Honorable Thoughts

Aidan Sarazen

I was particularly nervous on the morning before the Honor Council election. Not only would I have to speak in front of the entire school, but I thought I would be competing against a sizable group of equally qualified Juniors. I walked into the theater right before the doors closed, expecting an enormous crowd of students to be gathered behind the stage. When I saw only nine kids, I became perplexed. I walked backstage to find that my competitors were fellow juniors Alex Goff and Graham Ferguson. I knew both Alex and Graham would be tough competition, but I still felt like there was something wrong with the situation. Alex, Graham, and I were three out of over 100 juniors to even attempt to get a position on the Honor Council through public election. Two out of the three of us would get the position. The election felt rather pointless. Similarly, two students out of over 110 sophomores ran. No seniors even applied. As I stood backstage before the election, I began felt less nervous because I had less competition. However, I began to feel anxious in another way. Based on the turnout for running in the public election, it appeared that Latin students did not consider being a member of the Honor Council to be desirable. I was embarrassed because I thought the crowd would not take the election seriously.

After the election, I realized that some of my emotions were rather dramatic. Nevertheless, I still wondered why so few people ran for Honor Council. Was it not advertised well? Is the idea of holding a position on the Honor Council unattractive? Do Latin students just lack motivation to run for new positions in the school? Initially, when seniors Victoria Lancaster and Eugene Gorleku introduced the Honor Council, I felt hesitant about whether or not I liked the new system. I remember talking to fellow Junior Ian Surdell about the Honor Council right after it had been introduced to the school. He said having a position on the Honor Council “would be terrible because of the transparency.” At the time, I couldn’t help but to agree with Ian. Everyone in the Latin community would know who serves on the Honor Council. As I continued to have conversations with Latin students about the committee, I began to see a trend in the view that they held towards it. One student (who will remain anonymous) told me that members of the Honor Council “would have their social lives devastated, because no one would invite them to any parties.” Clearly, Latin students overestimate the power that their peers will have by serving on the Honor Council.

Latin students who serve on the Honor Council are meant to foster better relationships between students and teachers, not get their peers in trouble. I ran for the Honor Council because I wanted to make sure that every Latin student was being fairly evaluated by the faculty. Adults are not always perfect, and often lack important perspectives on disciplinary infractions that only kids can offer. I asked Nick Rose, one of the four freshman who ran for the Honor Council position, why he wanted to be part of the committee. He told me that being part of the Honor Council would “allow [him] to have a bigger role in the Latin community.” Graham Ferguson, one of the three juniors who ran for the position, informed me that he wanted a role in the Honor Council so that he “would have an opportunity to defend his peers.” In talking to those students who ran for the Honor Council, it is clear that they are knowledgeable about the responsibilities of committee members. However, a vast majority of Latin students greatly continue to misunderstand the idea behind the Honor Council.

The Latin community should realize that those students who serve on the Honor Council are there to help their peers by making disciplinary infractions more understandable to faculty.