The Lower School Unveils Honor Code

How do elementary aged student understand the concept of honor?  This intangible word may be difficult even for adults to comprehend and practice on a daily basis, so how do we walk alongside our students and children, teaching and guiding them to lead a life of honor?

unnamedOn Friday, April 29th, during the assembly, the Lower School Student Council delivered an announcement to the student body regarding the new Lower School Honor Code. The honor statements were developed by a teacher-led committee in hopes to align with the Middle/Upper School honor expectations, and to also give our younger students guide of how to make personal decisions of honor. The Lower School Honor Code presents these four important statements:

  1. Honesty: I will tell the truth (even when it is hard).
  2. Respect: I will respect myself, others, and all things around me.
  3. My ideas, words, and work will be my own.
  4. I will encourage others to be honest, respectful, and to do their own work.

Before the honor code was unveiled in the assembly, the Lower School students and faculty heard from two amazing students: Ally Carey, a seventh grader, and Barrett Kulik, a senior who is currently serving as student body president, offered their thoughts about what honor means to them. These presentations were powerful, bringing faculty to tears and engaging the student body in such a way that one could hear a pin drop in the often noisy Gatti Hall.

20160429_081511Barrett spoke about how our actions deliver the message of honor to others – classmates, teachers, parents, our community. When Barrett’s father asks him to mow the grass, he does so out of honor. When he completes an assignment for his teachers, he does so out of honor. Barrett reminded our students/teachers about how our behavior and our words are the truest representations of honor.

Ally spoke about honor, saying to our student/faculty body:

“What is honor?  To me, honor is many things.  It is an abstract word, associated with truth, integrity, morals, self-esteem, and living a life that values right from wrong….

20160429_081305Don’t let the temptation of winning a game, being more popular or getting a 100% on a test get in the way of your honor.  While it is OK to win the game, be popular, or get a 100% on the test, it should not compromise your honorability.  When someone falls, give them a hand.  When someone feels less than popular, give them your friendship.  When someone is struggling, give them your efforts. Although it may be hard at times, do what’s right, do the best you can, and mold yourself into the kind of person you want to be.”

Wow.

As Lower School Counselor, it is MY honor to be surrounded by students with such integrity, kindness, leadership, and truth. As we unveiled these guidelines for our student body, I continued to be amazed by the level of honor that our students already embody, and the actions of honor that are already displayed inside our school walls on a daily basis. Thank you, parents, for sharing your amazing children with Walker, as we are privileged each day to teach and guide these growing people to be honorable adults.

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Walker’s Core Strengths: Nurturing Atmosphere

This is truly my favorite part of the year …the warmth, kindness, excitement, and generosity fills the air and nurtures my spirit. It’s the time of the year where somewhere among the hustle and bustle, we get to take a breath and remember all that is truly important – our people.

At Walker, we often hear our school described as a place with a nurturing environment, and as Lower School Counselor, each day I see the work that happens so that our students are nurtured to grow and evolve into the version of their best selves. I watch the hands-on instruction; I watch the daily hugs, high-fives, and occasional tear-wiping from our teachers; I witness the behinds the scenes genuine LOVE, sweat, and tears of our faculty; and I hear the constant encouragement, reassurance, and inspiration specified for each and every student. These actions are heartfelt, as these precious students are “our people.”

Yet, in order to help our students transform into productive and positive citizens of the world, we have to show them what it is like to be nurtured, and also how to nurture others – how to step aside and put others’ needs as a priority. On Friday, December 18th, the Lower School celebrates its second annual Day of Giving, and we are continuing a tradition with our students in serving others. Each grade level chooses a way to give, whether it is making sure homeless animals have homemade treats to eat or hospitalized children have warm blankets, or sharing the love of reading with nearby preschool children, we must show our little ones what it means to nurture others, and by doing so, we in turn nurture them. Those in need of our service are “our people” too.

Yes, Walker provides an amazing place where are students are known, nurtured, and cared for in every way, and what I love about Walker is the fact that we also give our kids the opportunity to nurture others. May you all have a fabulous winter break and take a moment to nurture your people – those who may be unknown to you and those who you hold most dear.