Each fall, the trails throughout the Proctor Woodlands are littered with acorns that threaten a rolled ankle even among the most nimble of hikers. As winter snows recede and spring temperatures catalyze the annual rebirth within the 2,500 acres of land Proctor calls home, some of these acorns will sprout and grow into saplings.
As parents of young children, we were often reminded not to blink, reassured that while the days were long, the years were short. In the midst of sleepless nights, incessant changing of diapers, and tantruming toddlers, this advice fell on largely deaf ears. But now that our kids are older, well, we blinked.
As educators, we engage daily in the unending balancing act of providing our students a sense of freedom and a sense of connection. While the pendulum of independence swings back and forth within a culture depending on the prevailing norms of the time, what we know at Proctor is that the adolescent brain biologically craves independence, and yet is only able to pursue that independence when surrounded by a nurturing community.
After a year of hybrid classes, quarantines, mask etiquette, and fear of the novel situation of a global pandemic, we feel a little more settled entering this school year because our community has embraced the individual responsibilities required of addressing a global challenge. We have the same opportunity to teach individual responsibility as it relates to the pandemic of climate change and climate justice.
Each Registration Day, you can feel the rollercoaster of emotion as families arrive on campus and their Proctor experience begins in earnest. The theoretical idea of having a child attend boarding school becomes reality, and while much of everyone’s energy centers around excitement for what lies ahead, we acknowledge there is just enough anxiety and sense of loss to make the emotions of the day challenging.
The Proctor community (all faculty, staff, students, and parents) embraces the shared responsibility necessary to keep our school and local community healthy. Proctor’s goal for the 2021-2022 school year is to create the healthiest school possible by doing our best to create an environment that allows our students and employees (and their families) to thrive.