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Making the hard right choice

On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this assignment, and I will not discuss it until all students have completed it.

All Harpeth Hall students write these words on the top of their assignments, tests, and papers. For them, the pledge is more than just words on paper. It represents a code they live by and a cornerstone in our school’s mission statement — to live honorably.

This week, at Harpeth Hall's annual Honor Assembly, students from every grade gathered together on Souby Lawn and pledged to be responsible and honorable members of our school.

“A community founded upon honor is beautiful to witness in action, and this is especially true at Harpeth Hall,” Director of Upper School Armistead Lemon said in her opening remarks at the 2021 Honor Assembly. “Living honorably means to make the hard right choice over the easy wrong one. To do this even when no one is watching. Over and over and over again. It is to be respectful of others in our words and in our actions. None of us is perfect, and we will make mistakes and learn from them. But the sum of all these hard right choices is ultimately a life of integrity.”

After she spoke, Ms. Lemon introduced this year’s Honor Council, which includes a select group of Upper School students who model and support their classmates in Harpeth Hall’s honorable actions: tell the truth, respect our peers, and act in an inclusive manner.

“Of all of the lessons you will learn here at Harpeth Hall,” Director of the Middle School Judi O’Brien said. “I believe the most important one is to value your good name and reputation as someone who is reliable and trustworthy.”

And the students agree. In reflecting on her time at Harpeth Hall before graduation, alumna Nora Wang ‘21 commented, “I love Harpeth Hall's honor system. The school's trusting environment has always been one of my favorite aspects of the community.”

At the end of the assembly, Adelaide Nelson, an 8th grade student and member of the Honor Education Committee, left the students with an important question that prompted discussions throughout classes today.

“Honor has many definitions,” Adelaide said. “It’s accountability and responsibility, It’s equity and inclusion, It’s taking adversity and

seeing it as a gift. It’s doing the hard thing because that is what is right. To me, honor is all of these things, but what is it to you?”

As a student of Harpeth Hall, I hereby pledge my full and hearty support to the Honor System. I pledge to be honest myself, and in order that the spirit and integrity of the Honor System may endure, I pledge that I will give no unauthorized assistance to other students. I will demonstrate my integrity in an honest and fair manner. In doing so, I fully commit to fostering an honest and respectful learning environment for my peers, my teachers, and myself.