Erasmus Society Charge

Michael Gross

The Forum asked Mr. Fript, as the coordinator of the Erasmus Society, to explain how people get chosen to be members of the society and he gave us exactly what he gives to faculty members.  We have decided to print the whole thing.

To the Faculty:

Erasmus Society Charge

Established in the spring of 1964, The Erasmus Society was created by the faculty to give recognition and encouragement to intellectual curiosity, interest, and achievement which include, but are not limited to, formal scholastic endeavor. Students in grades ten through twelve who give evidence of academic excellence, genuine intellectual curiosity and devotion to learning which go beyond concern for school grades and admission to college are eligible for membership, which is awarded by vote of the faculty.

To explain what we believe the charge means we have developed a rough outline of the kind of student who fits the profile of an Erasmus student.  This should not be considered a rubric or a checklist; it is only a way to start thinking about the kids you want to nominate. As we look at our students, we need to remember individual differences.


Here are some ideas to consider.  An Erasmus student is one who:

-asks for information out of curiosity without concern for whether or not the information appears on the test, but that does not mean that Erasmus kids are not concerned with grades.  Rather it means that grades are not his/her sole preoccupation.  The line from the charge is, “… gobeyond concern for school grades and admission to college are eligible for membership.” We cannot expect our students not to be interested in grades, but if the only image that comes to mind is an individual asking, will this go on my grade, then s/he is not a good fit for the society.

-comes into your office to discuss something he/she read, saw, heard, experienced, etc. (may or may not have something to do with course).  When you think of this individual, do you think of someone who is intellectually curious?  Have you had great conversations with him/her?  When you have had those conversations, is s/he:

·       -seeking out additional information that may or may not be directly related to course material.

·       -making connections between disciplines/classes and between life inside and outside of school (about context vs. achievement)

-demonstrates a spirited engagement with the material that evinces a personal connection with the subject

-demonstrates critical thinking

-shows deep interest in some areas and appreciate for other areas even where he/she has no particular interest (doesn’t have to “walk on water” but should not be obnoxious about classes that are not super interested/”good at”).  An Erasmus student is not one who sabotages a classroom with negativity.

-overcomes challenges in areas that present obstacles and demonstrates intellectual and personal growth and learns from missteps and mistakes.  The student who was caught plagiarizing in 10th grade and suspended, but who has displayed nothing but honest and ethical behavior ever since, should be considered for the honor.

-challenge classmates and teachers in a way that has true critical merit and represent insight and thought. S/he is not argumentative for the sake of being argumentative or for the sake of being able to feel superior.  The challenge comes from being interested and simply wanting to talk about ideas.

-attends to his/her own intellectual life and takes responsibility for his/her growth and development.

Once again, this is not a checklist. Neither is it exclusive. It is a way to focus your thoughts.

Procedures for nomination and selection:

SOPHOMORES: need 6 nominations,

JUNIORS: need 5 nominations,

SENIORS:  need 5 nominations.

A survey Monkey is sent to the entire faculty and coaches to ask for nominations.  Once the survey is closed and collected, the names of those individuals who have the right number of nominations are placed on a ballot that will be sent to the entire upper school faculty and coaches.  To be inducted into the society students must receive the following votes:

SOPHOMORES: 6 nominations required: 90% of those voting

JUNIORS: 5 nominations required: 85% of those voting

SENIORS : 5 nominations required: 80% of those voting

In fact, the following students were chosen to be members of the society in their sophomore or junior year, which is quite an honor.