This week middle and upper school students signed the School’s Honor Code. Next month, student elections will be held for a vacant seat on the Upper School’s Honor Council.
Signing the Honor Code is considered one of the most important acts taken at The O’Neal School. As time has progressed, its emphasis has become stronger. In recent years, students are asked to dress up for the Honor Code Signing Ceremony. The act itself has varied, nevertheless, an official paper is signed by every student and faculty member for each of the middle and upper school divisions. There has been a book, individual slips of paper signed and placed into a basket, and often, the pledge is recited. Presently, a large paper is signed and then framed and posted in the division for all to see. The act of individually coming before one’s peers to sign or submit a signature shows adherence to the Honor Code and stresses the importance of the commitment.
In accordance with the Honor Code, there are no locks on students’ lockers. Test-taking is a matter of trust. Some teachers, ask that the phrase – “no help given, none received” be written on the test or assignment before submission.
We remember Spanish and drama teacher Michael Norman – this month marks one year since his passing. He once held the position as Honor Council Advisor. He explained it best in a 2015 speech during the Upper School Honor Code Signing Ceremony — “The O’Neal experience is based on mutual respect and personal integrity. All members of the community are expected to honor the rights of others, to conduct themselves in a moral and decent manner, and to see this responsibility as an integral part of their lives as citizens of the community and of the world. The foundation of this belief is the Honor Code that sets the ethical standard underlying every dimension of school life.”
The Honor Council is student-administered and guided by an advisor. It is an upper school organization that seeks to uphold the School’s mission statement and philosophies by promoting these characteristics while also dealing with those activities that are contrary to the School’s Honor Code.
Also in Mr. Norman’s 2015 speech, he lends a bit of advice to the student body – “Always take time to listen to that still, quiet voice within each of us. The voice that knows what is honorable and what is not. The voice that guides us on a daily basis and helps us to discern with clarity each action that we take.”
Mr. Norman concluded the ceremony by asking for everyone to reflect on the words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet:
“This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Falcons Fly to 50
O’Neal is excited to share its history with readers as it quickly nears its 50th year in educating and cultivating youth in becoming successful, effective contributors to communities large and small. The official celebration starts school year 2021/2022. This weekly blog will focus on different aspects of the School as it grew through the years. With every entry, there is just as much more information to gather than what is already written. Readers who have been a part of the O’Neal community are encouraged to reach out and share their O’Neal memories. It is with great hope that the efforts of many in contributing information and photography can be published into a book for reflection and reference as the School continues to prosper for the next 50 years.
Please send your memoirs and photos to:
The O’Neal School
c/o Kathy Taylor, Director of Communications
P.O. Box 290
Southern Pines, NC 28388