Monday's assembly marked the beginning of the end of the 2017-2018 school year as academic departments presented underclass awards. As Head of School Mike Henriques mentioned in his opening comments of the assembly, our students have invested incredible effort and energy into their academic pursuits at Proctor this year. While we wish we could publicly acknowledge each of our student's individual growth, today's awards assembly recognized a handful of students whose performance and effort stands out as truly excellent. Congratulations to each of this year's underclass award winners listed below!
I was in Maine this week, in Freeport, for an appointment to see an old friend. We’d set up the meeting a couple of weeks ago. She was someone who I had worked with years ago, in the late 90s at LL Bean, and today is the Chief Human Resources Officer at the company. She is someone wise with a quick wit, ready to laugh or share a world of experience. I see her as a friend even though we hadn’t seen each other in over 15 years. No Facebook connections, no instagram feed.
Whenever we look at our school calendar in August, we see Bonus Weekend just three and a half weeks into the new year, and often scoff at the notion we would need a respite that soon after Winter Break. And then the realities of January hit us, and we always enter this weekend incredibly thankful for a few days off. The challenge this time of year is to step back, in the midst of our busy schedules, and appreciate the incredible amount of hard work that goes into daily life at Proctor. We must pause and allow ourselves to recharge.
There are the upsides. We couldn’t do half of what we do today without technology. It’s made us smarter, more collaborative, and the benefits are clear even if it’s just writing an essay on Google docs or incorporating video into a bio lab report, or skittering through an Excel spreadsheet. But it’s also arriving with unprecedented force, delivered at ever higher pressurized streams. It’s like fracking, that practice of drilling into shale deposits and injecting super compressed fluids - “slick water” with “proppants” - to drive out oil or natural gas trapped in the rock. With technology fracking, the aps, news, entertainment, and social media injected into the bedrock of communities is consequential. It raises the question: what’s being damaged?
Today’s blue skies, warm sunshine, and clear pathways will soon give way to more than an inch of rain and unseasonably warm temperatures tomorrow and Friday. The weather patterns this winter have been changing at the same breakneck speed with which we navigate the Winter Term at Proctor. Sunrises, classes, assembly, afternoon programs, races, games, rehearsals, extra help sessions, study hall, college counseling meetings, sunsets blur into a life that is equal parts invigorating and exhausting. In order to set our eyes on the invigorating, and not solely on the exhausting, we must intentionally carve out time to press pause and connect with each other.
Friday night’s tech free camping excursion to Elbow Pond, organized by Assistant School Leader Sarah Ferdinand ‘18, foreshadowed a massive power outage throughout the morning on Monday. A powerful Nor’Easter hit New England overnight Sunday into Monday, knocking out power to more than half the state of New Hampshire.
Most of us go to the technology help desk because we dropped a phone, cracked a screen, forgot a password, or need help with an update. We need something. We go to the tech office humble and looking for help, and when we get to the first floor of the Fowler Learning Center, Anna, Jim, Spencer, Susan, or Seth wait with their store of infinite patient, deep knowledge, and good cheer. Those five manage and work with constant change, continual upgrades, and the persistent (and silly) “user error;” they live professional development. At Proctor, the repair space of grounded work stations, microscopes, and tiny tools is noteworthy and impressive, but the people are awe-inspiring: Anna, I am convinced, can field strip an iPhone (any model) and reassemble it in under ten minutes.