Recently Director of Marketing and Communications Kerry Shea asked a group of new-to-Greenhill ninth graders about some proposed marketing pieces. Like all Greenhill students, they had very definite opinions about both image and message, but the most interesting feedback involved a core value of the Greenhill experience.
“Trust,” the kids said. “We really like how the teachers trust us to do the right thing.”
For those of us who strive to keep Greenhill’s core values of Honor, Respect, and Compassion in front of the community every day, it is especially gratifying that new students so quickly take in the overarching importance of Honor. These students were particularly enthusiastic as they related how Honor plays out in daily life.
At this busy time of year in the Upper School, each student carries a hefty schedule of commitments. Students independently schedule and complete missed tests and quizzes, no teacher or proctor present. They check answer sets in math only after their homework is completed, and they use research resources with honesty and integrity. And students routinely borrow school cameras and other school property in order to complete projects. We know the equipment will be well cared for.
Students have innumerable opportunities to live up to the trust placed in them. Do they stumble from time to time? Absolutely. There is no middle ground, though, on Honor, and so we support them when they have to learn sometimes painful lessons. Our students are challenged by high standards and by adults who know that “They are always watching,” as Dan Heischman stated in Good Influence: Teaching the Wisdom of Adulthood.
In their post-Greenhill world, we hope that our students will become citizens of honor, rigorously demanding honesty of themselves as well as positively influencing the next generations of young people. That is quite a vision to imagine, but given this group of young people who are excited to be trusted here at Greenhill, not an impossible one.