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An Interwoven Community and Individual Responsibility

Scott Allenby

Each time campus empties, even if just for a long weekend, we are reminded that our students’ presence in our lives fuels our work as educators. This place is just not the same without their energy and enthusiasm pulsing through the community. We are teachers and coaches and advisors and dorm parents only because they are our students, players, advisees, and dorm residents. We are because they are. 

Proctor Academy Community

So much of the Proctor experience focuses on the individual student and their path through Proctor. We build individual four-year plans with our advisees, mapping a journey that will provide a wholly unique constellation of classes, off-campus programs, afternoon programs, and individualized attention provided. And yet, these individual journeys take place within the context of the Proctor community. Our individual actions never exist in a vacuum. As individuals and as a community, we are codependent on each other. The individual experience is only possible because of the community experience, and the community we love is only possible because of the individuals who belong to it. 

Proctor Academy Community

In THIS article, author Mercedes Valmisa shares powerful insights into our interwoven nature as beings. She writes, “We are co-constituted, co-acted and co-dependent on others – from the air we breathe to the ground that affords our walking. If we start seeing the world like this, it has the potential to make things much better for the many life forms that inhabit this planet.” Valmisa continues, “If we acknowledge the extent to which human agency is distributed across a diverse field of actors, then we can’t keep acting as if we’re fully autonomous and independent individuals. We are radically not self-reliant; we must rely on the agency of things, their behavior and affordances, their efficacy and propensity.”

Proctor Academy Community

This philosophy aligns with wisdom offered by JR White Hat ‘00, P'22, '24 during our 2022 Earth Day celebrations. JR implored our students to use their voice for good and to seek and appreciate the interrelatedness of all species on Earth. Mitakuye Oyasin in Lakota translates to “we are all related”, and it is through this lens of interconnectedness that we must make decisions in our own lives. 

Proctor Academy Community

In moments of tragedy, like that happening right now in our neighboring state of Maine and in the lives of some members of our community as they grieve the loss of loved ones, we become acutely aware of the impact of an individual’s actions on others. In the midst of pain and suffering and loss, we see the positive impact our individual choices can have on those around us. The helpers. The first responders. The caregivers. Those willing to sit and hold a hand as life slips away. 

We are the sum of these individual actions - here at Proctor, in our local community, and as a larger society - and when we take ownership of that responsibility, we begin to recognize that we are not individuals who are part of a community, we are the community. Our job as adults is to simply model that behavior to our students and children during the hardest of times, so that they will understand the responsibility and privilege they have to serve others through their actions when they have the opportunity to do so. 

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