How does the culture of an organization sustain over time? Is it the people? Is it the mission? Is it the programs offered? What is it that allows Proctor’s unique culture to thrive year after year? How do we cultivate continuity when we welcome new faculty, staff, and students to Proctor’s community each year?
Society encourages us to live quickly. We consume media by scrolling, expect wifi everywhere we go, even order groceries online so they can be delivered to our cars in the name of efficiency. We operate under this misguided belief that faster is better, and yet feel an ache for connection that previous generations embraced in their slowness. As Generation Z comes to age in front of our eyes, we must think critically about young people’s ability to connect with each other and how Proctor can nurture in these adolescents a love for learning, for experiencing, for risking failure, for persevering, and for each other.
August is knocking on the door. Tomorrow we will have to answer. And we all know that when August arrives, our focus shifts to the start of the school year: advisor letters, roommate assignments for new students, start of year faculty meetings, Wilderness Orientation prep, firming up syllabi. We cling to the hot, humid days of July, anticipating the busyness and energy that accompanies each new school year.
Last evening I watched the late innings of a baseball game against St. Paul’s School. It was a tight one, the score see-sawing back and forth. We’re up, they’re up, then we’re catching up. The sun cut shadow from trees to the west, the outfield was a deep green, the chatter of the benches (and some rowdy fans from Carr House) peppered the evening. I could lean against the white fence near the right field foul pole, my favorite spot on a perfect evening. I could lean against that fence on evenings like that - baseball, no bugs, no wind, warm enough for just a light fleece - for hours.
Over the past few months, prospective families have navigated the admissions process at a number of independent schools. While each stage of the admissions process sparks important questions, the most difficult decision for each prospective student occurs during these last days before we ask families to submit contracts for the 2019-2020 school year.