School traditions that are hotly anticipated by the entire school community and that help to expand and amplify the thinking of all who participate are rare. The Hays Speaking Contest does both. The finalists of the event, selected by the participants themselves, serve as a state of the union of Proctor’s current sophomore class. As the event’s host, English teacher Tom Morgan, gives the audience members a glimpse inside of the window of the lives of our students who stand and deliver their speeches.
Last Friday, we hosted the first of our three Accepted Student Days. Throughout the day, we offered a window into the Proctor community, answering questions, listening, engaging, and connecting with families who listed Proctor as one of their top school choices in the late stages of looking at high schools. Our efforts to share the best of Proctor makes me reflect on a host of important factors in choosing a school, particularly why it is important to remind our accepted students and their families of why they were initially enthralled by Proctor in the first place.
For Proctor folks, coming out of the winter months and into spring can be the toughest time of the year. The months of January and February tend to be some of the darkest around because of the way the light recedes from dorm rooms and classrooms, making the nights seem excruciatingly longer. Mercifully, with half of the school on snow, getting out into the natural world gives everyone the shot of energy they need to thrive in a climate that seems to be getting more and more mercurial with every passing year.
“Tank. Tank. Tank." The loud sounds of “tanking, clanking and rattling” of the old steam pipes hissing down in the basement of Maxwell Savage punctures the serenity between the “tick, tap, ticking” of our collective keyboards. Four boys and I are serving early morning mandatory Sunday study hall on a blustery mid-February day.
Yesterday was the second Head’s Day that I have been a part of at Proctor. Our students were informed the night before by an email and video that told them that they would be getting a much needed day to rest and kick back a little. At Proctor, and other schools like ours, we do get to breathe every now and then to unwind a little bit from the rigors of school.
This past week in Charleston Harbor, a group of Proctor folk gathered for the send off of the Harvey Gamage and Proctor’s Ocean Classroom program. Students from Proctor and the MET Schools in Providence, RI prepared over the course of the last two weeks to learn to be mariners and how to collaborate with each other while helping to run a tall ship for the next 65 days. Led by Brooks Bicknell ‘77 in his final stint as Ocean Classroom director, the fall and winter versions of Ocean Classroom culminate with one of a kind lessons that students carry with them for the rest of their lives.