Today we mourn the passing of Honorary Trustee and past parent, Mark Cangiano, who was a part of a family that has made Proctor’s heartbeat for seventy years. Mark’s more than thirty-five years of service as a member of the Board of Trustees, his sister, Brenda Godwin’s twenty-six years of service as a teacher at Proctor, and their father’s 41 years of service as a board member represent an extraordinary commitment to Proctor Academy.
On April 11, 1977 one of Proctor’s most iconic buildings was destroyed by a fire. The entire community stood and watched as the center of campus was ravaged by flames. Not only was Cary House the residence of four faculty families and thirty-six students, but it also housed the school’s kitchen and dining hall. Read this old Chuck’s Corner for more details about the fire and its impact on Proctor.
The Profile of a Proctor Graduate describes the traits we hope each graduate possesses as they leave Proctor and move into other communities. In order to take these characteristics with them, students must first be exposed to how they are put into action here. Today was a day driven by core values as the effort of students, faculty, and staff allowed Proctor to serve as the host to the 2nd Annual Rail Trail Rally.
On Thursday parents, students, and friends traveled to Gloucester, Massachusetts for the send off of Proctor’s Ocean Classroom voyage on Roseway. The smells of the waterfront, the slap of halyards, and the keening gulls swirled in a gyre of beckoning and possibility. The mix of nerves and excitement, that fuel for adventure, was palpable on deck as families hugged and pictures were snapped. After a little more than an hour of mingling, prowling through quarters, meeting the crew, checking out the galley, parents and guests were asked to leave. Gently but firmly. The engine rumbled, lines were cast off, and the Roseway slipped into the gold of late afternoon light. A farewell cannon clap startled the well wishers on the docks and a final cheer stretched across the harbor.
Last week an interesting article was published in Forbes magazine about the disruption occurring in the independent school world. Michael Horn discussed the challenges facing many schools as tuition prices rise faster than wages and technology and charter schools introduce new approaches to learning. At Proctor, we feel these disruptions all around us, and while we are cognizant of how we must adapt to an ever-changing landscape, we are as confident as ever in our educational model.
We’re in the window of beginnings when all feels new and the arc of the possible is the dominant trajectory. On Thursday I met with three sections of Freshman Seminar circled up in chairs in the Black Box. We talked a little about Proctor, my role, and the way our community functions, how their start was going. At no time is the arc of possibility more palpable than in September when the campus first fills.
Life for teenagers can be complicated, scary, and filled with questions. Events in the news over the summer brought to light just how complicated residential life can be at a boarding school. We recognize this. We also recognize sexual and domestic assault and dating violence is not just a ‘boy’ issue. Nor is not just a ‘girl’ issue or a faculty/staff issue. It is an ‘us’ issue. If we do not actively work to shape school culture, it will shape us.That’s what last night was about as we launched the Proctor Sisters Program.
While new students trek through the White Mountains on Wilderness Orientation, 130 student athletes take part in Proctor's annual pre-season sports camp. Five days of double or triple sessions provide a tremendous opportunity to develop skills, work on tactics, and improve fitness before official tryouts begin next week.
The start to the school year at Proctor builds slowly for weeks. Faculty trickle back to campus during the early weeks of August as syllabi are prepared, advisor letters are written, and dorms are prepared for students. Meetings happen, registration day schedules are finalized, WOFR training happens, and then BOOM, students arrive and we are off and running!
Perhaps the most critical task any organization undergoes is regular self-reflection. While some may avoid this process because they are afraid of what they will see, Proctor has chosen to embrace self-reflection because we know how much better we might be able to be. Over the past five years, we have developed a Profile of a Proctor graduate, agreed upon a set of characteristics of good teaching to which we strive, conducted a NEASC self-study, undergone a faculty/trustee retreat, and developed a strategic plan that reaffirms our deep commitment to experiential education, off-campus programs, and brain-based learning.