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Matt Less, Head of Upper School: Reflections on the Honor Assembly

By Matt Less, Head of Upper School

Last week, we had our Honor Assembly where members of the Honor Council are introduced and the topic of honor in all you do at Country Day is discussed. In short, our Honor Code reads, "I will not lie, cheat or steal.” After a speech by Honor Council President Maisie Collins and a fun video showing faculty making good and bad choices as students, we all went off to advisory to sign the honor pledge and discuss what honor means.

I have always told students that their best is good enough and they should be proud of their work if they know they have given it their all. I went to a college where a foreign language was required for two years, but I never took one in high school. I decided to take typing, computer science, and other electives in rural Iowa and passed up Spanish classes. When I got to college, it was a struggle, and those Spanish classes added 3–4 C’s to my transcript. I remember walking around campus talking to myself in Spanish wherever I went, but I own those grades because I earned them. I didn’t take a shortcut, and frankly, at age 18, I’m not sure I was smart enough to cheat without getting caught. 

At the assembly, Maisie talked about how students sign the honor pledge on graded assignments and how we should all take pride in writing the words “I pledge my honor that I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment” and it shouldn’t be a mindless action. She went on to say, “When you sign that pledge, do it with pride. Pride that you put in the work, and went the extra mile to complete the assignment honestly. Savor that feeling, because when you cut corners and sacrifice your integrity, it doesn’t feel good.”

Well-spoken and worth a discussion with your children. I can’t say it any better. 

Upper School Honor Code