When I think of the work that we adults do every day, I see the hidden genius parts of it. If you look closely, you will come to understand as I have that other people notice as well, AND we all have different ways of seeing. Seeing, when it is expressed, is called valuing.
For instance, watch closely the keen and focused work of the Health Center as they ramp up for another testing cycle in our COVID-mitigation narrative. COVID-19, at least the Pandemic part, will end someday to be sure. But in watching the work of the Health Center, there is the collegiality that you will find with any healthcare workers when they are being challenged to their max. Proctor’s Health Center, or HC for short, keeps the community safe. PERIOD. But within that safety, I see and find something else. There is an unmitigated mix of professional demeanor with a jumbo-size portion of joy.
It’s not just grilled cheese and cinnamon toast that they cook up for kids who may be, or are most likely sick, but it is also knowing kids by name and being comfortable with calling them (the students) out when they may be unnecessarily teenage-y, and not doing what they need to be doing to get better. The Health Center keeps it real with folks: students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrators. What they are able to do is nothing short of miraculous.
For instance, outside of global pandemics, the Health Center does what just about every HC does: they dispense meds, they care for kids who have the flu, or those who need to be seen and triaged by other healthcare professionals like nurse practitioners, doctors, or other health specialists. They make sure that we are in compliance. They schedule lab pick-ups and drop-offs for the good of the cause. It’s all good stuff to keep a community safe in normal times.
However, these last almost two years have stretched the best and most optimistic of health professionals to their limits. Nurses and other healthcare folks are quitting their jobs in droves because they don’t seem to be making a dent into the never ending chasm of need–for whatever reason. That’s a shame because we need good people who believe in the absolute goodness and health of people, especially in the darkest of times.
That is where our intrepid group in the Health Center gets things done. Sue Norris, Dawn Allaire, Katrina Allison, Mindy Bicknell, Katelyn Churchill, Michele Stetson, and Abbey Theroux work together around the clock, ensuring that we are safe, compliant, and healthy. This past summer when the Administrative Team came up with this year’s theme “to become the healthiest school possible, understanding, valuing, and connecting individuals to community with compassion, integrity, and growth,” they surely were imagining the good work of these women. Couple the team’s work with the ongoing advice throughout the years with our Medical Director Dr. Sarah Lester’s good counsel, and you get a group of humans all punching well above their weight.
If you haven’t already, my recommendation is to drop them a line (a note in a card is better than phone calls, emails, or texts) telling them how much they are appreciated. We won’t get through this phase in our journey by howling our support, as was the case in many cities across the globe. But we might get there by showing our continued admiration for what they do, often unobserved and deeply in private–for all of us and our most precious gifts.
Brian W. Thomas, Proctor Academy Head of School
In this New Year, let’s take it up a notch with some positivity and plaintiff pleading with Bonnie Raitt’s blues and reggae inflected “Have a A Heart.” Enjoy: HERE.