By Tanner Smith
I will not lie, I will not cheat, I will not steal.
These three short phrases compose the Honor Code of North Cross School. They are 12 simple words loaded with huge meaning. There was a breach in the code during the ninth grade physics exam. While taking the exam, which was on the iPad, nine students accessed notes or websites to help them on the test. While the intention for them was to boost their grade, their grades instead went in the opposite direction once their actions were discovered. Not only did they each receive a zero for their exams, they also incurred the judgment of 11 of their peers on the Honor Council. Jennifer Landry, Honor Council chair, thinks that some students have a limited understanding of the code, especially as it applies to iPads.
“I think there is a problem with how students don’t understand how it can be different when they are taking a test on the iPad,” she said. “I asked a student if they thought it was okay if they were taking a test on paper to then go and look up the stuff on the iPad or on a computer, they looked at me like I was crazy. I think they see an iPad in front of them and assume they have access to the Internet.”
Daniel Habib (’18) thinks that while the students were wrong to cheat, the physics test was set up to fail.
“I think that there were more opportunities for someone to cheat than should have been allowed,” he said.
Headmaster Dr. Christian J. Proctor is a huge proponent of trusting students to follow the Honor Code. In fact, he thinks that the school should get to the point where students don’t need any supervision for exams.
“We should be able to send the exams home with students,” he said “and have them take the exams on their own time like Washington & Lee students do for their exams.”
Meghan McDonnell (’15), who is a member of the Honor Council, has internal motivation to be honorable along with the school’s Honor Code.
“I want to get into college and I want to do that myself,” she said. “I don’t want any other outside factors; it has to be me.”
The school hopes to groom other students with this mentality, which is the purpose of the Honor Council. Landry tries to let the students dominate the conversations.
“In my role, I try to speak as little as possible,” she said. “I am really only there to take notes and to run the meeting. The faculty here does meet after school if there has been an honor offense, but they are not allowed to change the decision of the Honor Council in determining whether an honor offense has occurred.”
While the students determine whether an honor offense has occurred, Proctor has the final say on punishment. Proctor takes a number of factors into consideration when making a decision, but his core belief is very simple.
“If you cheat, you cheat,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you are copying a homework assignment or cheating on a major exam. The punishment can be different, but to me I am not punishing one more lightly than the other, I am punishing the situation differently.
“They are both still cheating, but I will vary the punishment both by situation, age and if you had done it before. If you had done it once before and now you are a second time loser it is a very serious punishment at that point because you didn’t learn the first time. In life sometimes you make a mistake but once you start making several mistakes then the punishment can get bad in a hurry.”
McDonnell agrees that a variety of factors need to be weighed, but thinks that age should not be a determining factor.
“I think there are scales of different offenses that need to be treated differently,” she said. “Everyone makes mistakes, but I think anyone can turn away from temptation no matter how old they are.”
By Meagan Pruitt
Willis Hall has been providing toys to Salvation Army's Angel Tree program for several years, but some students have been giving to this program for as long as they can remember.
"I'll be participating because I think it's great to give to the children in the program who may have been forgotten," said Annie Elwell ('15), who used to participate in the program with her family when she was younger. "I think I'll get some sort of princess toy for a little girl. Maybe something from Frozen since that seems to be the big thing with little kids."
Madison Bloomfield ('15) likewise has been a part of the Angel Tree program since a child, and provides a family with a present every year.
This year there are 2,502 children on the angel trees, an increase of 400 since last year. While the cause of the sudden spike in numbers is unknown, the Salvation Army intends on providing every child with a minimum of two presents and even some stocking stuffers for Christmas.
While people often provide something fun for the angels, clothing is necessary for the children, especially winter-ware. This includes items such as hats, coats and gloves.
"This program allows our students to make an immediate impact in our community," said Alex Hash, community outreach coordinator, who hopes to have three full boxes of presents to give the Roanoke Corps by winter break.
With Christmas just around the corner, the Salvation Army has started collecting presents through the angel tree, including the Forgotten Angels.
