Last weekend was a really special weekend at North Cross School as we brought home Coach Brown’s third state soccer championship, saw football reverse an early season defeat to triumph in the semi-finals of the state football playoffs, Harry Pearson ’19 earned All-State honors for the fourth time in a row at the State Cross Country meet, and our lower school performance of Junie B. Jones Jr. (don’t forget the middle initial!) garnered rave reviews and sold-out crowds.
It brought to mind something one of my headmasters told me when I was teaching at Severn School. Shep Shepherd always said that athletics and the arts were similar in that they are both public in nature and invite criticism—whether accurate or not. This spotlight has become even brighter in this era of social media.
For a school, this means that we need to be sure we are always well coached or directed, practiced, and as professional as we can be in our amateur endeavors. The public sees us and regardless of the outcome, they make judgements as to the quality of our school. Put another way, there is no better advertising than a fabulous performance or a well fought athletic contest.
On an individual note, I am always so impressed with the easy way our students are willing to perform in public. Our lower school students were so at ease in front of a packed house and demonstrated a maturity well beyond their years. Our athletes placed their faith in their practice and coaching and played the best they have all season, when it counted most. Stars were stars but we won both games because all of our student-athletes played at a high level. Following Harry Pearson were a number of runners with personal bests.
When we think about what to be thankful for, I am going to think about being a part of a community that encourages our children to take risks, to try things that they may not have tried in less safe space, and for a culture that enjoys the public nature of sports and the arts.
Here’s to many more great weekends at North Cross. Happy Thanksgiving.
Christian J. Proctor, PhD
Dr. Proctor, the ninth head of school at North Cross since 2011, has more than 26 years of experience in education, 15 of which have been at the head of school level. 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.