At the All-School Assembly to officially begin the 2017-2018 school year, our senior student leaders were asked to choose one of The Baldwin School’s five core values – Honesty, Compassion, Responsibility, Respect and Learning – and explain what that value means to them.
At Baldwin, our community centers around five core values, which determine how we carry ourselves and how we interact with our fellow community members. Of the five, Learning often gets lost in the shuffle. While it can sometimes be a challenge to adhere to each of the core values, learning seems to be the easiest. In fact, it would require a much stronger effort NOT to learn anything while at Baldwin, than it would to take to learn. After all, every day we go to an assortment of classes where our teachers provide of us with the skills and information that we need to succeed.
But is it possible that we have overlooked the true message behind this simplistic core value? Are there more ways to learn than attending a class, and are there more people we can learn from than our teachers?
After asking myself these questions, I began to realize how many learning opportunities are offered outside of the classroom here at Baldwin. From our friends, we learn about different cultures, custom, and traditions. From coaches, we learn about teamwork, commitment, and grit. And if we step outside of our comfort zones and commit to new challenges, we can learn a great deal from ourselves as well. Whether on the field or on the court, in the dining hall, or on center stage, we must ask ourselves what we can learn from new experiences, and we must challenge ourselves to seek out these opportunities. We have all been afforded an amazing opportunity by receiving an education from Baldwin. Let’s make sure that for the 2017-2018 school year, we take advantage of this opportunity.
Respect – Natalia Schafer ’18, Senior Class President
Everyone says you have to give respect to get respect, but what does that mean? To me it means not only treating others the way you want to be treated, but acknowledging the differences between you and someone else and loving them regardless. I apologize in advance, but I’m about to bring some math into this. 6+3=9. That’s a fact I think we can all agree on. But, so does 5+4, 8+1, 2+7. The way you do things is not always the only way to do them. Just because 6+3=9, does that make 5+4 any less valid? Not at all.
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what someone else has to say. Not only listening, but understanding their perspective. Understanding where they are coming from and why they believe what they believe. We are privileged enough to go to a school like Baldwin. A school that supports us, encourages us, and pushes us. From a young age we are taught to stand up for ourselves, for what we believe in. This means we all have opinions, strong opinions, and sometimes we don’t agree. Respect is acknowledging those differences, tolerating those disagreements, and still coming together and being kind to one another. I hope that as you walk through the halls and see the 5 core value signs, you think about respect and what it means to you.
Responsibility – Marissa McGarrey ’18, Head of AA
Responsibility is an extremely valuable and critical characteristic and helps in many aspects of our daily lives. Responsibility is defined as “the state or fact of being accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.” This shows that as students, we have the obligation to be liable for our own actions. It is our duty to come to school each and every day with a positive attitude, eager to learn more and excited to better ourselves as students. Being responsible does not require doing all the big things, but it is rather the little and simple things that people notice most. Turning in your papers to Ms. Luttrell or even turning in your homework on time are little responsibilities that go a long way and don’t go unnoticed.
Being responsible and accountable for your actions is a way to gain trust from those who surround you, like your teachers, coaches, and even your fellow classmates. I like to think of responsibility as a cause and effect chain. If YOU set the precedent and are responsible, your classmates and teammates WILL follow your lead. This not only makes you a great leader, but it also shows that you are role model for others. Additionally, being a responsible individual not only allows people to trust and look up to, but it also creates more powerful and genuine relationships. Of course, being responsible is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes being responsible leaves you feeling uncomfortable, but in the end just remember that you are developing a skill and bettering yourself as a person and student. With this skill, an unlimited amount of opportunities will unravel and you will see how powerful being responsible can really be.
Compassion – Katie Mostek ’18, Head of Arts League
I thought the best way to define compassion was through an example. In the Baldwin community, compassion is very prevalent in my everyday life. Not only do I strive to be as compassionate as possible but I find the students, teachers, and staff harbor deep compassion in all of their actions. But one moment that has stuck with me occurred when I was in the seventh grade. I had just had the worst day of my life. I had two tests, a long swim practice, and was desperately trying to memorize lines for a play I was in at the time. I exited the locker room after swim team and somehow dropped all of my mortal possessions onto the floor of the athletic center. Now this incident is not all too important in the grand scheme of my life, but in that moment, it was all over. I just stood there, too exhausted to even comprehend the fact that I had to pick up my bags. In swooped my friend, Audrey Senior, who is still near and dear to my heart. She helped me pick up my things, but she also could somehow see how utterly bereft I was and paused to ask me about my day. We only talked for a couple minutes, but having someone actually take the time to listen to my venting turned my day around. Even though it did not seem like a huge grandiose act of kindness, I still remember it to this day.
This is what compassion is to me. It is not a huge commitment, nor is it an expression of blatant pity. It is the ability to recognize when others need help and to actually help them without expecting anything in return. At school and in life, I urge everyone to take time out of their day to not only acknowledge the feelings of others, but to take the time to assist and listen to your community as well. Even the smallest bit of compassion can go a long way.
Honesty – Kate Park ’18, Head of Service League
When you think about the importance of honesty, one of the first things you think of is probably telling the truth. I, personally, think about all the times I lied to my mom when I was younger about whether or not I ate the chocolate in the cupboard. I probably thought I was being very clever, but in hindsight, it was quite obvious. Lets just say if you’re trying to sneak chocolate, throw away the wrapper.
Of course telling the truth is a very important part of being honest, but telling the truth is only a small part of a much bigger picture. In order to be truly honest, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to know yourself. Know what you like, what you don’t, your strengths and weaknesses, what you value and what makes you get out of bed in the morning, and then, you have to be honest with those feelings, because you can only be honest with others if you’re first honest with yourself.
So I challenge everyone here today, and that includes myself, as you go through this year, lets all try to be honest with ourselves. Every one of us has our own perspectives and our own unique thoughts and feelings and we have to be understand all these things in both ourselves and others, because sometimes, the biggest step towards becoming your best self, is much, much closer to home than you might think.