In Michael Porter’s 1996 Harvard Business Review piece titled “What is Strategy”, he outlines the concept of strategic fit, the idea that an organization’s success is not determined by isolated attributes, but by the interconnectedness, or fit, of all its components. This notion of “fit” explains how Proctor’s unique combination of on-campus experiential learning opportunities, integrated academic support, authentic relationships among faculty and students, term-long off-campus programs, and high level arts and athletics all work in synergy to provide an unparalleled educational experience. The complexity of Proctor’s USSA/FIS Ski Program serves as a microcosm of how this concept of strategic fit operates within the greater Proctor model.
Proctor is far from a traditional boarding school. Sure, we have traditions (Holderness Weekend, Polar Swim, the Hays Speaking Contest, and Winter Carnival), but we are not driven by them; they are simply nice features layered on top of the core of who we are as a community. We thrive on evolutions and shifts and changes, recognizing that when we become stagnant as a community, we stop growing as individuals.
It’s part of who we are, part of our history, part of what we move forward. Scraps of the history can be found in the woods behind the football field, a wheel nailed to a maple tree signals the old rope tow. Stories swirl of slope improvement that involve students, dynamite, and a granite stater do-it-yourself mentality. Every institution has legacy, tradition, and it’s important in the current hustle to evolve and to become the new next, legacy is not forgotten. And yet sometimes legacy has to justify itself, and sometimes in the exploration of legacy institutional values are revealed. And that can be a steadying.
For the past three years, Proctor's winter Board of Trustee meetings has coincided with the ribbon cutting of a major facility upgrade (2018 - Farrell Field House Phases 1-2, 2019 - Farrell Field House Phase 3, 2020 - Proctor Outdoor Center) and the Proctor Ski Area Celebration. On these weekends, the theme of stewardship resonates throughout each conversation, each event, each celebration of who Proctor is and who it could become.
Over the past twenty years, the Northern New England Mountain Biking League has grown into the most comprehensive high school mountain biking league in the East with riders from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts represented in each week’s race. Proctor hosted for the first race of the season at the Proctor Ski Area on Wednesday, September 18 as more than 300 riders from over 23 schools in four states hit the trails.
Known as the school on skis throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Proctor’s commitment to snow sports has never been more prominent than it is today. Across all on-snow programs, the quality of coaching, access to a privately owned and operated training/race venue, and flexibility of support within Proctor’s academic curriculum has opened doors to experiences past generations of Proctor students could only dream of having at their fingertips.
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.
Sports information intern Ben Beinner '21 shares his first team spotlight of the winter term:
I was fortunate to be able to watch one of the most exciting teams this season. That of course is the Nordic ski team. As I arrived at their first race of the season, a scrimmage of sorts with other Lakes Region schools, it was very impressive to see all of the new comers really already looking like seasoned veterans in the way they skied and cheered on their team. With such a larger number of kids on the team, the group has really thrived during these first few weeks of the winter season, and look to be a threat in the Lakes Region.