Our year is a set of circles and cycles. The fiscal year ends June 30 and begins July 1, a fact that means nothing to 99% of the community, but a great deal to an important 1%. The school year starts in steps, but we know that new students arrive the day after Labor Day. Simiilarly dependent on the shifting calendar, Commencement is the last Saturday in May or the first Saturday in June. For people in the admission office, the year ends when the last space is filled, which is a bit of a moving target with late attrition always possible. This week is a milestone in that cycle, as we welcome the families of admitted students considering committing to Proctor.
Kids are paired with tour guides who take them to two morning classes.
It's a milestone in the cycle because most "revisitors" will be a part of the community next year. People who revisit have more than casual interest, and once they return, they're treated to a day that is both informative and emotional. On the informative side, we have class visits in which visitors are thrown right into the educational process.
Some dissected pig hearts, an example of unexpected experiential education.
At mid-morning, the bell atop Maxwell Savage rings, and the crowd piles into the theater for the quintessential Proctor experience, assembly. This one features the usual mix of student and faculty announcements, some goofiness, and a breathtaking freeski video. An a capella group (that formed spontaneously during a project period trip) performed, followed by some faculty talent.
The most powerful chapter of the day is the student panel that follows. Proctor students and teachers have gone back to classes, leaving visiting families to lob questions at ten kids who represent a mishmash of day students, boarders, boys, girls, artists, athletes, and off-campus program veterans.
This is an unhurried hour together. Anyone can say anything, and the panel members' responses are unscripted, honest and thorough. Information is exchanged, to be sure, but the impact of the panel transcends information. Whether describing homework loads, precious free time, weekend activities, extra help or seasickness on Ocean Classroom, members of the panel uniformly communicate poise, pride and passion. They may be typical Proctor students, but they are not typical adolescents. Who would not want to be like them....to be with them...to be them?
After lunch in a crowded dining room (yes, we plan to build a new dining facility...), we browse information tables at the activities fair set up in the gym. Every sport and activity has a station staffed by students and teachers passionate about that pursuit, including bow hunting, rock climbing, drama, kayaking, etc. Free skiing coach Colton Wright is trying to communicate with interested visitors despite obvious distractions.
After the fair, some families check out and head home, while others get directions to activities of individual interest currently underway in different corners of campus.
I recommend that visitors spend time at the sugar house, which is a busy, steamy, sweet-smelling hub of activity. Pay no attention to Jon.
We host another crowd of revisitors Tuesday. We know that most revisitors will join the Proctor community for 2014-15. Now we enter the highly efficient "rolling admission" stage of the enrollment management year during which applicants are focussing quickly on one or two schools only. Next year's student population will become established. The Class of 2014 will graduate. The Classes of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 will arrive in September, and another cycle will commence.
7:30 AM. Tour guides are ready to be introduced as visitors arrive.
It doesn't take long for some visitors to fit in!
You're asking me to dissect a...what?!
Corby offers a visitor named Caleb some complimentary feedback on his abstract charcoal sketches.
In the panel, Craig got a laugh when he explained that Hazel (at his right; our left) didn't know until this moment that he's a day student!
The bow hunting table at the activity fair.
Hmmmm. I could build a boat....
....or take up ceramics....
...or make maple syrup.
As the admission brochure asks, "Which path will you choose?"