Every year, there are up to 500 angels that go without toys. When a family snatches an angel tag off of one of the Salvation Army trees found at Tanglewood Mall, Valley View Mall or the Stocked Market, they sometimes forget to buy a present for that child. Other times, angels are never adopted from the tree. In either scenario, this child becomes forgotten, and is therefore labeled as a forgotten angel. This year, 300 children have qualified as such.
Last year, each advisory bought a substantial number of presents for individual angels. With the provisions accumulated by each advisory, 12 angels were visited by Santa Claus. This year, Suzzanne Gandy, Salvation Army's Roanoke Corps.' volunteer coordinator, spoke to the high school about providing presents for those who are forgotten at the holidays.
"These children are your neighbors," said Corps. Officer, Captain Terrie Near-McKinley of the Salvation Army. "They are members of our community who need our help, and as High Schoolers it's important to remember that you are nearly adults, who will be responsible for your own lives very soon. Nothing keeps life in perspective as well as seeing that there are needs beyond your own and doing something about it."
The Salvation Army has reached out to all seven public and private high schools in the Roanoke Valley, including North Cross.
"I think that many of our students here are very fortunate to come from families that are able to provide them with everything they need, oftentimes everything they want," Upper School Director Mark Thompson said. "Being able to recognize that maybe not everyone is as fortunate and be able to give back to them is an important lesson. And you never know what sort of difference you can make in a child's life by providing them perhaps a small gift."
Not only does the Salvation Army provide an opportunity for others to donate a gift to someone in need at Christmas through the angel tree, but also the bell ringers stationed at the entrances to grocery stores and malls. This icon is often associated with the image of the organization. Volunteers stand by door exits, ringing the bells and wait for shoppers to offer any extra change they have on them.
"Sometimes I donate money," Bloomfield said. "I should [do it] more often than I do."
Headmaster visits China for partnership
By Philip Schueler
As many students probably noticed at the Academic Awards, Headmaster Dr. Christian J. Proctor appeared slightly drained while handing out First and Second Honor Roll Certificates. This is understandable, as Proctor had just stepped off a plane from Shanghai, China, which is 13 hours ahead of Roanoke.
Proctor travelled to China to further extend the burgeoning relationship between North Cross and friendly communities in China. Proctor said he met with many Chinese teachers and educators who are extremely interested in developing partnerships with North Cross.
"I visited seven different schools in eight days and met with the people who ran those schools," Proctor said. "We were talking about partnerships between schools over there, and they're very interested in having our students come visit in the summertime."
While Proctor visited many different schools in China, he said that his goal was to find schools that would be comfortable for American students who wished to stay or study in the country.
"We're trying to develop a partnership with the right school over there, and the right school would be one in the right location; one that would be comfortable for Americans to be a part of," Proctor said. "One of the schools we are looking at is in a city called Ningbo, which is about two hours outside of Shanghai. Another was in a city called Wuxi. I thought these were the two best locations."
Proctor said that he hoped that a group of North Cross students would be able to have the opportunity to travel to a school in China as soon as this summer, but it may take longer for such an opportunity to arise.
Upper School Director Mark Thompson, who travelled to China in 2012, highlighted the importance and possibilities of the connections and partnerships that are developing between North Cross and schools in China.
"One of the possibilities is that if we open up a program or a school or have a partnership with a particular school in China is that it would be possible for students to go to China for a trimester, or a year or even just the summer, and if we have a connection with a school there, we can develop an established relationship," Thompson said. "In short, we are exploring our options."
Although North Cross's relationships between schools in China are still in their nascent and exploratory stages, both Thompson and Proctor recognize the value and potential of these partnerships once they begin to be developed even further.
"I think it could provide some great opportunities for some of our students and some of our teachers to go to China whether over the summer, or part of a year or even a whole year," Thompson said. "China is reemerging as a global power and as such its important to have good relations and a good understanding of each other."
Proctor also had similar feelings.
"I think the biggest thing the trip did was me going over there, meeting all the folks and thanking them for all that they've done for us," Proctor said, "and having a greater awareness for how different it is for a Chinese student to come to Roanoke after having left the big city.”