Ask any of Proctor’s Social Science teachers about Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and they will eagerly offer an explanation of social contracts and the rationale for forming communities around agreed upon rules and structures in order to preserve life and liberty. Whenever we join a community (nation, state, town, school, church, service club, or otherwise), we voluntarily sacrifice some of our individual freedoms because we believe the benefits gained from living in community outweigh the cost of forgone individual rights. Each of us makes this same decision when we join the Proctor community.
Our core values guide our actions as a community. Our employee handbook dictates appropriate behaviors as adults in the community, and our student handbook lays out rules and expectations for our students. We agree to abide by these guidelines (even though they may infringe on our individual freedoms) because we believe our lives are enhanced by the community we are joining.
As adults, we clearly see the benefits the Proctor community affords us; lifelong friendships, meals in the dining hall, supportive colleagues during personal struggles, and access to Proctor’s facilities are just a few benefits that come to mind. We experience these benefits in ‘real time’, and consequently are eager to recommit to being a part of the Proctor community each year.
For our students, an appreciation of the benefits gained by joining the Proctor community occurs over time. We develop rules that we believe optimize the learning environment for our students, but have you ever tried telling a 16 year old he can no longer have his XBox in his room? Or an 18 year old she needs to study from 8:00-10:00 pm every night and then be in her room by 10:30 pm? Rarely do new students immediately embrace the restrictions placed on their adolescent lives at boarding school. Instead, as their Proctor experience unfolds, students grow in appreciation of Proctor’s impact on their life. Listen to Nick ‘17, Pudu ‘16, Elena ‘16, and Ari ‘16 in the video below as they give advice to incoming students. The wisdom they share stems from their willingness to embrace the entirety of the Proctor experience, a willingness that evolved over time.
In three weeks, the 2016-2017 school year will be in full swing. Dorms will be full, classrooms bustling, and athletic fields and art studios swarming with students eager to see what the year ahead has in store for them. Little do they know the impact of joining the Proctor community will last their entire lifetime.