The activities proctors and teaching fellows at the Experimentory have a special role of being able to work with the students inside and outside of the dorm. The activities proctors organize and facilitate co-curricular activities and the teaching fellows assist the teachers in each cluster. For Media Proctor Abby Shepherd's final blog post, she talked to proctors and teaching fellows about the growth they saw in the last four weeks.
I sat down with some of the proctors and teaching fellows and asked them to provide me with an example of growth they saw the students this summer. I received answers that varied from broad to specific, but there was a common theme of how witnessing "our kids" transform over the past four weeks brought us immense joy.
Katie gave me a broad example. She told me about how the students started out anxious in this unfamiliar environment, but that each student "has been able to branch out of their comfort zone, grow, and make this new place part of their comfort zone.”
|Sam poses with Will N. and Stephanie at the Eric Carle Museum.|
There was a particular student that Ms. Terrell saw flourish in this environment after an initial period of struggle. She told me that they "had a really hard time adapting to this new place and communicating with other students who were different from them." Now, she said that they are a true leader and inspire others. Ms. Terrell saw this student grow both as an actor in Theatre + Electronics and as a community member in the dorms and at co-curricular activities.
Another teaching fellow, Ms. Insuik, had two students who didn't see eye to eye at first in Architecture + Culture. She put these students together intentionally, "so they could develop their collaborative skills." Now, with the final project, the two are working well together and their work reflects how much they've grown.
Ms. Stoll is the teaching fellow in Music + Film, and she told me about seeing growth in the entire experience of the Experimentory, not just the academia. “A lot of summer programs focus on honing the individual's skills and developing them on their own," she said, "but this program is designed to maximize community interaction as well." She belives that the education in the dorm setting teaches the students to coexist, which she said is lacking in our world today.
|Ms. Stoll and students pose on a the Experimentory golf cart.|
Ellie, an activities proctor, told me about how she saw this coexisting in the students' interactions with their peers. Here at the Experimentory, we have the Creativity and Character awards. Every night, the two students who won the awards pass it on to another two students. Ellie told me that every night, the students had increasing self-awareness when giving the awards out. When the student accepts the award, they say that each student also deserved the award. "At the beginning, they didn’t know what to do with [the Creativity and Character awards], but now they acknowledge their own growth and see that in others as well,” she said.
Another activities proctor, Sam, said a great example of growth that occurred in just one day was at the Color War. "It was interesting because they started the day with good sportsmanship because of the incentive of earning points, but by the end of the day they didn’t need a reminder to cheer. They just did it," he said. He saw the Color War as a turning point for the students, where the message of Creativity + Character became "ingrained" in them.
Talking with the activities proctors and teaching fellows reminded me of how we have grown alongside the students. I'm proud of all of us here at the Experimentory, students and staff alike. Thank you all so much for following this journey.
To keep up with the last few days at the Experimentory, and to check out memories from earlier this summer, be sure to follow our daily blog, and look for updates and photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr.