We enter a new year (and decade) with resolutions to be better. More exercise, less sugar. More time with family, less on technology. I have mixed feelings about the concept of New Year’s resolutions. While I appreciate the opportunity for reflection and the notion of self-improvement, I also recognize real self-improvement happens incrementally and is a far more complex process than a simple declaration as the calendar flips to a new year.
The nature of the academic year sometimes causes us to forget all that has happened in the last calendar year. A look back chronologically at the past calendar year through highlighted blog posts from each month allows us to relive some of the best moments from the second half of the 2018-2019 school year and the most memorable events of the 2019-2020 academic year to date. Sit down and scroll through the images, click on the links, and read the stories below to remind yourself of all the good you have been part of as a member of the Proctor family during 2019. Here's to an equally powerful 2020!
Three years ago, Proctor art curator Molly Leith connected with renowned sound artist, Spencer Topel, about designing an installation for the atrium of the Fowler Learning Center. Originally planned as a student collaboration during Project Period 2019 last March, the complexity of the project postponed the installation until the first week of December. After a week of ropes, rigging, and detailed construction alongside Brad Hardie of Fireside Design Works, Time Lines now graces the Fowler Learning Center.
Usually the assembly before Holderness Day serves as a pep rally. Loud cheering and chanting, building school spirit as we prepare to make the drive north and conquer our foes. But Friday’s assembly was not that. It was far more powerful, far better preparation for what Holderness Day is really about: being vulnerable, supporting each other regardless of outcome, and daring greatly.
Each season we split into our teams and afternoon activities. We work hard to cultivate a culture within that group. We often sit with our teams in the dining hall for meals, share laughs through our group chats, and spend more hours with this group of individuals than any other. For the past eleven weeks, we have operated in our own sphere, cognizant of that which orbits around us, but largely focused on our team.
Sharing a meal with people you care about is an event as ancient as you can get. Breaking bread together is a symbol of forgiveness, togetherness, and a shared understanding of our humanity. It is a signal of coming together, sharing resources, and forging friendships. It is especially important in our fast paced world, where a sit down dinner can be elusive at a school like Proctor where we are all going in a hundred different directions, all good directions, but different. This past weekend we carved out time for Advisory dinners. Some had to play field hockey at New Hampton, or soccer against Bridgton, but we did our best to share a meal together, and it was a powerful experience.
I am not a social media user, but I like to stay somewhat connected to that nether world, and this week I have become more aware of a phenomena that I had only been vaguely aware of: the cancel culture. A couple of articles in the New York Times sharpened awareness of a trend that plays out from middle school to college and beyond, the act of severing ties to an individual as a result of what are perceived to be irreconcilable differences or offenses. In an age of hypersensitivity, the cancel culture has taken off. In an age of fractured communities, I find it worrisome.