If we are honest with ourselves, teenagers are equal parts frustrating and equal parts energizing. We have moments in our classes, with our teams, or in our advisories where our students make us laugh, inspire us to dig deeper, think more critically, and do our best work. And then we have moments where we want to pull our hair out and question our career choice.
The start of each school year rapidly shifts from a universal experience (Wilderness Orientation) to a highly individualized one (classes, afternoon activities, advisories, dorms) for students. We are three days into the academic schedule, and within each area of life, students are starting to figure out a rhythm to the school year.
Proctor’s Day Student Picnic held Wednesday evening marks the “official” start of the school year as it is the first time students are on campus. Seeing smiling faces and the contagious energy of adolescents back on campus reminded us that they are the final piece of the puzzle that enables the Proctor magic to flow.
When we peel back the layers of Proctor’s educational model - the programs, buildings, and people who make up our community - we find a shared understanding that, at its core, our work is to create, sustain, and teach young people how to live in meaningful relationship with others. The past two days of faculty professional development covered a wide range of issues, all centered on creating and sustaining an inclusive community that celebrates the remarkable diversity of learning styles, family histories, cultures, and backgrounds that exists within Proctor.
Despite volatile fuel prices, varied access to clean water, fresh fruits, vegetables, and grain, for most of us, our most scarce commodity is time. Competing responsibilities constantly claw away at it until we are left with precious few minutes of time for intentional allocation. With mid-August’s arrival, educators and students around the country experience an amplified sense of time scarcity as summer bucket lists feel just a bit more urgent.
This week, we are in the midst of conversations with a group of young alumni for our upcoming edition of the Proctor Magazine. Each of these alumni are entering the heart of their career. Some are in health care, others working for nonprofits, others teaching, and yet others running startups. While their experiences and career paths vary, they uniformly assert that Proctor served a powerful role in shaping who they are as adults.
Boarding school communities are made whole by the adults who commit their lives and careers to sustaining and building the cultures of our school. Like all healthy organizations, annual shifts in roles and responsibilities bring renewed energy to the school. At our end of year gatherings, we bid farewell to departing employees, some who have spent their whole careers at Proctor, others just a short season of their lives. Regardless of their time spent as a Proctor employee, each has left an impact and a legacy that has made Proctor a better place. We share a thank you and best wishes to this talented group of educators and committed employees.
As families filtered from dinner in the Brown Dining Commons to the large tent on Farrell Field for Senior Awards Night, a slideshow played on the big screen contrasting images from each student’s first weeks on campus and their last. The physical changes that take place during high school are remarkable, but they pale in comparison to the social and emotional growth that transpires. As the Class of 2022 walked across the stage this morning, we watched with pride at the humans they had become.