The signs of the end of school are everywhere. As I write this, I can hear the concluding strains of Act I of the spring musical wafting down the halls in the basement of the Wilkins Meeting House and Norris Family Theater. We have great representation of students and faculty from Proctor, as well as faculty children from Andover Elementary and Middle School; I, too, am in the play. “Shrek!” is Proctor’s spring musical, which opened last evening.
From faculty and staff (and their children) playing key roles in the show to our Head of School Brian Thomas making a cameo as Shrek's father in the opening scene to a talented cast of students from all corners of campus, Proctor Drama's production of Shrek! The Musical is truly a community-wide show. After two months of rehearsals, the cast and crew take the stage for opening night on Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 PM in the Wilkins Meeting House.
As we prepare to close out on the 2021-2022 school year, one thing stands out to me as I think about what makes Proctor uniquely Proctor. Of course, as mentioned in other pieces written across the Proctor Universe, the magic of connection and relationships drive everything that we do. Certainly, more so than any school where I have been or even schools that I have known from a distance. Affective connections and compassion matter.
The intersection of big, tough issues facing society, perfectionism projected into the lives of adolescents through social media and parental expectations, and a desire to support students through the COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment in our schools where we must delicately balance student well-being and expectations. How do we authentically manufacture adversity for young people who live in a world that seeks to shelter them from it?
Human connection requires two parties to willingly step into relationship with one another. Nature, however, is always waiting with open arms. As we consider how we might better walk alongside each other as humans, we must spend time in nature to refocus and reframe how we live. Today, as a community, we stepped into nature’s embrace by celebrating Earth Day 2022.
On my way to the library in the twilight hour earlier this week, I passed a group of students outside the back of Rulon-Miller Dorm in the dark sitting in Adirondack chairs just chilling and chatting. They were senior boys getting their wings, deciding what evening study hall will now look like for them as they transition to Senior Projects, last rites of the school year, and what post-graduation might hold as they begin to chart their own courses.