This blog’s main purpose is to articulate the academic mission of Proctor Academy to parents, students, teachers and prospective families that might be considering Proctor as an option for their son or daughter. While most blog posts discuss academic classes or recent research as it relates to our unique academic model of experiential learning, today we will take a detour to the Proctor Ski Area and the ski jumps that reside to the left of the main race hill.
To me, someone who has never ski jumped and quite frankly never desires to, the 38k ramp is an impressive facility, especially when you climb the steps and look out over the Blackwater River valley to the rooftops of Proctor's campus on the other side of Main Street. To those who have trained here their whole life, like Proctor’s most recent Olympian Nick Fairall ‘07, the facility is so much more. It is the place where dreams formed while watching former Proctor students Carl Van Loan ‘98 and Jed Hinkley ‘99 train enroute to their Olympic berths in 2002 in Nordic Combined. It is a place where coaches become mentors, and eventually friends just as the relationship evolved between legendary ski jumping coach Tim Norris and Nick Fairall's. It is a place where painful lessons in overcoming adversity transcend sport to the real world goals of an educational institution like Proctor.
During last Friday’s assembly (below), Nick Fairall was kind enough to spend time sharing his story with the Proctor community. Fairall shared his excitement about his Olympic berth for the 2014 Sochi games within the context of his ski jumping journey over the past seven years. A journey that included top finishes around the world in 2008 and 2009. A journey that then came to a crashing halt (literally and figuratively) as he was the first cut from the 2010 Olympic Ski Jumping team, finishing fifth in points and missing out achieving his lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics. A journey that was filled with the personal challenge of losing his mother to cancer, and figuring out how to rebuild his career after coming so close to his ultimate goal.
While we celebrate Nick’s accomplishment of making the Olympic team, it is his path to success that has been the true inspiration. As he shared with us last Friday, overcoming the adversity of being cut from the Olympic team and recommitting to his goals would not have occurred without the support of those around him; family, friends, coaches and communities like Andover and Proctor.
Nick has shown us that a willingness to be supported is critical to achieving goals. Sometimes as the rugged New Englanders we strive to be, we hesitate to accept the support of those around us and instead think we can tackle every challenge ourselves. Nick’s path to success is one that mirrors our educational goals at Proctor, as we similarly value the combination of hard work and collective support necessary to push each student to reach his or her potential.
Through incredible hard work, natural abilities, and the support of those around him, he has reached the pinnacle of his sport. For all of our students to see Nick’s journey come to this point is powerful, and we thank him for taking the time to share his story with us.
Lessons learned in athletic competition transcend sport and reinforce Proctor's mission.
2014 Olympic Ski Jumper Nick Fairall '07 shared his ski jumping journey with students last week.
Nick's path to success is one we can all admire. It is one filled with hard work and discipline.
Nicks' career has been filled with successes and failures.
It is the way he has handled the adversity he has faced that is so critical for our students to hear and apply to their own lives!