During an address to the Board of Trustees on October 9, 1971 in Holland Auditorium second year Head of School David Fowler stated, “Proctor has always been more interested in people and their potential than in test scores. We will continue this policy. What we are trying to make clearer is our personality as a school. Every student must understand what we stand for, who we are, and why we are doing what we are doing.”
David’s words would foreshadow a remarkable evolution of Proctor’s educational model, community, and student body over the next three decades. His vision for what Proctor could become is now being lived out by the Proctor community today. The personality David referred to is one that believes a student’s attitude is everything and that we each bring unique learning styles and experiences to the educational process. It believes immersive learning experiences around the globe are optimal for student growth and that the wilderness is a powerful learning tool. It believes there are many paths to, and definitions of, success, and that cookie cutters are not made for adolescents. It believes that when adults in a school truly love what they, those passions carry over to the student body.
A school community is only as strong as those who embrace it as their own, and thankfully, Proctor continues to unabashedly embrace itself as the quirky, imperfect, transformative place that it is. We shift and change and evolve, but never compromise our core, regardless of what winds may attempt to blow us off course.
It is now time for accepted students and their families to decide if our personality is a good fit for them. Our Admissions team has identified a group of amazing students who we believe will help us become an even better version of ourselves, but that is just half of the match-making process. The responsibility now falls on each accepted student and their family to make sure Proctor is the right fit for them. So here is the challenge to our Accepted Students: think critically about whether Proctor’s personality fits your vision for your high school experience. How do you align with the following statements? If you find yourself repeatedly saying “Yes!”, then we have one heckuva high school experience awaiting you.
1. Be Confident in You
We believe the goal of high school is to take chances, fail, learn, and take more chances. This can only happen when you know that you are living and learning in a community that accepts you for being you. Proctor is that community. No one here expects you to have all the answers, we simply expect you to enjoy the pursuit of knowledge as much as we do. This community will help you believe in yourself, but you have to be willing to do the same.
2. Have Fun
Every school makes sure they post plenty of pictures of smiling students, but not every school refuses to compartmentalize fun. Regardless of whether it is in chemistry class, in the dorm, in the dining hall, hanging with your advisor, or on that long bus ride home from an away game, laughter fuels us and brings our school to life. Sure, there is a time to be serious, and we know how to do that too, but we have found that injecting ‘fun’ into all areas of life at Proctor creates a disproportionately positive high school experience.
3. Embrace Adventure
Certain adventures at Proctor are not optional (Wilderness Orientation), but most are. With nearly 80% of our students choosing to spend at least one term on an Off-Campus Program, embracing adventure is an absolute must if you decide Proctor is the right fit for you. These adventures will connect you to those individuals around you with whom you are sharing your Proctor experience. The personal relationships you will develop will not only last a lifetime, but will shape the direction of your life. Be sure you understand the important role adventure plays in the Proctor experience, and that you are ready to say ‘yes’ when the opportunity to embrace adventure arises.
4. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Prior to each Wilderness Orientation, we talk about the white space on a map, that unknown where real learning and growth happen. Joining the Proctor community is like stepping into that white space as you learn to embrace life outside your comfort zone. Whether it is making an announcement in assembly, trying a new sport, enrolling in an art class, or choosing to study off-campus, if you choose Proctor, you will quickly come to appreciate and understand our deeply rooted culture of ensuring every student steps outside their comfort zone...repeatedly.
5. Love Where You Live:
Those of us who have chosen to make the tiny hamlet of Andover, New Hampshire our home truly love where we live. We love the changing of seasons, the mountains, the three swimmable lakes within walking distance of campus, maple sugaring, the trail system, Proctor Ski Area, and the beauty of rural New Hampshire. We also have chosen to love the short days of our long winters, frost heaves, mud season, black fly season, the fifteen minute drive to the grocery store, and the one pizza place, gas station, and bank in town. Proctor is not located in a metropolis. It never will be. You cannot Uber to the movies or to the mall. Sorry. Choosing Proctor means choosing the rural community of Andover. Know this. Embrace it. Making the decision to love where you live is one of the most liberating decisions you will make in your life.