Traffic continues to flow down Route 11 to local lakes and mountain getaways, and daily admissions tours on campus provide a sense of normalcy. Our intense focus since June has been on developing a return to school plan that will allow us to safely and responsibly repopulate campus in September, a most abnormal way to spend our summer and one that has challenged us to think critically about every aspect of who we are and what we do as a school.
Over the last week we have collectively borne witness to the news of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis while in police custody, have seen the spread of angst and anger in communities, and seen images of protesters across the country. We have seen property damage. We have seen teargas shot into crowds and riot police knocking over protesters. We have seen police kneeling alongside protestors, peacefully. We have seen images of military helicopters intimidating crowds. We have seen journalists attacked and arrested. Amidst all of this (and the pandemic) it is hard for individuals and communities to find a framework for the turmoil that doesn’t make it feel overwhelming. We wonder where and when the healing will begin, when the requisite societal changes will take shape, and who will lead us through this valley.
The role of School Leader at Proctor takes many forms: serving as the voice of the student body, sitting on discipline committees, acting as a voting member during faculty meetings, and so much more. Following campus-wide elections last week, we are thrilled to announce Proctor's 2020-2021 School Leaders Kingsley Palmer '21 and Nate Murawski '21! Read Kingsley's and Nate's thoughts about stepping into their new roles in the fall below.
Our natural world is awakening around us, albeit slowly. Over the weekend, temperatures crept into the 70s for the first time in nearly seven months. Blossoms in the apple orchard have begun to flower, the grass is greening, dandelions abound, and yes the black flies have emerged as spring flood waters slowly recede back into the banks of the Blackwater River. As we watch the seasons change, we are reminded organizations like Proctor are living organisms as well.
Front and center in our conversations with prospective students is our belief in expanding our students’ identities during their Proctor journey. We encourage each prospective student to ask themselves “Who could you become?” They arrive with one perception of self and quickly realize their self-imposed, artificial confines of identity need not apply here. Institutionally, we are facing our own “Who could we become?” moment. What can we learn from this COVID-19 induced remote experience this spring? How can online or a hybrid learning model work at Proctor? What do we miss most about our community being together and how do we ensure that sustains in the future?
In this time of unbelievable uncertainty, the decisions, the big decisions can be hard to make. Do you make the move or not make the move? Education for a child is one of those big ones, particularly if you are considering investing in a new community. The tuition and room and board fees? Those are big numbers. How do you know if the school is going to be right, if it’s all going to click? If the faculty are going to understand your child, if the peer group is going to be right, if the whole thing is going to take? For those of us who may be a little ahead of you on the journey, perhaps there is some wisdom to share.
Walking campus yesterday in the late afternoon, the emptiness was overwhelming. The parking lot by the gym - I have never seen this before - did not have a single car in it. Not one. Entering buildings I could hear the hiss of the HVAC systems, every building breathing and sighing with a different personality.