Ella Makechnie Falls in Love with European Lifestyle

Proctor's European Art Classroom opens doors

By Scott Allenby
Andover’s Maura Kelly ’22 (alongside Hayse Broom ’23) on Proctor’s Mountain Classroom off-campus study program in Nevada this April. Photo Jeffrey Prado

Proctor Academy is currently running four trimester-long off-campus programs this spring: European Art Classroom (Aix en Provence, France), Proctor en Segovia (Segovia, Spain), Mountain Classroom (American Southwest), and Proctor en Monteverde (Monteverde Region, Costa Rica). 

Three Andover students are studying off-campus this spring, as Elliot Norris ‘23 studies in Spain, Ella Makechnie ‘23 on European Art Classroom, and Maura Kelly ‘22 on Mountain Classroom. Ella shared the following reflections in a recent blog post:

“Our program director, Dave, proposed we knock on the door of the great estate and ask to picnic on their property. We were all a bit uneasy with the idea but soon caught on to the surprise as we made our way up the steep, grand driveway. 

“Dave announced we would be spending the day at the home of his dear friend Monique, who later toured us around her property and studio. Monique started building the home in 1974 alongside her late husband and brother as the architect. The place was in shambles with the exception of the chapel, utilized by monks back in the day (11th century).

“Monique was smiley and welcomed us into her home with warm open arms. Her French rolled off her tongue and was soothing to listen to; Dave would translate for us, and we instantly fell in love with her. 

“Her gallery had us in awe. It was magical, making a connection with someone regardless of a language barrier…

“After a long picnic, we parted ways to establish our own painting spots. Dave, Trin, Thomas, and I hiked down to a seemingly luscious field of green grass; a farmer driving by in a tractor would later enlighten us with the knowledge that our perfectly green grass was winter wheat!

“As I’m writing this, everyone is scrambling around the living room finishing final preparations for our first long voyage tomorrow. Mason is strumming the guitar, and all our stomachs are filled with Hachis Parmentier (French version of Shepard’s Pie) and Kara’s lemon tart. Safe to say we are all in love with the European lifestyle.”