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.
As I write this blog entry, our students and faculty are entering their final days before school begins, thinking about the year to come and the possibilities of our future together at Proctor. Many of us, including myself, are preparing to head back to school by going on Wilderness Orientation with those brand new to the school.
Each of our lives are shaped by individuals who take the time to appreciate our individuality, to ask questions, to challenge us to dream, and, in turn, push us to become better versions of ourselves. Institutions are no different. It is with great sadness that we share the passing of former Head of School David Fowler, a leader who transformed Proctor during his 25 years as Head of School and inspired generations of educators and students with his vision for what high school could be.
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.
The water churned along the walkway of the GulfQuest/National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico next to the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama. Pockets along the river were filled with branches, leaves, and brackish detritus that pooled next to sea vessels that had been docked for what looked like more than a year.
In the last two years, our country and our culture has been put to the test. Pushed to our limits, at least for some of us, it sometimes feels like “the center cannot hold.” Working with and holding hope for adults and teenagers through one of the rockiest periods in recent memory definitely has had its challenges. Even the most stalwart of folks strain to stay healthy while empathy, patience, and the ability to self-regulate too often feel in short supply.