for the rest of the year. As we enter Spring Break, we should all take some advice from these incredibly wise, self-aware tenth graders. Thank you to Terry Stoecker for prompting this post and sharing the student goals below!
The end of an era? A recent piece in Proctor’s student-run publication Hornet’s Nest, posed the question. Rumors on campus swirled, snippets of gossip coalesced into definitive opinions about what decision the school would make around a program that has seen regional numbers decline, our own numbers half from a high-water of 50 student athletes in 2013 to the lean squad of 25 this past season, and growing concerns around health issues. I heard rumors the school was going to axe the program. Definitely. Irrevocably. Talk that the deck was stacked. That Administration, Admissions, and I were turning our back on the program. That it was done. Finished. Football was over. Well…not yet. Not at Proctor.