Dozens of Proctor alumni go on to compete at the collegiate level each year, in fact over the past four years, roughly 20% of each graduating class has continued their athletic career at the NCAA Division 1, 2, 3 or club level. Occasionally, Proctor teammates have the opportunity to be collegiate teammates, but rarely do we see a confluence of Proctor athletic talent at the same institution like we have at College of the Holy Cross this year with seven former Hornets playing Division 1 varsity sports for the Crusaders this year.
As you walk past Guilick House and approach the steps to Mary Lowell Stone House, you gaze to your left and see Proctor’s Woodlands building. For the past thirty years, white smoke would waft out of the chimney from the small cast iron wood stove inside this home base for the management of Proctor’s 2,500 acres of woodlands. The former office of longtime forester and wildlife science teacher David Pilla, few of us have ventured to this corner of campus since Dave’s passing in July. However, the time our students are spending on our land, studying wildlife and ecology, continues through the work of Alan McIntyre and Lynne Bartlett’s Conservation Ecology classes.
The first weeks of Proctor en Segovia are in the books! Getting adjusted to the Spanish way of life has been thrilling. Segovia’s culture is so rich, and it seems every step I take, I learn something new about this historic city. From creative writing with a croissant in Café Colonial to Spanish class on the streets of Segovia, it's hard to imagine ever having to go back to regular high school class.
In the midst of the daily grind of teaching adolescents, we risk drifting away from our “why”. Why have we dedicated our life to education? Why have we chosen Proctor as the fertile ground into which we will sow our seeds of hope for the next generation? In order to best serve our students, we must nurture daily habits of centering around our “why” as individual educators and as a community.
While most public schools have the day off to observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Proctor chooses to suspend regular classes in order to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King as a community through special programming. The production of Sweat by our drama department added a depth to the conversations on campus we have not experienced before. Enjoy this recap of the day.
Proctor's winter Mountain Classroom group continues their journey westward, spending the past week in West Texas and visiting Annunciation House. Proctor's relationship with Annunciation House dates back over a decade as students meet with and hear the stories of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. In this week's blog post, Lulu '19 and Sean '20 share remarkable insights into their experience at the border, offering each of us a human window into what has become a largely dehumanized struggle in our Nation.
Scott Allenby wrote a terrific blog this week about the importance of listening, of widening perspective, of hearing the other, and the emotions that students who are the minority feel when they navigate a community like Proctor. I want to pick up that theme and share some thoughts on affinity spaces, those places where those who share a common cultural or ethnic background can gather, rejuvenate, and simply be without being the “other.” These are important spaces.
Thursday evening provided the Proctor community an opportunity to hear seven sophomores share speeches during the 20th annual Hay's Speaking Contest. The Winter Term affords all sophomore English classes the opportunity to embark on a speech writing process that explores personal journeys, influential moments, or social commentary using research for support. Tonight, we saw a representative of each American Literature class deliver their speech to the community.
Proctor's five off-campus programs immerse students in cultures and communities around the globe. The only off-campus program for sophomores, Proctor in Costa Rica partners with the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde to provide a unique immersion learning experience for our students where each student is able to seamlessly continue with his or her tenth grade curriculum. As a monster snow-storming bears down on New England this weekend, our crew of five students are happily enjoying warm weather and even warmer hospitality from their host families in Costa Rica.
Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, implores students to get proximate to their own learning; to come face to face with the issues they are studying in order to understand the complexity of the world around us. The foundation of any community rests in an appreciation and understanding of each other. Conversely, we undermine the communities in which we live the moment we allow our own limited experiences to inform our understanding of others. We must actively listen to each other's stories as we work to shape our own narrative.
It is a new year which entails a whopping birth to a fantastic new European Art Classroom! Although there were some scares with baggage at the airport, we eventually arrived safe and sound to our new home for the winter trimester. Adjusting to a new country with a new language seemed intimidating at first, but as we continue to take French classes, we slowly are becoming more comfortable exploring nearby towns on our own.
Proctor Academy varsity basketball team competes in the NEPSAC AA division, one of the most competitive high school basketball leagues in the country. After last season when the team was on the verge of breaking through in the league, this year’s squad has a much different look and will rely on its determination, teamwork, and work ethic to make an impact on the league. Smaller in size than every team they will face, what the team lacks in size, they make up with technique and a fast paced, uptempo offense.
Proctor Academy's Mountain Classroom winter 2019 reunited in Texas after the winter holiday break. Kicking off the New Year, this intrepid group of ten students and two faculty instructors set out on a six-day river trip on the Rio Grand through Big Bend National Park. Read Charlotte's '19 account of their adventure below.
In Spain, France, Costa Rica, and on Mountain Classroom, the Winter Term rolls forward and those on campus all feel slightly left behind. What’s happening over there? Those lucky sophomores in the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, the artists who have landed in Aix, the Mountain Classroom students just coming off the river El Paso. They are out there, out doing. On campus the temperatures will drop to near zero this weekend. It is closing in on Jack London To Build A Fire cold. Those who feel the distant pulse of the off campus programs with the greatest poignancy are likely those who were off campus in the fall. They have left pitching decks and strolls across the plaza in Segovia for the icy, huddled, hunching runs across campus. That bond they felt, those adventures they were living, where did they go?
I cannot recall a moment over the past five years when there has not been the background noise of construction on Proctor’s campus. The beeping of excavators in reverse, air compressors turning on and off as nail guns adhere new siding to buildings, dump trucks driving in and out of campus. This constant state of construction, while inconvenient at times, illustrates our community’s deep belief in our mission and willingness to invest in Proctor’s future through The Campaign for Proctor. However, visits to classes this week reminded us it is not just our campus that is under constant construction, but our students brains are works in progress as well.
Life at an academic institution synchronizes you to nature’s cycles as meteorological and calendar milestones create inseparable associations: fall foliage/Fall Family Weekend, first snow/Holderness Weekend, Thanksgiving Break/snow guns blowing at the Proctor Ski Area, frigid cold of January/pond hockey, late March snowstorms/Project Period, black flies/baseball season, and first thunderstorms of the spring/Graduation weekend. This winter, a disruption to this cycle occurred when Proctor made the decision to dredge the Proctor Pond in order to restore the aquatic ecosystem at the center of campus.
The end of an era? A recent piece in Proctor’s student-run publication Hornet’s Nest, posed the question. Rumors on campus swirled, snippets of gossip coalesced into definitive opinions about what decision the school would make around a program that has seen regional numbers decline, our own numbers half from a high-water of 50 student athletes in 2013 to the lean squad of 25 this past season, and growing concerns around health issues. I heard rumors the school was going to axe the program. Definitely. Irrevocably. Talk that the deck was stacked. That Administration, Admissions, and I were turning our back on the program. That it was done. Finished. Football was over. Well…not yet. Not at Proctor.
Sustaining and stewarding a school's culture through generations is the responsibility of each of us. Wednesday's inservice day for faculty took a non-traditional approach to professional development. There was no discussion of curriculum mapping, professional goals, or strategic initiatives that will drive Proctor forward in the most competitive boarding school market any of us have ever seen. Instead, we talked about our personal lives in small “life groups” of 8-10 colleagues.