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.
This past weekend would have been Proctor's Spring Family Weekend. Teachers and advisors would have gathered with parents to discuss student growth. We would have played games Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, seen a sneak peak at the Spring Musical during assembly, and Head of School Mike Henriques would have shared his annual "State of Proctor" conversation with families.
Spending the 4th of July in Andover, New Hampshire should be a prerequisite to understanding the value of small town living. Our little town of 2,000 people bursts at the seams as thousands of visitors flock to the village green in the heart of Proctor’s campus for a flea market and carnival-like atmosphere. At noon, local elementary students who had perfect attendance this year toll the bell in Maxwell Savage Hall to signal the start of the parade. Local fire companies, floats, and bands weave their way through campus along North Street before looping back down Main Street. The day ends as thousands more people gather on Carr Field to watch fireworks over the Proctor Ski Area.
A theme seems to be developing in our blog posts this summer. Two weeks ago we shared thoughts on the balance of disruption and vision at independent schools, and this post from last week discussed our personal investment in student growth. Regularly exploring the bigger, existential “why” of our educational model challenges us to recommit to what we believe and why we believe it.
Tomorrow, 62 accepted students and their parents will attend the first of our two Admissions Revisit Days. It will be an incredibly busy day as families attend assembly, visitors shadow classes, parents attend breakout workshops, and our current students share about their Proctor experience through panel discussions. Our unabashed goal is to present the best of Proctor, and at the same time we have the deepest desire for each visiting family to experience the authentic Proctor. This blog is for those visiting parents. It is a message as their family makes the very, very difficult decision about where they want to spend their high school years.
A week ago, a group of prospective students received notification of their acceptance to Proctor. Dozens of families have already submitted their contracts for next year; Proctor was their #1 choice and the fit between their son or daughter and our school was perfect. For the vast majority of our accepted students, the decision is not that easy. Proctor is one of a number of schools to which they were accepted, each offering amazing programs and filled with talented educators who care deeply about their work and their school. So how does Proctor stand out from the crowd? How do we ensure prospective families fully appreciate and understand the depth of the Proctor experience when weighing their options?
In the midst of the daily grind of teaching adolescents, we risk drifting away from our “why”. Why have we dedicated our life to education? Why have we chosen Proctor as the fertile ground into which we will sow our seeds of hope for the next generation? In order to best serve our students, we must nurture daily habits of centering around our “why” as individual educators and as a community.
As the sun rose over the east side of campus on this final day of 2018, the simple joy of another day on this earth settled upon us. The peacefulness of quiet pathways, empty classrooms, and traces of late November snow storms clinging to shade cast on the north side of buildings is lovely, but leaves campus feeling incomplete. On Wednesday evening students and faculty will return from a two week break, filling the void we feel right now as we all dive into a new year. On this final day of 2018, we offer our New Year’s resolution for 2019: Pursue Happiness.