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The Driving Force Behind Strengthening Our Community: The Ins and Outs of the FCS Honor Council

By: Vicky Liu ‘20, School News and Features Writer

     In almost every room at FCS, there is a pure, white, exquisitely designed poster displaying our institution’s Honor Statement. These posters reflect important values of the Quaker tradition, such as Stewardship, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Simplicity. The content and design on all of these terrific posters were created by the Honor Council, a club which aims to improve the quality of life for all constituents of the community by raising awareness about how to morally and properly treat others and the environment. The club currently consists of eight members, two of whom, Peter Gullace ‘18 and Connor Liu ‘20, serve as presidents. The club is guided by a faculty advisor, Jim Rosengarten, who also serves as our History Department Chair.

     The Honor Council’s main goal is to improve the school’s Honor Statement. In order to achieve this, members brainstorm and spread positive ideas to fellow students. When asked about their club, the members summarize, “Our goal is to ask ourselves the queries we propagate and think about how we, and everyone, can act honorably as members of a Quaker school.” Jim elaborates, “We want people to live their lives as students in a way that helps them to live their lives better, in ways that the queries encourage us to. The queries act as a guide, something to have in our minds constantly so that it affects our decisions.” However, the club members emphasize that people have to be responsible for their eventual choices. While the Honor Statement can seek to inspire and heal, it can’t prevent all disrespectful behaviors on campus. The effectiveness of the statement depend on how seriously people embrace moral and ethical principles.

     An example of an issue which Honor Council is working to resolve is plagiarism. Plagiarism still occurs on campus, but according to the council, it is happening much less frequently this year than it was last year. The Honor Council wishes to utilize this issue as an opportunity to use the Honor Statement as a vehicle to eliminate plagiarism. One idea the council has to achieve this is to hold a Meeting for Business where students could discuss plagiarism separately by grades or in smaller groups. Honor Council members are also considering inviting a speaker to come to talk about the testimony of the year, the Peace Testimony.

      The Honor Council has maintained the same prestigious spirit and values since it was founded in 2011. Over the years, the group has achieved many praiseworthy improvements and achievements. For instance, since 2017, the council has made Mr. Klein’s room available each week for folks to bring up ideas and complaints they have about the school. The Honor Council takes this feedback to heart and factors it into their decision making.

Another highlight in the Honor Council’s “life” occurred during an assembly in January 2016. With support from Student Council, Honor Council leaders delivered a presentation about their mission. Following the presentation, all students gave valuable feedback to the Honor Council, which the Honor Council later discussed.

      In addition, back in 2011 and 2012, council members visited and phoned members of Honor Councils in different colleges and high schools in order to learn how they operate and to gain some tips. So far, Honor Council has kept the pose on our community and has helped reflect on what and how we are doing well, and how we can do better.

      For anyone who is interested in helping revise the Honor Statement, or, who wants to aide in creating community-related jokes (the club posts a hilarious weekly pun on its bulletin board on the third floor of the Main Building), joining Honor Council would be the right choice. Joining the club could lead to profound self-discovery, the forming of meaningful relationships, and many other wonderful things. Honor Council’s weekly meeting is on Tuesday in Jim’s room, Room 32 in the main building. Should you need more details or you have any questions, please email either one of the fabulous leaders, Peter Gullace ‘18 or Connor Liu’ 20.

At right, some members of the honor council pose for a photo. Front row: Members Ha-Eun Choi ‘21, Evan Sweitzer ‘20, and Anna Gullace ‘21 Second row: Presidents Connor Liu ‘20 and Peter Gullace ‘18 Back row: Faculty Advisor Jim Rosengarten

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