FOLLOWING ARE DR. PROCTOR'S REMARKS FROM THE 56th COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES HELD ON MAY 25, 2019
Schoolwork is a funny thing. It is easiest when approached logically, completed well ahead of time, and reviewed for potential improvement. But for every Ann Ashley Daniel, I am sure there are ten people like me who procrastinate until the last minute, allowing the terror of an imminent deadline to generate the creativity necessary to complete an assignment. Such was the case with my remarks this year. In fact, I was still fact checking while the graduates were in line to process. I am not sure who was most terrified, me, my wife or Susan Baker…
But don’t worry, I’ve got it…
Last week, I wrote about this year’s senior class at North Cross-Roanoke. They haven’t gotten any less talented, but I wanted to continue my discussion by pointing out that North Cross has another 54 graduates in the Class of 2019; our graduates from North Cross School-Shanghai. This year marks our third graduating class from our Shanghai campus and each year has seen growth in size and ability. In fact, we are currently full on our Xinhe Campus and we anticipate opening a second campus of North Cross School-Shanghai in the fall to allow for future growth.
For those of you that have not reviewed our mission statement recently, I will remind you that the first sentence contains the words “college preparatory.” This is not by accident, and we are constantly thinking in terms of how best we can prepare our students for this next experience. So, it is at this time of year that we use college admissions as a justification to celebrate the success of our program and the hard work of our seniors.
One of the great things about working at North Cross School is doing so alongside a community of motivated learners—students and teachers. Oftentimes, a brief suggestion turns into an amazing opportunity that benefits our school immensely and in more ways than expected. Two such cases recently have taken shape. Stephen Belderes has developed a tremendous opportunity for our students to take college-level coursework this summer and Deborah Jessee’s hard work has forged a partnership with Hollins University to provide an affordable graduate education for our faculty.
I watched the State of the Union the other night, albeit only during commercial breaks of the UNC-NC State basketball game, and I was reminded that good ideas are often criticized to the point that they wither on the vine. Many of you know my politics, most don’t, but here, I refer to all good ideas irrespective of party lines. And, I think we can all agree that the more good ideas that see the light in Washington, the better.
Which brings me to North Cross School. We are in the midst of an absolutely fantastic school year. We have grown by 18 students since Labor Day weekend, our inquiries for admission are up substantially, we won a State Championship in Boys Soccer, our senior class SAT scores average an all-time high (1253), students and faculty smile when I see them more than not, the early stage of our capital campaign is a stunning success, college admissions are strong, and our arts program continues to develop talent at a prodigious rate. A mouthful for sure, but I have said repeatedly that this has been the best school year in my career.
You may have heard me at Convocation mention the “Miracle Mets” of 1969. In case you are unfamiliar, this team had finished in ninth place their previous season, but came to training camp with an expectation of accomplishing much more. And accomplish much more they did, winning 100 games, sweeping the Braves in the playoffs, and then much to my disappointment, defeating one of the greatest teams in baseball history, the Baltimore Orioles*, in the World Series. Besides showing my age and knowledge of useless sports trivia, why am bringing this up in my first article for Crossties this year?
Christian J. Proctor, PhD
Dr. Proctor is the ninth Head of School at North Cross and has served as such since 2011. He has more than 30 years of experience in education. He has served as headmaster at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina, St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, Grace Episcopal School in Monroe, Louisiana, and as Interim Headmaster at Wesley Academy in Houston, Texas. In each location, Dr. Proctor’s tenure was marked by creativity, innovation, and school growth.