Honor: alive and thriving at Parrott Academy
The morning was hot, but the high school and middle school boys wore button down shirts and ties as they flooded into the gym. The girls wore dresses and skirts you’d see at a church or a wedding. For the annual Honor Convocation at Arendell Parrott Academy, held Friday, August 24th, respect and decorum were the order of the day. Students in grades 6 through 12 gathered with faculty to recommit themselves to the school’s Honor Code.
Like buying fresh notebooks and finding your new homeroom, this is an annual ceremony for a school where, as one senior put it, “You can leave your brand new Mac book on a table for an hour and still find it there when you return.” Book bags, guitar and violin cases, lacrosse sticks and tennis bags line the halls, and the student lockers have no locks. “We are expected to be honest, even when it’s not the easiest option,” observed recent graduate John Michael Leighton.
In a special section, the student handbook defines the school’s honor code, a simple statement echoing the code at America’s service academies: “A member of the Arendell Parrott Academy community will not lie, cheat, or steal.” During the Honor Convocation, each student stepped up to a table and signed his or her name to indicate he or she understood and would uphold that honor statement.
Does it always work? “When they’re under pressure to complete an assignment and get a good grade, some students will try to plagiarize or copy from a friend’s work,” commented Assistant Headmaster Hugh Pollock. “But they know it’s a serious offense. They know it’s wrong. And if they’re caught, they have to face the Headmaster and the Honor Council.”
The Honor Convocation closed with the introduction of seven students and three faculty members who work as an Honor Council. This year’s council of juniors and seniors includes Ben Hart, Emily Piwowarski, Sybil Sides, Rachel Alexander-Lee, Lucas Ouano, Reagan Perry, and Lillian Warner. Math teacher Kim Henderson, English teacher Casey Charles, and Head of the Upper School Brooks Sutton function as advisers.
“I’ve always thought the Honor Council reinforces the idea of honor at APA,” senior Ben Hart explained. “After all, if there’s no honor, there’s no point in achievement.” Both Hart and fellow Council member Lucas Ouano said they wanted to set an example for other students and persuade them to do the right thing. “Being on the Honor Council is going to help me make the right choices, too,” Ouano admitted.
The school motto—Honor, Initiative, Truth—has created what one Parrott alumnus called “a highly principled atmosphere. Parrott has taught me that the best part of success is knowing I succeeded with integrity.”