Why We Assemble

Posted by Scott Allenby


Three times a week we gather in the Wilkins Meeting House for an all-school assembly. The agenda for assembly varies each day, however, the purpose remains clear: come together as an entire community to hear announcements, spend intentional face-to-face time together, connect with advisories, and remind ourselves that we are in this journey of learning together, as an entire community, even though we are often going a million directions on our own. 

Proctor Academy Assembly

Daily assemblies were introduced to the Proctor community in the early 1970s after David Fowler assumed his role as Head of School. Based on the Outward Bound model of daily community meetings, Proctor’s faculty and leadership believed, and still believe, this regular gathering of the entire community in one space plays an integral role in building community. While the physical space in which we meet (note the old Holland Auditorium in the photo below from assembly in the mid-1980s) has evolved, the intentionality of holding assembly three times a week remains core to Proctor's academic schedule. 

Proctor Academy Assembly

During COVID-19 we went to incredible lengths to retain the essence of assembly by holding it outdoors during the fall and spring, and virtually during the winter months. We decided to forego one assembly each week for student clubs to meet, but overtime found a diluted community experience, reinforcing the need to preserve the in-person, all-community gathering time where our personalities can shine, confidence can emerge in students through making announcements, and our vulnerability can empower others to find themselves. 

Proctor Academy Assembly

Each assembly has traditionally been organized and run by the advisor assigned dish duty for the day. This variance in leadership provides a range of experiences during assembly. Sometimes we engage in fun games on stage, other times we have serious speeches shared by students, and occasionally faculty share personal reflections. The best assembly moments are often the unplanned, when individuals in the community step forward and share a piece of themselves with the rest of us. Not every assembly is memorable, but the habit of gathering together is critical to our connectedness and sense of belonging as a community. 

Proctor Academy Assembly

In our Faculty Meeting this morning, School Leaders Grace Bean ‘23 and Maks Watton ‘23 proposed that students take ownership of one assembly a week in an effort to increase engagement of the student body in this community time. When students take ownership of the Proctor community, we all benefit, and we cannot wait to see how assembly evolves this year under Grace and Maks’ leadership. Our collective stewardship of this time together is more important than we may think. 

Listen to Assembly podcasts here!


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