It doesn't seem possible we're entering the final week of the winter trimester, yet maple sap is rising (earlier than anyone can remember,) and--on campus, at least--its sugar content is high, so we'll proceed with exams without questioning the calendar.
Some anxiety exists that this very early sap run foretells a poor syrup yield. But Dave Pilla is the first to point out that we learn from experience, and have not experienced this before. Stay focused in the moment! At Proctor, we seem to anticipate the best.
Education is a process of experience, the exercise of skills, and performance. It can be tempting to regret the performance component. "Why don't we learn for learning sake?" But, as the previous post on this site explored, the ideal educational experience is one of focused absorption, rapt attention and immediate involvement. End performance, whether it's a final exam, an art show, a dramatic production or a vocal recital, provides a degree of structure we need. "Here's what I've accomplished."
Assembly is an obvious venue for much demonstration. Below, on Friday, members of the cross country team present Mike and Gregor the Lakes Region Trophy.
We have a flourishing drama program. Some people involved get credits--academic, non-academic and community service--for different levels of participation, but the fact is that kids are dedicating huge amounts of time and effort because of the thrill of it, and nothing more. It's rehearsals, and tech, and directing, and memorization and blocking. Then there's the performance. Then you strike the set. My son, whose career is in live theater, taught me long ago that every aspect provides the thrill; (his favorite is strike.)
This is from Friday's production of The Odd Couple:
You had to have the live performance, however, to make the entire experience rich. It took the reality of Friday and Saturday nights' curtains at 7:00 PM to force the issue....to make us learn those lines...to rehearse all those hours...to learn how to bow to an audience at the end of a show.
The Chamber Choir performed Sunday afternoon in the chapel.
Knowing the singers, and--to some extent, their life stories--I find myself on the edge of tears through most of the performance. What guts it takes to stand and deliver a solo! And no one had to do this. These kids gravitated to a program because they knew they would be better for it.
Final exams sound like a drag, but I always hope that we can approach them as necessary opportunities to demonstrate performance. Those students who begin a trimester with that attitude (in the classic sense of perspective) will do just fine. Everyone is pulling for you....
It's time for performance. Dafni's tea pot is exquisite!
Basketball heroes march up to assembly.
Michaela checks sugar content of maple sap the old fashioned way.
Alvaro employs a highly accurate spectrometer which yields very encouraging results!
Mike congratulates--and thanks--Taylor for beating a school Mike was once a part of.....
Stefan announces the start of an improv group! His motivation? Love of improv. This has nothing to do with credits.
A hugely successful instrumental musician, Harry delivers his first vocal solo. It was his idea.