Honor at PG
The formal tradition of academic honor at Porter-Gaud School dates at least one hundred years and may constitute one of the oldest examples of a secondary-level, student-administered Honor Council in the United States. Its current iteration encompasses all three divisions of the school, and its foundation reposes upon the acronym WATCH and is embodied in the school prayer:
May our WORDS be full of truth and kindness, our ACTIONS gracious and honorable, our THOUGHTS unselfish and charitable, our CHARACTER noble and upright, and our HABITS virtuous, that our school family may grow in faith, honor, and knowledge, as we WATCH together in all things. Amen.
Honor Committee (1921)
As a community, we embrace the responsibility of being stewards of this credo. Each student translates the WATCH prayer to academics:
“As a student of Porter-Gaud, I pledge not to lie, cheat, or steal.”
Every syllabus underscores this commitment, and the foyer of the Upper School affirms this contract in the form of each student’s signed acknowledgement.
Though the signature board’s public pledge constitutes a culminating moment in the academic life of a Porter-Gaud student, a curriculum of honor begins with the arrival of our youngest Cyclones.
In the Upper School, empowering students to self-regulate questions of academic and personal honor continues a documented history that dates back at least to the beginning of the 20th century. The honor system is student-administered by a Council of ten students. One student is elected from each class each year, and, once elected, that individual serves for the remainder of his or her high school career. Service on the Honor Council supersedes all other co-curricular activities; members, therefore, exemplify admirable dedication as guardians of the tradition. Two faculty advisors provide guidance and logistical support, but the decision whether or not a report is brought to a hearing lies entirely with student purview. Cases may be dismissed, receive an ‘intervention’ (internal warning), or culminate in a formal hearing. A quorum of no less than seven members and one advisor is required. In the instance of a hearing, the Honor Council adjudicates guilt or innocence, and then the Chair conveys both verdict and recommended consequences to the Head and Assistant Head of Upper School, with whom the ultimate decision rests. Of equal importance, the Honor Council also provides support to all divisions through education and consultation, ensuring its role is as preventative as it can be punitive.