Early each August, we feel a wave of anticipation growing, cresting throughout Wilderness Orientation and Sports Camp, before breaking through the doors of the Wilkins Meeting House as we step inside for our first assembly of the year. A whole community, together, for the first time. Advisors connecting with advisees. New faces finding their place among those who have served the school for decades, each ready to step into all that lies ahead.
As we pass the midpoint of the week, we begin to see the sprouts of rhythm and routine that will sustain us through the Fall Term. We find our friends, our paths from class to class, meeting to meeting, and begin to recognize the opportunity a new year provides to define ourselves both as individuals and as a community.
We are forced to make thousands of decisions daily. Some small (Ranch or Italian dressing?), some far more significant. As we launch our students into a life of relative independence at boarding school, the number of decisions they make for themselves grows exponentially. When to go to sleep? What to eat for breakfast? When to start homework? What to wear?
Growing into independence requires a strong sense of self, and while it is irrational to expect a school of adolescents to have this sense of self fully developed, as the year progresses, we watch each of our Proctor students develop remarkable agency. We guide them toward routines, relationships, opportunities, and support systems that will allow them to discover not only who they are, but who they could become at Proctor. This is the magic of Proctor that we talk about during the admissions process, and that families will soon see come to life.
The culture of a school resides at a far deeper level than stated core values. Culture exists at the very place where our beliefs intersect our actions. Unless our actions are aligned with our beliefs, our beliefs sit as untapped potential on the dusty shelves of our lives. We know, in theory, why we do what we do, but it is in those moments of stepping into that first assembly, feeling the energy in the dining hall during meals, seeing a personality of a classroom evolve, watching teammates begin to trust each other, forming new friendships and cultivating old ones, that we see our purpose in action.
As that wave of anticipation meets the reality of our daily rhythms and routines at Proctor, filled with all of the challenges that accompany shepherding adolescents through their high school years, we embrace the work that lies ahead. We remind ourselves that our work is not rooted in the pursuit of some grandiose, lofty mission, but in the small, daily actions that challenge and empower adolescents to show up in our community with their whole selves.
- Community and Relationships