Pulling into Raymond, Maine, I passed by the Murch Cemetery. I filed the name in the back of my mind because of its homonym, thinking to myself, “I wonder what the Merch - hats and t-shirts - from Murch looks like?”
Over the last two weeks, Proctor student leaders Grace ‘23 and Maks ‘23 sat down with Karin Clough, Megan Hardie, and me to chart a road map for their tenure as School Leaders. From the get go, both students brought the most important aspect of their personalities to our meeting and to the Proctor mindset.
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.
The signs of the end of school are everywhere. As I write this, I can hear the concluding strains of Act I of the spring musical wafting down the halls in the basement of the Wilkins Meeting House and Norris Family Theater. We have great representation of students and faculty from Proctor, as well as faculty children from Andover Elementary and Middle School; I, too, am in the play. “Shrek!” is Proctor’s spring musical, which opened last evening.
This past weekend, members of Proctor’s Administrative Team spoke in front of the Board of Trustees at the regularly scheduled meeting in May. Led by Academic Dean Derek Nussbaum Wagler, with a major assist from the Teaching and Learning Team, along with Learning Specialist Lori Patriacca, Head Librarian Heidi Thoma, Mathematics Department Chair Bill O'Brien, and chemistry teacher Sue Houston, we heard how Proctor’s experiential approach to learning transcends off-campus programs to our on-campus classes and programs.
As we prepare to close out on the 2021-2022 school year, one thing stands out to me as I think about what makes Proctor uniquely Proctor. Of course, as mentioned in other pieces written across the Proctor Universe, the magic of connection and relationships drive everything that we do. Certainly, more so than any school where I have been or even schools that I have known from a distance. Affective connections and compassion matter.