After nearly two decades of working in education, you might think the cycle of a school year would feel redundant: the same calendar, same events, same games, same final exam schedule. Like a farmer who will always be challenged by unpredictable weather, the challenge of our craft lies in the ever-changing nature of the uncontrollables -- the personalities, talents, and inherent energy of the students and adults in our community who make the February 2022 version of ourselves wholly unique.
Proctor Academy's winter 2022 Mountain Classroom program has come to an end after ten weeks of exploring, adventuring, learning, and bonding as a group. The off-campus experience is like none other, pushing students so far outside their comfort zone that individuals learn to rely on each other, and to understand fully the impact of their individual actions on the well-being of the group. For this Mountain Classroom group, like all groups, that learning has laid a foundation for the rest of their lives. Read more from Colin '22 and Calista '22 in these final reflections from the term.
Ciaran ’22 reflects on the Proctor en Segovia group’s final long excursion of the term, to Sevilla and Córdoba and the southern region of Andalucía. Coursework in Proctor’s off-campus programs employs place-based learning, and students explore connections between course material and experienced history, culture and, of course, language. In the case of Proctor en Segovia, this learning occurs in the home base of Segovia (Castilla y León) but also in several of Spain’s distinct regions when students travel on excursions.
Since 1848, Proctor has transformed the lives of generations of young people. Whether it was through an off-campus program like Mountain Classroom, on a playing field, or a casual conversation with a trusted advisor on the way to a meal, the educational experience Proctor offers lasts a lifetime. Today, we embark on the 1848 Giving Challenge: 18 hours and 48 minutes dedicated to supporting a school that has and will continue to transform lives.
Under the direction of Jen Summers, with production support from costume design leader Joan Saunders and tech crew leader Starr Fair, this winter’s performance of She Kills Monsters is set to hit the stage with an open dress rehearsal Thursday evening before opening to the public on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 PM in the Wilkins Meeting House.
As the temperatures start to moderate and we see glimpses of snow banks melting around campus, it can mean only one thing: NEPSAC playoffs are just around the corner! For Proctor’s girls varsity basketball team, an injection of young talent and veteran leadership has the group poised to make a playoff run under the guidance of Head Coach Gregor Makechnie ‘90 and Assistant Coach Lindsay Brown ‘01. Read more about the team in this week’s Team Spotlight.
When you choose to live in northern New England, you can either complain about the winter weather, or embrace. At Proctor, we choose to embrace it. With over half of our school (more than 190 students) on snow each winter, Proctor’s love for snow sports remains as deep as it has for almost a century.
Each of Proctor's five term-long off-campus provides a unique experience to students. For the six sophomores studying abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica, living and learning in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world provides a hands-on learning laboratory unlike any other. Read reflections from the group's recent hike into the Children's Eternal Rainforest by Presley '24, Willem '24, and Hayden '24 in this blog post!
Sundays in Spain have a particular rhythm. They are largely an opportunity to find the time and space to slow down, spend time in community, and reflect on what is truly important. Eliza ’23 and Katharine ’22 write about their recent Sundays in a small town outside of Segovia and the capital city Madrid, respectively.
In my college essay, I wrote about how my family was like a rock band and that every member has their niche. For the past month living with this group of lively teenagers and our two beloved teachers, I found the same inspiration that has driven me to finish one of the most important essays of my life.
When I first moved to Proctor and to Andover, the question I most often received from folks was, “Are you excited?” Pausing, I would drink the question in for a while, just to get my bearings each time and to see if anything had changed for me. Each time, after carefully thinking it through, I would say, “Not really.” Or, I’d say, “Excitement is not really the word.” Or, finally, “It just feels ‘right.’” I was not trying to be cagey or obtuse, but I was simply trying to honor the question and the questioner. I am also a stickler for precision. To be more precise takes careful and nuanced answers.
Proctor's Academic Concentrations lie at the intersection of intellectual curiosity and academic rigor. By empowering self-directed students to design an individualized program of coursework, experiential learning beyond campus, and a culminating capstone, Concentrations assist intellectual development on a sophisticated level. Each of the five Concentrations aligns with intentional interdisciplinary guidelines that students tailor to create individualized academic and experiential plans.
Playing in the highly competitive NEPSAC AA league, Proctor’s boys varsity basketball team under the guidance of second-year head coach Ben Bartoldus ‘10 continues to learn about themselves and develop their identity as a team. It is in this constant state of being challenged by the best teams in the country that Bartoldus’ squad has grown by leaps and bounds over the past season. Read insights into the past year from senior captain Tate Matte ‘22 and Bartoldus.
Living in New Hampshire for my entire life I have become quite accustomed to the wretched glory of freezing cold winters. Part of me, somehow, misses it. In light of missing the cold, I, along with Sasha and Cam, have embarked on a harrowing journey that consists of jumping into the freezing cold pool every day.
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”, both as individual educators and as a community.
As an Administrative Team, we are reading the book The Social Profit Handbook by David Grant. Core to Grant’s writing is a commitment by organizations to designing rubrics to assess our individual and collective progress toward our mission. Grant notes, “Used wisely, a rubric not only measures success, but also defines it and helps its users maintain momentum toward future plans and goals.” As we surpass the midpoint of the year and students receive feedback through winter midterm grades, we reflect on what it means to understand our individual and collective growth.
I have always been a believer in what our school does. Ever since I first heard the name and jumped onto Proctor’s website, I found myself in love with Proctor’s version of experiential learning -- living with host families in Spain or Costa Rica, speaking Spanish, exploring deep cultural history and literature, living in an artist-colony in France and learning and exploring alongside Proctor legends Jen and Dave Fleming. Or maybe the open sea is more your speed and you can work on a tall ship sailing down the eastern seaboard all the while studying literature, the ocean that you call home, and keeping watch while you navigate the high seas. But for those of you who prefer to stay on land, you can hop in a minibus with ten of your peers and a couple instructors just crazy enough to help you navigate the American southwest, learning about indigenous cultures or geology while you hike the lands you discuss and climb the rock formations you’ve studied. These programs are proximate learning at its finest, and the only thing wrong with them is that you have to be a student to quench this wanderlust!
Our first few hours in Costa Rica were a bonding experience to say the least. After landing in San Jose, we met Kathia and drove up the mountain to our new homes and lives. The views from the van window were unforgettable. Greenness abounds everywhere around us and there’s often a light wind fluttering around, or soft mist falling for short periods of time. We landed in paradise and have loved our experiences so far.