We know coming back from vacation can be challenging, especially after relaxing with family and friends. With the start of the Winter Term, we kick off a new athletic season (perhaps the most exciting at Proctor!), new classes, and have a chance reflect on the first term. A little solace for those students making the return trip to campus today? They are not the first, nor will they be the last, to arrive in Andover after a Thanksgiving vacation!
During this season of giving thanks, we are incredibly thankful for the natural world that surrounds us. As you sit around the fireplace following your Thanksgiving meal and your family dog wanders over to lie next to you, remember the message Carl Safina shares in his most recent book Beyond Words: animals can think and feel.
Last year, we published a blog post You Are What You Assess. As students enjoy a week of vacation following exams, we revisit the message in that post with a look at last week’s final assessments.
There is a shift on campus, a transition that is more than the collective relief of exams completed. Some students will be back on campus in a little more than a week, while others are getting ready to head to France, to Spain, or to spend a term on Mountain or in Costa Rica. This is the break that reveals the tidal rhythm of the school and reminds us of our constant motion.
Eight weeks ago, twenty-one Proctor Academy students boarded the Schooner Roseway in Gloucester, Massachusetts on a perfect September day. Family and friends waved goodbye with tears of hope and pride creeping down their cheeks. They knew, as did the students aboard the Roseway, the experience that lay ahead would be transformative. As program director Dave Pilla told families aboard the Roseway in September, "Your sons and daughters will return changed."
In this final Proctor en Segovia post travel with us to Barcelona, watch a Real Madrid match at Santiago Bernabeú, and, finally to Sevilla and Andalucía’s Costa de la Luz. Enjoy a short film by Gray with student reflections on life in Segovia and footage taken throughout the term. Also contained within are captions by Gray and Sydney, and short pieces of writing by Will, Jaz, and Sydney!
As we approach the end of the Fall Term and students are in the midst of completing final exams in each of their courses, we take a look back at recent field trips by U.S. History and AP Government classes. Proctor's teachers continue to work to tear down the walls of the traditional classroom by allowing students to live the history they are studying.
Some endeavors provide immediate gratification. You put in the hard work and see immediate results. The arts is not one of those endeavors. Students spend an entire term refining their talents, exploring new techniques, trying different mediums. There is no right or wrong, just a constant opportunity to get better. The end of the term provides the community a window into this journey as student work is showcased at the art show and the dance team, jazz/rock ensemble, and vocal music ensemble perform.
Thursday evening, teams met one final time for the Fall Athletic season to recognize individual players with end of season awards. Over the past ten weeks, all of Proctor’s student-athletes and coaches have dedicated tremendous time and energy into creating a shared experience within each team that leads directly to student growth. While every athlete improved over the course of the season, team awards recognize those individuals whose outstanding contributions through leadership, sportsmanship, or ability made a significant impact on the team’s success this fall.
The Road to Character – not a novel – has a chapter on struggle and Doris Day’s life journey towards faith. A couple of sentences caught my attention and I’ve been rolling them over, particularly in light of last night’s stunning project presentations from various classes highlighting the hard work that goes on in the arts, in robotics, in psychology, and in social entrepreneurship classes. Fewer people today see artists as oracles and novels as a form of revelation. The cognitive sciences have replaced literature as the way many people attempt to understand their own minds. What? The novel and art dismissed by the cognitive sciences? No more fictional worlds explored, no more self-understanding deepened through characters? The arts unnecessary? Should the dismantling of English Departments begin tomorrow?
While excursions to other regions and cities of Spain are an integral part of the Proctor en Segovia experience, there is something comforting about returning to Segovia. Host families welcome students with warm, home-cooked dinners and are eager to hear of their adventures in Andalucía or on the Camino de Santiago. The granite and sandstone of the two-thousand-year-old Roman aqueduct and UNESCO World Heritage Site old town glows in the illumination of street lights. Inevitably, we have grown somewhat used to them, despite their grandeur, but they appear breathtaking again after a few days of absence. The return to our daily routine of meals with host families, classes at school on the Plaza Mayor and afternoon activities scattered throughout the city is reassuring. Estamos en casa, we are home, en Segovia.
After nearly fourteen days at sea, Proctor's Ocean Classroom aboard the Schooner Roseway finally made it to St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Read the crew's most recent ship's logs to get a sense of what has been happening aboard the Roseway since landfall on Thursday. With just two weeks remaining in their nine week journey, Ocean Classroom is savoring these final days together in the Caribbean!
Is it the friendships or the relationships that make for a healthy community?
This question came to me when I was on a run the other morning, an early one, when I paused at the western edge of the hayfield near the Nordic start area, the snow guns poking like fragile insect legs into grey morning. The sound of Route 11 traffic to the north and to my left pressed against the deeper quiet of Kearsarge slopes rolling south and to my right. I kept my eyes to the east, on the bright notch between Beech Hill and the ski hill where the sun would rise. I watched the mist sift over the field.
We know from the business world investing in a team is as important as investing in an idea. So how do we ensure our ‘team’ is as solid as our ‘idea’? No one will argue with the efficacy of our educational model of hands-on experiential learning infused through authentic relationships with teachers into classrooms both on- and off-campus. The success of Proctor’s educational model, however, is entirely contingent upon its successful implementation.
As I write this, Roseway has finally entered the trade winds and is making way towards St. Croix, with an expected arrival sometime later this week. The passage from Cumberland Island to St. Croix represents the longest offshore leg of our Ocean Classroom program (anywhere from 12 – 14 days) and encompasses so much of what voyaging is about.
Malcolm de Sieyes is in constant motion. As he whisks around his commercial kitchen at the Silverado Cooking School in Napa, California, it is clear that he is a man on a mission. While preparing for an evening class during which students will create and experiment with four different pastas, fillings and sauces, Chef Malcolm needs to ensure ingredients are on hand, the kitchen is immaculate and his staff is ready for their incoming student-guests. His attention to detail has garnered Silverado significant regional press, as well as notice from the likes of Wine Spectator and other national food publications. Although only three years old, Silverado Cooking School has become well known in Napa for providing guests with memorable experiences.