The Buzz

Enjoy a window into the Proctor community provided through news stories, blog posts, video, assembly podcasts, and images of day-to-day life on and off-campus.

Smiles for free

Students have now been in Segovia for nearly five weeks.

We have established a weekly rhythm.
On Monday mornings we work out at the gym.

Monday evening history class can include student presentations about their adventures while traveling to other cities.

Amy talks about Barcelona's Museum of Catalan History.

On Tuesday afternoons some students take a metal arts class.

Others travel outside Segovia on photography trips. (Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy)  Isabella takes a watercolor painting class on Tuesday evenings and Liam joins Ryan and scrimmages with a Spanish basketball team.
Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy

The photography group explores Riofrío. (Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy)

Winter sky (Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy)

Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy

Fallow deer in Riofrío (Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy)

Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy

On Wednesdays a different group takes metal arts.

Amy hard at work with Jesús.

(Photo credit: Henrique Ferreira) Another small group takes off on a Wednesday afternoon photo adventure while two students take a Sevillanas dance class.  Others fit in a workout at the gym.

Pedraza (Photo credit: Isabella Ellis)

There is extra help at the school every evening.

Some mornings students get hungry.

So in between classes our team of crêpe chefs gets to work!

These two professionals can flip in unison!

On Thursdays the weekly market comes to the Plaza Mayor and we stock up on fruits and vegetables for the week!

Flowers for sale in the Thursday market.

Just when we are feeling overwhelmed at the end of a busy week....

It is time for Thursday evening yoga!
On Fridays we finish the week's academic work and prepare for weekend travel!

Fridays sometimes include out of the ordinary activities like this language exchange at a local school.

Part of this term's weekly schedule involves birthday cake and presents!  We have had one birthday each week all term!

April turned 17!

Meaghan turned 18!

There are really no words to describe the Sagrada Familia. The building itself obviously can be described as a large church, dubbed a basilica by the Pope, but the feeling it gives cannot be put to words. The spires are tall, the staircases narrow and cramped. The facades carved beautifully, one in a more angular style depicting the crucifixion of Christ. The original meticulously detailed, capturing all the events of the nativity. The interior is where the words trail off.
Climbing one of Sagrada Familia towers

Walking down the street, I saw a towering construction site, from a distance an eyesore, until we got closer. It was of course the famed Sagrada Familia, in all its unfinished glory, dwarfing all the buildings around it with its gigantic central spire. A central spire not yet finished, still high enough to allow for a complete panoramic view of the city. The spire is supposed to double in height. Without the scaffolding and men working on top, it will be more beautiful than I can imagine at present.

 Moving into the church I did not see the central room first, we had an elevator to take. On top of one of the many smaller spires I could see the whole city. Only out of small slanted windows designed to let in light, but not rain. The towers not only gave a panoramic view, but they were high enough to make the people on the street look like small dots roaming a page. There were balconies where we stopped to take pictures and admire the surroundings. It was beautiful, a unique view of the city. Having wanted to see this place more than anything when I came to Spain, it had been all that I expected. What I wasn’t expecting was when I stepped into the main room.

Walking down the stairs I followed a narrow spiral staircase that led into the side of the church. Walking out the door was like stepping into a forest, light coming through leaves in the ceiling and walls, and a central skylight that looked like the sun. The pillars branching out at the tops, forming canopy patterns in the intricate ceiling. The stained glass windows filtering the light, sending rays back up to the ceiling and every which way.


As I moved around the room I could feel a pressure building in the area of my sternum, and this is when words stopped meaning anything. I could use words like beautiful, spectacular, or even heavenly, but they do not even come close. The religious experience I had, tears in my eyes, standing next to those tree-like pillars reaching up to touch whatever is up there whether it is God, or any of the other names given to this higher power by all the religions of the world, was unlike any other I have had in my whole life. The religious association to the Catholic church aside, the vision of Gaudí, in designing this holy place, says a lot about the inaccuracy of language.

If I were able to paint a picture of the Sagrada Familia in your mind with my words, there would be no need to build it. If I could instill the feeling of scoring a winning goal, or driving a fast car, with my words, there would be no need to do those things. But words are so exact, and sometimes their exactness creates gaps in communication that can only be experienced, through art, music, sports, etc. The Sagrada Familia is Gaudí’s feeling toward God, condensed into a building, and that feeling it gives was part of his design.

The Sagrada Familia has yet to be finished, and in my time in Barcelona I saw only a fraction of the city. This can mean only one thing, that one day I’ll be back. I'll be back with my own accomplishments, maybe even my own children, and be humbled by the higher power within the finally finished Sagrada Familia. Gaudí had a vision, to pay homage to God through his work, and he accomplished this feat without the use of inaccurate language, only plaster models, exact to vision.     

~ Liam Howard

Photo credit: Haley de Vries

Gaudí's Parque Güell (Photo credit: Amy Sayles)

Photo credit: Haley de Vries

Photo credit: Haley de Vries

Parque Güell mosaic benches

Catalan, Spanish, and English

Sunny Barcelona, narrow streets

Montserrat views (an hour outside Barcelona) (Photo credit: Haley de Vries)

Living on the edge (Photo credit: Haley de Vries) (In case this photo makes you nervous, Stiles' feet were on the ground!  Haley was just being creative!)

Photo credit: Isabella Ellis

Photo credit: Isabella Ellis

Montserrat history discussion

The basicila in the Monasterio de Montserrat

Barcelona street performer (Photo credit: Amy Sayles)

Barceloneta (Photo credit: Stiles Alpeter)
April explores the Barcelona's Olympic Museum

Proctor en Segovia's new mode of transportation

Gatito and the rest of us hope you are all well and having a wonderful week!  ¡Hasta luego!
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  • Valerie Ferris
    Fabulous photos and blog! Your descriptions and observations are wonderfully expressed. Thank you for sharing!
  • john ferris
    Beautiful description of how words cannot always capture our feelings regarding the Sagrada Familia. Great message about "smiles" and the photo of Gatito brought a big smile. Thank you and enjoy!
Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
204 Main Street  .  PO Box 500  .  Andover, NH 03216
p. (603) 735-6000   f. (603) 735-6300