When our time on this earth ends, we can only hope that we did our best to positively impact the lives of others. Our hope is that as former Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees Bill Peabody P’82, ‘86 understood the scope and depth of impact he had on those within the Proctor community. His ability to inspire, to spread kindness, to encourage, to hug, to love without condition, to create, to believe in the inherent goodness of others not only shaped Proctor, but will sit at our very core for generations to come.
Most educators enter the field soon after college or graduate school. They cut their teeth as young teachers, learning to manage classrooms, teams, and dorms, to gain expertise through experience as only teaching can provide. Rarely does a teacher decide to enter the profession at the age of 62. Even less often (perhaps never?), does the former Chair of the Board of Trustees decide he wants to start a new career teaching and coaching at the age of 62, but such was John Pendleton’s approach to life: always learning, always growing, always seeking to make an impact.
With a heavy heart, I share the sad news of the passing of Walter Wright '49. Throughout his lifetime, he remained committed to the growth and sustainability of Proctor. As a Proctor student, Walter was a school leader his senior year, played football, was on the student council and the improvement squad. He was also the recipient of the Shop Award and the Savage Leadership Award. Through my few conversations with Walter since I was appointed Head of School, he expressed a deep commitment to a culture of environmental sustainability that is now woven into the fabric of our community and perpetuated through the naming of the Walter Wright '49 Biomass Plant dedicated in his honor in 2009.
Late Friday afternoon, we posted the image below on our social media channels with a caption that read, “These posts never get the most likes or shares, but this group (and a few more that didn't fit on the Webex screen) of Board Members and Members of the Corporation is so critical to our school and its future that they deserve a little air time.”
For the past three years, Proctor's winter Board of Trustee meetings has coincided with the ribbon cutting of a major facility upgrade (2018 - Farrell Field House Phases 1-2, 2019 - Farrell Field House Phase 3, 2020 - Proctor Outdoor Center) and the Proctor Ski Area Celebration. On these weekends, the theme of stewardship resonates throughout each conversation, each event, each celebration of who Proctor is and who it could become.
This week I’ve been thinking about classrooms, both intentional and unintentional, and about how the process plays out. Yes the Congressional impeachment process, but more about how it contrasts to the way we come to consensus and decisions at Proctor, the way we wrestle with changes and our differences. And I have to admit, I like the local model where we work with smaller groups, work towards consensus even when the work is messy, sometimes heated, and sometimes divisive. We disagree with each other, sometimes fiercely, but we try to do so with respect. We collaborate. We remind ourselves that we are colleagues, partners in this school endeavor, knowing that sometimes our differences create the friction necessary for the community to evolve into a better school.