Students reflect on honesty, respect, accountability in annual Honor Week


Sally Zhu

Eileen Ma (12) writes on Honor Council representative Gwen Yang’s (12) box on Sept. 27. The council organized activities and goals for each day last week to remind students of the four tenets of the upper school.

by Jonathan Xue and Vika Gautham

Honor week started last Tuesday, with members of the upper school Honor Council hosting a variety of events throughout the week that encapsulate the community’s core values: honesty, respect and accountability.

Activities included viewing ideas about honor on a bulletin board in Manzanita Hall and lunch-time interactions where students could write down answers to a variety of prompts. For Tuesday’s tenet of honesty, students answered questions like “How do you help someone be honest?” and “What’s the hardest truth you faced in the last year?” Through this activity, the Honor Council sparked discussion about honesty’s role at school.

On Wednesday, upper school English teacher Jennifer Siraganian, previously named Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, recited a poem that she wrote about honor during the school meeting.

“Honor’s echo resonates faintly in the chest, in the chest, as if to call out: Hear me out,” Siraganian said during the school meeting. “Hear me out. You don’t believe me? Look at your hands. Instead of fingers, instead of nails, you have honor honed into the sharpness of an Eagle’s talon.”

Harriss Miller (10) and Nelson Gou (10) write on Marcus Blenneman’s (10) box. Students answered prompts about honesty on post-its and pasted them on the boxes to share with the community. (Vika Gautham)

For respect and accountability, the respective tenets for Thursday and Friday, Honor Council had members of the community interact with each other and the campus. On Thursday, students found similarities with people from other grades. They could then submit selfies of themselves to a Google form for the chance of winning a gift card. On Friday, advisories signed their Honor Code placards and discussed the significance of the Honor Code. Students also walked through the campus, appreciating the environment and observing how they can be more accountable for our surroundings.

“Honor goes beyond just not cheating on a test,” Honor Council representative Naiya Daswani (10) said. “It really refers back to our three tenets that we have here at Harker, and being able to recognize when you are crossing a boundary and how to pull yourself back into an environment where you are respecting those tenets is really the essence of honor.”

Honor Week aims to teach students and faculty about what it means to be honorable, as well as break down the subject so others can digest it in their own way. Honor allows for a community where students not only respect their peers and other teachers, but also themselves and the environment.

“I hope that students understand that their success, that honor is part of our mission,” faculty chair of Honor Council and upper school math teacher Anthony Silk said. “So when we tell the students and we tell the world that we are trying to educate students to take their part in society, that we’re going to do so under this auspice, under this umbrella of honor, so that when we go out into the world, we are all doing the best that we can do.”