On some level we see it all. We see teachers tack back and forth from Maxwell to Shirley to Fowler Learning Center, see the maintenance trucks and mowers move across campus, see and hear the coaches on the fields in the afternoon, the kitchen crew roll out meals. It’s pretty simple. The workings of community sit right in front of us and are easy enough to discern. But then there are the other layers.
We thrive when our entire body is healthy, when blood pumps through every vein and we tune into the interconnectedness of individual parts as we operate the whole. The same goes for communities. We are only healthy when every layer of our community feels engaged, heard, and empowered to effect change.
As we launch into the year ahead, we will consistently look to our elected school leaders, Vienna Marcus '20 and Hitch Graham '20, for wisdom, guidance, and representation of the student body. The role of School Leader carries with it significant responsibility: attending all faculty meetings, running student government meetings with class representatives, meeting weekly with the Head of School and Assistant Head of School to discuss initiatives and student life goals, as well as serving on the Appeals Committee when a student appeals their dismissal from Proctor. Vienna and Hitch share their thoughts on the year ahead below.
Adolescents are designed to change. The students who arrived on campus on Registration Day were not the same who came out of the woods with their Orientation groups on Sunday afternoon, and they will not be the same that walk across the graduation stage. As we find the rhythm of a new academic year, we embark on a journey of self-discovery alongside our students.
I’m not going to get this right. The stories of intolerance are plentiful. An incident occurring at the Lincoln Memorial a couple of weeks ago - a teenager wearing a MAGA hat appearing to confront or taunt a Native American elder - still reverberates. How can we not honor our Native American elders? It revealed insensitivities. (It also revealed the dangers of an oversimplified narrative begat by a single photograph.) And here at Proctor, Assistant Head of School Karin Clough spoke to the school community yesterday about a troubling incident that occurred on our campus recently: the tearing down of an all-gender bathroom sign in the newly renovated field house. We are saddened and angered by events like these. Confused. How can a community like Proctor, committed to the work of inclusion, be a place where such anger and ignorance takes place? But I don’t write about just that.
Thursday evening provided the Proctor community an opportunity to hear seven sophomores share speeches during the 20th annual Hay's Speaking Contest. The Winter Term affords all sophomore English classes the opportunity to embark on a speech writing process that explores personal journeys, influential moments, or social commentary using research for support. Tonight, we saw a representative of each American Literature class deliver their speech to the community.
Perhaps our greatest asset as a human race lies in our ability to override a rational assessment of danger and speak up against injustice. We must never believe we are powerless, yet as we pursue what is right, we must understand the obstacles that prevent us from exercising moral obligation on both an individual and community level have plagued humanity for thousands of years. The remedy to inaction? Community.
Walking down Ward Lane late yesterday afternoon, the cold wind ripping down from Ragged with the clouds scattering bits of rain and snow, I approached the baseball field. Green tarps, water pooling on them, had been pulled over the mound and home plate, the red dirt of the base paths had been raked smooth by Garry George, the dugout benches had long been carted away to other fields. The single ball I found, a leftover seed from the past season, won’t spin out of a hand until next spring. I took it all in and thought about the Nor’easter predicted for this weekend that could bring snow to the mountains and bury the field. Proctor’s baseball season barely ripples through the community consciousness, but thankfully the game is still being played on the national stage.