On Wednesday, September 17 at 8:15 a.m. in the Abbey Church, Priory’s Seventh Grade Class presented their signed Honor Code and Bill of Respect to Headmaster Father Gregory, O.S.B. The boys spent two weeks in Advisory prior to the presentation discussing the Honor Code before signing it and signifying their willingness to be Priory men of honor. This is a long-standing tradition at Priory, signaling that the newest class has become an official part of the School.
Here is Father Gregory’s address to the Seventh Graders, their classmates, and their teachers.
2014 Seventh Grade Honor Code Presentation
Brothers, Let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honorable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire – with whatever is good and praiseworthy.
Today the seventh grade will present to me in your presence their signed copy of our School Honor Code and Code of Respect. It’s an opportunity for me to reflect with you on its meaning and for us all to reflect upon our community and school in a way that respects and honors truth and goodness and each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Why is the honor code important? Really, the answer to that is why is not being honorable important? Why is lying and cheating and stealing and speaking disrespectfully to one another in anyway whatsoever…why is that not to be part of who we are as a school? On a very basic human level, it’s out of balance because those kinds of behaviors fundamentally disrupt the fabric of who we are as a community. Communities provide mutual trust. If we cannot trust one another then we cannot live together in harmony, and if we are not living together in harmony then the fundamental fabric that ties us together as a school will break down. Trust between human beings is essential. If you study history you’ll find out that at the heart of every resolution of conflict - the way wars are settled - is when heads of state trust one another enough to make agreements for peace. Trust is essential in business. When you enter the adult world, if you happen to run businesses, then the work you do fundamentally depends on being able to trust the other person with whom you are dealing. Trust is essential in all friendships and in family life… but there’s an even greater reason why respecting the values this article enshrines is essential to us as a community: because we are not just any school. We are a Catholic school and that means at the heart of what we are as a community is the presence of Christ in our midst, in each other.
The reason that we don’t lie cheat or steal, or at least that we know we shouldn’t, is that we know Christ wouldn’t do those things. Any time any of you are tempted to do such things, either in your work or in your life outside of the school, if you just imagine Christ to be there – the cliché “What Would Jesus Do” always works. If you are honest with yourself you always know when you are doing something that is wrong.
I want to remind you all that hanging over the entrance to the school library is a mosaic of Christ in glory. It was done by two seniors for their exhibition many years ago. One was a Protestant and one was a Hindu. They chose to make this ancient art form of an orthodox mosaic of Christ in glory, looking down upon the students in the library. He holds in His hand a book of the Gospels, and it’s open to the page which reads, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.” Thank God in heaven that Christ looks down upon us from that mosaic and we see His words to each of us is: be Christ to one another. And in being Christ to one another see His presence, see Christ in one another. Then the rest becomes easier.
Seventh graders, you will shortly present me with the honor code that you signed. It will hang in the hallway of the Junior School and it will follow you into the High School where four of these hang outside the Student Commons, signed by each of the members of the freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior classes. It is your pledge to live your life as Christ would. Today we are accepting your pledge, and we pledge to you our support and prayers that you may live up to what you promised today, so that you may be for us all a witness that living as Christ does is possible in this world.
So I ask the 7th graders to stand, please.
Will you uphold the ideals of the Honor Code and Bill of Respect at the Saint Louis Priory School in thought, word and in deed?
Will you respect and act in honesty on the rights and property of others?
Will you treat others and yourself as befits a child of God?
Will you support the efforts of others to uphold the Honor Code and Bill of Respect?
May God who has begun this good work in you, bring it to completion!
After the Seventh Graders made their pledge, their classmates renewed their own commitment to the Honor Code and the faculty publicly pledged their support for all students.