I would like to welcome of you for for this first days assembly. Traditionally at the first assembly of the year, the Headmaster offers “words to live by” or something like that. I’d like to continue that tradition, but alter it somewhat in the interests of clarity and efficiency. I’m going to suggest that this year – and I hope for years to come – we strive to observe one word. That word is honesty.
But it’s not just honesty in the literal sense. I’m asking each one of you to be honest with yourselves on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis. And that decision has tremendous ramifications.
You see, I’m convinced that we all know what’s right. It feels right when we do it and when we say it. If we are sincerely honest with ourselves, we will heed that inner voice – that inner black box that records the truth – and do and say the right thing. In all honesty, I believe that we want the best for ourselves and for others.
If you value honesty, and honour it, plagiarism, that ever present temptation to use another’s thoughts and works, will disappear. It isn’t honest to steal another’s thoughts and hard work. It isn’t honest to them or to you – or to your teachers who are assessing your work.
If we value honesty, and honour it, theft will not occur in our school. If we’re honest with each other and ourselves we will quickly realize that none of us in this school really needs anything – other than self respect and the respect of others. To steal from others erodes our trust in one another, and honestly, there’s not much more important than that. If it’s not yours, leave it where it is. You don’t really need it.
That’s my word for you this year. Honesty. It doesn’t get much simpler – and yet more ethically complex than that.
I wish you a great year as you strive for personal honesty. You and your school will be better for the struggle.