The Centipede

CA Must Introduce Core Values at Orientation

Samantha Davidson, Staff Writer

In the Concord Academy handbook and mission statement, an ethos of  “common trust” is outlined. This is a principle that many feel has been violated this year, and needs to be addressed. Although the meaning behind common trust can mean you are able to leave your jacket and bag around campus, it is much more than that. Common trust holds students to higher standards, even in situations with things as simple as trusting your fellow students will not take your belongings (whether that belonging be expensive or as small as food).

Common trust also extends, however, to how we interact with each other, support classmates when they take risks, and uphold this community’s values. Lately, an alarming number of CA FYI emails have been sent from teachers about violations of this trust. It seems that this year has also spiked an issue of vandalism. Whether it was a punctured photo board, some graffiti in CA labs or a shattered music room window, there have been many instances when students have not lived up to the concept of common trust.

As we are faced with these breeched in common trust, it feels important to remember that common trust is not something we can passively take for granted. The CA community’s recent realization that common trust is something that we must continuously work to uphold is reflected in the plans for this August’s New Student Orientation.

Orientation is usually comprised of traditions such as the square dance, student-run skits, the Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC) night, and various group activities. Although the annual two-day event will continue to be full of fun and games, there will also be conversations about deeper community issues held this year. This Orientation will not only be focused around friendly and fun activities, but also helping the new students become aware of the values we hold dear in this community.

During Orientation last year a few skits displayed the message of common trust to new students with a light and airy attitude. As an Orientation Leader (OL) last year, I remember skits that acted out situations where common trust was tested. Examples include blue slipping to go off extended campus or returning lost items to their rightful owner. There were also focused conversations within each group about the unwritten rules of common trust.

This year, the OL team will make videos prior to the actual day of orientation to show the new students how these values function in daily life. There will also be more opportunities for students to learn, question, and explore CA’s other core beliefs.

The summer homework for last year’s orientation leaders was to write about a positive and negative experience each OL remembered from their own Orientation. The intention of that writing exercise was to make the leaders think about how they could improve the upcoming Orientation in a vague and broad sense. This year, the assignment is for each student to write about what the phrase “common trust is a lie” means to them.

Training for this year’s orientation will include conversations about common trust, as well as how to effectively and successfully portray it to the new students. Hopefully, through engaging conversations that allow new students to step out of their comfort zones and focus on CA’s mission statement, common trust will start to heal, and new students will be able truly understand what makes our school community so special.

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