The opening few days and weeks of any school year are interesting entities in their own way. There is the excitement of sharing stories of summer activities, the usual grumbling about being the only one who did not get a desired class, and the promise this will be “the best year ever.” All of us start the year with high expectations and the ever present hope of avoiding the usual bumps in the road we call high school.
Of our many different assemblies and meetings designed to set the tone for the year, the one I enjoy the most is our student-led Honor Convocation. At this assembly, our Honor Council set the bar high for the Upper School community as different members spoke to the four pillars of our Code: a) “My words will be truthful. My word is my bond.” b) “I will take and use only that which belongs to me.” c) “My work will be my own.” d) “I will not tolerate violations of these principals by others.” Every student speaker acknowledged how as humans we are not perfect and we will make mistakes, and spoke to an ultimate goal of being a community where there is not a need for an Honor Council. In his or her own way, each offered us the challenge to do the right thing when no one is looking and/or when everyone is looking.
I have been in many student/parent conferences where the son or daughter has said “I never hear about the good I do, I only hear about the bad.” As one whose glass constantly is “half full,” I believe there is something to be said in sharing the good that is done and the positive expectations rather than using discussions of the bad or the negative to try to inspire the behaviors we want. The good I can share from our first four weeks of classes and the Honor Convocation is that we continue to strive to hold ourselves to a high standard both inside and outside the classroom.