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The Journey: At the End of the Rainbow

Brian Thomas

Think of or fill in the blanks with all the pot of gold jokes and memes that you can, but our seniors are at the very end of their time of their Proctor Rainbow. Like any time that goes too quickly, the moments that they have had in our midst have felt all too fleeting. 

Proctor Academy Campus

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They provided us with ample opportunities of their brilliance as well as the various and innumerable ways they expressed love and affection for Proctor. They have also stretched the adults and their fellow students on campus in ways that have allowed us to admire them and challenged us at the same time. Our seniors have made us think, made us grow, made us more human in our work as educators and fellow students, supporting their development along the way. We are all the better for them being at Proctor.

Proctor Academy Senior Class

What we wrote about and explored at the very beginning of our time this year is how we revel in doing hard things at Proctor. We climb mountains while some of us later race down them as fast as we humanly can. In the classroom and the mindscape, we hop from the concrete to the abstract with the greatest of ease, understanding more about ourselves and how incarceration works in America (in Culture & Conflict) or how elegant a certain equation can be if explored from different brains and points of view (Math I & II). Our students also made robots go, plotted the Proctor Woodlands, hung out in the upper reaches of Farrell Field House to get a veteran teacher’s wisdom on journalism, and made Learning Skills guides and mentors seem like the wizards and savants that they are. We did hard things with (seemingly) the greatest of ease.

Proctor Academy Senior Class

In the end, we discovered something worth more than gold on a sunny/rainy day. We made friends for life. As the song says:

Make new friends and keep the old.
One is silver while the other’s gold.

We made the best of friends. Enduring bonds that only songs and life partners and future children come even close to making us feel as we grow older and deepen our understanding of human connection and relationship. How might we hold onto these fleeting moments as we wind down before the end of the school year? How might we make “everything” beautiful by the memories made while kibitzing in the Brown Dining Commons over Frosted Flakes? Or, what about the laughs shared across the seats in a Proctor bus heading back from some contest in another New England village far, far away?

Proctor Academy Senior Class

Every moment that happens at Proctor between friends and every moment that goes by is cherished. The coin of the realm here is not just admittance to the next level of school and schooling. That’s important, but not the only thing. The thing we cherish and the thing we hold dear are those moments when we understand for sure that friends have been made for life. We all sense the importance of these final days because we realize their “fierceness” and their “urgency.” We get the fact that our lives have meaning because we see friendships being formed in dorms, in the Fowler Learning Center, on the way to practice, and even in the mid-morning breakfast sandwich runs to JJ’s. It all matters and makes sense in the end because we realize how much these people and this place has meant during the briefest of time we have been together. It’s what the Buddhist call “impermanence.” Indeed, it’s what life at this northern New England boarding school is all about. 

Our rainbow’s end always makes us smile, not because it’s over, but simply because it happened.

May it always be so.


Brian W. Thomas, Proctor Academy Head of School 

Curated Listening and Viewing

For those who think about rainbows and what’s at the end of them, I offer you the incomparable Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Enjoy it: HERE.

  • Head of School