Freshmen Choose Honor Council Representatives

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Freshmen Choose Honor Council Representatives

Photo: csoonline.com

Photo: csoonline.com

Photo: csoonline.com

Photo: csoonline.com

Alex Broening, Staff Writer

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Unlike the other classes, freshmen don’t begin their year with class officers and representatives. Prudently, the freshman class is given time to settle into daily life at Maggie Walker before they can be engulfed in campaigns and elections. The last of those elections, to choose their Honor Council representatives, took place this Thursday and Friday, and the results will be announced early next week. This election is especially important, because the elected representatives will continue in their roles until the end of sophomore year.

This year, the three available seats on the Honor Council were hotly contested by a total of eight candidates: Alexis Bartee, Rohit Jain, Anandita Sharma, Kaitlyn Baker, Michael Kish, Mallory French, Alan Watts, and Matthew Klausner. Each candidate had to complete an application, get the required signatures, and write and give a speech about their hopes and goals for the Honor Council. After giving their speeches on Wednesday, the candidates could do little other than vote and wait for the results.

Described as mentally tough and well rounded, Alexis Bartee thinks she would be ideal for one of the spots on the Honor Council. “The goal of the Honor Code and the Honor Council isn’t just to punish people,” she says. “It’s also there to help students regain their feet after they make a bad decision.” She’s cautious, however, of making statements about long term plans. “If I’m elected, I’ll first have to learn how the system works. It’s different being brought into a group.” Only once she gains her feet would she begin to look for places for improvement, she says.

Alan Watts has some very specific ideas to improve the influence of the Honor Council. “Our community of honor is strong, but our weakness is that the Honor Code isn’t easily available. The Honor Code is seven pages long, and it’s hard to find.” Watts suggests adding the Honor Code to the Student Handbook reading and quiz at the beginning of each year. “It would help people better understand our community of honor and our responsibilities to each other,” he adds.

Mallory French, another candidate for Honor Council, stresses the importance of fairness, stating that fairness and equality should be the goals of the Council: “In such a high stress and high intensity environment, it’s not fair to students that have studied hard for there to be other students who cheat.” French adds that “Without the honor council and honor code, the school loses pride.”

Freshman voters also had ideas about what the Honor Council should be doing. Virginia Warren (’22) says “I want it to be clear that the small things like sharing homework are honor violations as well – not just sharing answers on an exam. It’s important to distinguish between collaborative work and graded work that should be done alone.” Ellie Maruca (’22) agrees that honor is extremely important at Maggie Walker. “Honor is really important at our school – it’s one of the main pillars of our philosophy.” Maruca adds that “Because we have such an academically rigorous program here, sometimes people are inclined to break the code, so we need a fair group who is able to mediate and decide consequences.”

However, both freshmen and upperclassmen don’t always have a good understanding of what the Honor Council does. This is partly due to the Honor Council’s reduced role in recent years. Following the 2016 lawsuit over confidentiality concerns and the schools handling of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Since then, the Honor Council has seen fewer cases. One Honor Council representative says that in the last three years, the Honor Council has only adjudicated two cases of infractions. Many teachers have begun to deal with honor infractions individually rather than reporting them to the administration or the Honor Council. This has seriously curtailed what Mr. Wilkes described in 2016 as the “student-administered, student-led honor system” that is one of the “most important pillars of our school.”

However, regardless of the Honor Council’s future role in the Maggie Walker community, the incoming freshmen representatives seem promising. Narmeen Rashid (’19), a senior on the Honor Council says: “This is really an opportunity for a rebirth of the system. My hope is that the incoming freshmen representatives will continue to try to revive the old method of working of working and return to seeing cases. The incoming group is a very motivated class and I’m glad to see that.”

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Alex Broening, Assistant International/Domestic News Editor

Alex Broening is a sophomore at Maggie Walker, and is excited to work as the Assistant International/Domestic News Editor for the Jabberwock. This is Alex’s...

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