Mike's Notes: The Upside of the Necessary Next

Posted by Mike Henriques


It feels like we have been opening school in gradual, gentle stages. There’s a methodology behind the soft start, but sometimes it feels a little like walking into a supermarket with only the dairy section open. Or the snacks aisle. Or maybe fruits and vegetables, but not the canned goods. Definitely not the ice cream, and definitely not the entire store. We gather and begin in fits and starts: Early Orientation, Regular Orientation, Sports Camp, Campus transition day...it feels like the school lights blink on over weeks!


But then, finally, the first days of classes arrives. The doorway to Maxwell thumps open and shut, footsteps rumble up the stairs to World Languages. Department offices are full, and students traverse hallways on their way to chemistry classes, the metal shop, assembly. Once again paint brushes whisper in Slocumb, guitar strings pulse in the music studio, and the 3-D printers snap to attention in the Klaus Technology Lab. The familiar lunchtime crush forms in the dining commons and the JJ’s regulars amble across Route 11 for snacks. The playing fields - Farrell and Carr - quiet for so long, are filled with the sounds of juggling soccer balls, the clatter of field hockey sticks, and whumping of football pads. We drop into the rhythm and routine of the year.


It is this routine that we fall into together, and it is this routine that pulls us forward. We like it, and it helps smooth out some of the challenges that we inevitably face both as individuals and community. It is the routine that pulls one away from disappointment, the necessary next creating restorative distance and steadying force, just as the necessary next can also save us from hubris and the flush of self importance when those threaten. Both optimism and humility find their roots in the Proctor routine.


Dropping into the rhythm of the Proctor calendar and community is to experience this particular version of what community can be with all of its complexities and competing currents. It’s a routine created by and sustained by people, Proctor people. It’s a routine of caring and compassion, a routine that we will inevitably tinker with and try to improve, but as we complete this first week it feels good. It feels good to be back in it together. So good.


Mike Henriques P'11, P'15

Proctor Academy Head of School

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