Passing the Torch

September 9, 2012

Game on!

All students are here and we have our first day of classes tomorrow. Things started revving up earlier this week with the arrival of new students who headed out last Thursday morning on hiking and canoeing trips. They returned Saturday having acquired a few woodland skills and connected to a group of people they will trust and rely on for years to come.

I had the chance to travel for a day on one of these trips which offered  a spectacular prospect from the top of Little Jackson Mountain, a swim in Crater Lake, and time with a delightful group of travel companions – faculty, proctors, and new students from the U.S., China, Germany, and Japan. These first days have been a snapshot of the Gould experience from beginning to end, a very real passing of the torch from our most experienced to our newest students.

New students arrived excited, anxious, and furiously trying to figure out how things work. It was impossible not to feel proud as they arrived from around the U.S. and the world to live with people they had not met, to undertake new challenges, and to become their best selves in preparation for college and beyond.

On the other end of the Gould experience, I saw our proctors (16 seniors elected by faculty and peers) in action. A smiling proctor met each family as they approached McLaughlin Hall, ushered them through the registration process, helped them move into dorm rooms, shared stories of their nervousness when they started, promised to be around if they needed a hand during the year, gave advice and, helped faculty lead the orientation trips.

I’ve had a chance to spend time with the proctors this past week. Their commitment rises from a sense of gratitude and legacy. They remember well the impact proctors had on them and hope to do the same. New students, though, would be surprised that more than one  proctor worried that he/she was not as grown up or ‘together’ as the proctors they first met. Trust me, they are.

Yesterday, the head proctors set the tone for this year with talks at our opening assembly and formal dinner (Go Ella, Courtney, Eben, and James!). Hearing these grounded young people speak with deep conviction about each person’s responsibility to lead in big and small things, caring for and helping each other to do the right thing, and making the school a safe place to be different was inspirational.

So, it’s an amazing thing to see your school’s work from beginning to end in a few short days. To see the transformation that takes place in our students as they engage with each other, the faculty, their work, and their play. I saw the torch passed and it was burning brightly.




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