Today’s offering for The Journey comes through the voices of John Around Him and Lori Patriaca ‘01, both of whom have served a critical role in helping our Proctor community connect with, understand, and become a part of the Lakota communities of South Dakota, continuing a legacy of connection first made by John’s father, John Around Him, and late faculty member George Emeny in the 1980s. John spent last week visiting classes, spending time with students and faculty, and immersing himself in all that is Proctor. Enjoy John and Lori’s offering below.
This week at Proctor marks the period of settling. Just as the leaves in their autumnal colors change and fall, so, too, does our affective model of education begin to shift, unfold, and deepen as a storyline in a novel does. Every school where I have worked has a rhythm all its own.
On Saturday, September 11, Hunter Churchill and I gathered our seven Proctor students and their student leader, River De Vink, to hike on Day #4 of Wilderness Orientation. We had decided that morning that we would head up Mount Willey, a formidable 4,285 foot peak in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
With a heavy heart, I share the sad news of the passing of Walter Wright '49. Throughout his lifetime, he remained committed to the growth and sustainability of Proctor. As a Proctor student, Walter was a school leader his senior year, played football, was on the student council and the improvement squad. He was also the recipient of the Shop Award and the Savage Leadership Award. Through my few conversations with Walter since I was appointed Head of School, he expressed a deep commitment to a culture of environmental sustainability that is now woven into the fabric of our community and perpetuated through the naming of the Walter Wright '49 Biomass Plant dedicated in his honor in 2009.
In many cultures, gatherings are sacred, like the garments worn at a celebratory event. It’s where people feel comfort, receive information, share messages, and pass on what is essential about why the group exists. At Proctor, we are a mix of people, groups, religions, races, creeds, and cultures. Often, we come together to share in the joy of each other’s gifts, whether in the classrooms, spaces of play, upon the stage, or because of common interest. We all share one essential thing, which is the love for our small village - our school - that knits us together on pristine land in the middle of New Hampshire.
Before stepping onto the Roseway, I gulped down a non-drowsy dramamine, taking a swig from my water bottle so it wouldn’t get stuck in my craw; all of this “off stage” action was completed outside of the last public restrooms at the dock before boarding our vessel for the day. The Roseway is the schooner that our Ocean Classroom students use as their home away from home each fall trimester. On the last Saturday in July, a group of Proctor people and their families were getting an “amuse bouche” - a little taste - of what it was like to voyage on the same open seas that Proctor Ocean classroom students get to behold.