Nine weeks ago, twenty-two students packed their bags and arrived at the Sea Education Association (SEA) campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts to start their Ocean Classroom experience. For the 30th consecutive year at Proctor and the 50th year of at sea education for SEA, Proctor’s Ocean Classroom program took its charge to use the power of life at sea to teach lessons, afford students proximate learning opportunities, and create a life-changing adventure.
Each trimester, roughly 40 Proctor students spend the term off-campus, studying one of Proctor’s five off-campus programs: Ocean Classroom, European Art Classroom, Proctor en Segovia, Proctor en Monteverde, and Mountain Classroom. The experiences students have on these programs fundamentally change their worldview, but often students return from off-campus programs and head straight home for a break, thus creating distance between their experience and their arrival on campus. For the first time, Ocean Classroom students had the opportunity to share their learning with the community immediately upon conclusion of the program with a culminating symposium in the Stone Chapel. Families, faculty, staff, and students joined together to see Ocean Classroom’s individual research projects conducted over the last eight weeks.
Seeing the excitement that comes from persevering through a challenging experience like Ocean Classroom is contagious. Each of these students has navigated their own learning journey in life; a journey that led them to Proctor and the unique combination of support and rigor that exists in our classrooms and on our off-campus programs. Within every off-campus program roster, there is a complex mix of neuroprofiles, and yet because Proctor’s culture thrives on integrated support, self-advocacy, and self-awareness, students thrive in an academic environment as diverse as their learning profiles. For SEA educators, they saw a competent, curious group of young people who successfully navigate the academic rigors of the college level semester-at-sea courses and research.
Witnessing students present their research this evening served as a powerful reminder of what is possible when young people are immersed in an environment that has high expectations, understands they learn differently, and believes in them. As students presented their research projects, shared about their voyage, and beamed with pride to their families, we sat in awe of what they were able to accomplish. Teenagers are capable of so much more than we think; we/schools just need to give them a chance to show us.
Ocean Classroom 2023, we are so incredibly proud of you, and we hope you are proud of yourselves. Thank you, students, for being such powerful ambassadors of Proctor in the maritime industry and for continuing on a 30 year tradition of Ocean Classroom!
Thank you also to retiring Ocean Classroom Program Director Brooks Bicknell '77 for being the true navigator of the program and for ensuring the Ocean Classroom tradition continued when we hit especially rough seas in 2018.
- Academic Support
- Ocean Classroom
- Off-Campus Program