Throughout my years at Shorecrest, I’ve had the chance to listen to a lot of conversations about honesty and to observe different cases brought in front of the Honor Council. I’ve been able to understand that one of the major reasons that honesty and integrity are such a vital part of our community is because honor is really all about trust.
In any friendship, being able to completely trust the other person is key to being successful and happy. You want to be able to know that your friend will be there when you need them, that you can rely on them to do anything, and that they will not break your trust under any circumstances.
Similarly, creating a unified Shorecrest community in which we support each other and help each other thrive while acting honorably has a lot to do with the trust we place in each other.
When you’re competing in sports, on the field or on the court, you should be able to trust that the other athletes play fairly and follow the rules.
We expect that our classmates will act honorably in the classroom and during assessments so that no one gains an unfair advantage.
As students, we place trust in our teachers and our administrators that they will do whatever they can to help us succeed. We expect them to grade our assignments fairly, to check up on our progress and to take the time necessary to make sure that we understand what we’re learning in class.
And finally, our teachers put a significant amount of trust in us that we will act with integrity and honesty in the classroom before they can begin to help each of us improve.
The Shorecrest community is built on these pillars of trust.
When someone cheats or breaks the honor code, the trust that we’ve placed in each other is broken.
As an Honor Council, it is not our job to police the halls for cheating or just give out consequences. When someone violates our community’s trust by cheating or acting dishonorably, we work to figure out why this trust was broken and do everything we can to repair that trust as soon as possible and make sure it is not broken again. When someone comes in front of the Honor Council, it is necessary to decide consequences for cheating; but, it is more important that we help this person understand why breaking the honor code is unacceptable so that he or she does not violate our community’s trust again. If we can help someone stop acting dishonorably now, it is significantly better than having similar issues arise in college or at a job, where consequences for cheating and plagiarism can be much harsher.
Besides trying to help others, we understand the immense amount of trust and responsibility you have placed in the students on the Honor Council by electing us to serve as the student voice. Whenever we have a case, we work extremely hard to ensure that the case is heard thoroughly and fairly and that the student’s point of view is always represented.
So, in conclusion, when the seniors step up and sign the honor book today, they are committing themselves to a physical representation of the trust we have in our community. As seniors, we are role models and leaders, and it is our duty to demonstrate to the rest of the school how a unified, honorable, and trustworthy group speaks and acts. When we all go to sign our class honor books, I’m asking everyone to think about the trust you have placed in your friends, classmates, and teachers and the trust that has been placed in you by others. When we violate the honor code and break that trust, we let each other down. But when we honor our mutual trust and act with integrity, honesty, and respect, we can succeed and help each other succeed as a community.
Max K is the President of the Honor Council at Shorecrest and welcomed the entire 9th-12th grade Upper School at 2016 Convocation. Following his remarks, all of the students in the senior class signed the honor book. The signing of the honor book is an annual Shorecrest tradition that reminds students to uphold the Honor Code:
“I agree to be personally and academically honest and to treat others with respect and courtesy.”