It’s a rainy early start of my journey to Europe, landing lightly at the house where the Proctor students, as well as where European Art Classroom co-directors Dave and Jen Fleming, live in Aix-en-Provence, France.
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.
This past few months has had me reflecting on the past six months, particularly our good news and successes. That is what you might expect when you are at Proctor Academy where our hard work and effort does come with positive outcomes. Of course, we are not about just curating Instagram highlights. To be sure, our work comes with challenges, pitfalls, and even a few pratfalls. But in the main, we are a school that goes from strength to strength, incorporating feedback when we don’t succeed, so that we can get better at what we do, which fits our mission and our motto, “living to learn, learning to live”.
Pictures tell you things that written history never will or perhaps can. On my wall in my office just behind my left shoulder is a photograph taken in 1895. It is of the Proctor and Carr families of Andover, NH. During the opening weeks of school, I spoke at great length to our community about members of this family, but John Proctor is the person from whom we as a school get our name. When the picture was taken, John Proctor was gone from the scene for 12 years, he died in 1883, but his extended family and relatives were alive and well represented in Andover. What Proctor planted, the regenerated seeds and start of a new school, still stands today. Vibrant and prosperous.
Over the last two weeks, Proctor student leaders Grace ‘23 and Maks ‘23 sat down with Karin Clough, Megan Hardie, and me to chart a road map for their tenure as School Leaders. From the get go, both students brought the most important aspect of their personalities to our meeting and to the Proctor mindset.
On Wilderness Orientation, you never know what you might encounter and what you probably will need to get yourself through. A mountain of sand and gravel awaited our group as we entered the Willey Station Road parking lot off of Route 302, which was under repair. We retrieved all of our gear from the bus that then had to back down the trailhead road. Stuffed to the gills, we put on our heavy packs, adjusting straps and awaiting our turn in line to make the heavy climb up the trail on a very busy Labor Day Weekend.