The constant pressure of social comparisons and curating our own digital reality weighs on us. As we work to build a healthy environment for adolescents to thrive, we must look beyond seeing technology as a cause of anxiety and instead view it as a symptom of the underlying struggle so many of us face today: true connection and meaning.
Thursday evening I hit the trail to drop in on a Wilderness Orientation group. It was getting dark, but I knew where the group had camped along the Pond Brook Trail in the Sandwich Wilderness. I knew the swimming holes, knew the rerouted section, knew the waterfalls. I jogged up through a tree farm a little after 6:30 pm. The sun had dropped down behind the Sandwich Range, and where the Guinea Pond trail angled left, I hooked a right on the Bennett Street trail to run along Pond Brook in the softening light. The dog stitched back and forth through the pines, and after a mile or two I caught the sound of laughter against the brook. It was Patty Pond and Lori Patriacca’s ‘01 group.
It is a refrain from a song written by my brother, Trent Wagler, and performed by his band The Steel Wheels. The song, based on stories from our grandfather, presents the challenges faced by a young person growing up in the Amish church. The Amish, famous for their buggies, bonnets, baking and furniture are a sect of anabaptists who broke off from the Mennonites in the late 17th century.
No one is having a busier summer than Jim Cox, our Director of Technology and Information Services. With the installation of a new phone system and regular technology maintenance issues, the past month has been non-stop work for Jim and his tech team. A member of the Proctor community since 1990 when he first served as a Mountain Classroom instructor, Jim has played a vital role in the evolution of our technology integration and use on campus over the past 30 years. Each week throughout the school year, we feature a faculty/staff profile in our weekly Parent Page and will start sharing some of those profiles to a larger audience this summer. Read about Jim's Proctor experience and the technological changes that have occurred during his time at Proctor in the interview below!
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?