On Monday, Sept. 21, the student body gathered in the Fisher-Watkins Dining Commons for Cushing’s annual Honor Code signing dinner. During this formal ceremony, students signed their names in the Honor Code book as a permanent record of commitment to the shared values and precepts of the Cushing Honor Code as stated below:
Cushing Academy Honor Code
As a member of Cushing Academy’s diverse student body, I recognize that trust and honesty form the foundation of our community. Therefore, I pledge to uphold the Honor Code in all aspects of my life: I will be truthful in my interactions and will demonstrate respect for others and their belongings, as well as those of the Academy. Furthermore, I will maintain high standards of academic honesty in accordance with Cushing’s policies and the expectations of my teachers and peers. If I observe or become aware that a member of the community has violated or intends to violate the Honor Code, I will act decisively to preserve the integrity of the Academy.
I seek an environment in which all individuals can live and learn together in ways that protect personal freedom and community standards. Therefore, as a student at Cushing Academy, I accept my responsibilities as outlined in the Honor Code and will do my utmost to uphold its precepts.
Virtute et Numine
Several speakers shared their own perspectives on the Honor Code and what it means to the Cushing community. “Until recently, the Honor Code did not mean more to me than the promise that I would not break the rules written out in the handbook,” said Caroline Mattoon ’16. “Now I think of it as something entirely different. In the Honor Code it states, ‘I will be truthful in my interactions…’ The worst thing you can do is not be true to yourself. By not being true to yourself you, become someone who you are not and it can be difficult to dig yourself out of that hole. It’s taken me a long time to realize the effect that people I surround myself with have on me. Have you ever noticed that the people in your first period class can either make or break your day? It is the same for friendships; an unhealthy or bad friend can break you. Looking at my three -- almost four -- years here at the Academy, the happiest and best times I have had are when I am surrounded by the people in my life who I have never have to hide from, and for whom I never have to change. Ultimately, friends are supposed to help each other and NOT bring each other down. That means always supporting one another, making good decisions and being truthful with one another even when it is not easy.”
According to English teacher Ms. Michelle Schloss: “The Honor Code reminds us that we ‘recognize that trust and honesty form the foundation of our community’. By signing your name to the Honor Code, you are recognizing an agreement and a respect for yourself as an individual, for the individuals around you, and for your community as a whole.
“In that famous Shakespeare play, Juliet poses an interesting question: ‘What’s in a name?’ she asks. Unlike what Juliet insinuates in that question, I believe that your name is your most treasured possession. It is that piece of your identity, bestowed on you by your parents, that represents all that you are. Your name is a label of your reputation, your values; how you wish to be remembered, what you stand for. By signing your name to the Honor Code this evening, you are making a pledge to yourself: ‘I pledge to uphold the Honor Code in all aspects of my life.’ You are recognizing that trust and honesty form the foundation of good character, and that you intend to hold yourself accountable as a trustworthy, honest person.
"I have had the unique experience of interacting with honorable students in Honor Council meetings, where an equal number of faculty and students sit on a panel to discuss instances of academic dishonesty with the individual students who violate the Honor Code. It is a powerful experience to witness students holding each other accountable in a productive, caring manner, for the betterment of us as individuals and as a community.
"The Honor Code goes further than laying out a set of expectations that you will uphold as individuals. It makes a significant connection between the individual and the community, saying, “I seek an environment in which all individuals can live and learn together in ways that protect personal freedom and community standards.’ As you sign your name tonight, celebrate the action you are taking to create an environment where we can live and learn together, with honor.”
For Myles Bonadie ’17, the Honor Code is a piece of the Cushing experience that binds us together. “The Honor Code is not an instruction as to how a Cushing Student should lead his, her, or their life; rather it is the starting point by which we can create a more cohesive and coherent community. One that we are all a part of and one that we are all tasked with building and improving together.”
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