At Grymes we believe that the development of a personal code of ethics and conduct is essential to one's education. Grymes operates in accordance with its Honor Code which states that students will not lie, cheat, or steal. Students also pledge to neither give nor receive help on tests and certain assignments. During the school year, members of the Student Leadership Council make presentations based on ethical questions. We find that the Honor Code presents a forum for teaching about ethics and conduct and helps our students on their way to a successful educational career.
Student Leadership Council
The Student Leadership Council (SLC) was reorganized in 2008. It is run by two co-presidents elected from the rising eighth grade class in the spring of their seventh grade year. The upper school students also elect the chairs of four committees: Honor, Social, Community Service and Spirit Committees. Each upper school class then elects four representatives, one designated for each committee. The SLC meets as a whole at lunchtime once a month. The co-presidents also preside over the committee meetings with the committee chairs during alternate weeks. They present their ideas to their faculty sponsors and to the head of school for approval. The goal of the SLC is to teach leadership skills in an environment that builds confidence through small successes. Leading meetings, generating and following through on ideas, keeping meeting minutes, making announcements in assemblies, maintaining the SLC bulletin board and other activities give students a sense of ownership for building and maintaining a positive atmosphere in the school.
Once a week, the entire school assembles in the gym. Assemblies are a time to connect and share, entertain and show off! Each week a different student is chosen to begin the program by leading the school in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer. Members of the sports teams report on games, reminders of special events are made, and birthdays are announced to wild applause. In February, assemblies are a time for poetry recitals on Declamation Day. Students work hard choosing and memorizing their poems, then on Declamation Day they dress up and recite it in front of the entire school. Other special assemblies include class plays, musical performances, a Christmas Pageant, eighth grade final speeches, sports awards ceremonies, and professional performances sponsored by the GPTA.
Grymes has made a commitment to community service over the years. It can be challenging to find things off campus appropriate for our younger students, but we want them to know that members of our community sometimes need extra support and attention. Community service, of course, starts right at the school. The children have been involved in campus clean-ups and planting flowers to make our school environment more beautiful. The junior-kindergartens love to go out and hike the campus cleaning up the “Yellow Brick Road,” our cross-country track. The kindergarten has a special place in their hearts for pets, learning about their needs, visiting the animal shelter, and running a school-wide drive to donate food, blankets, and toys for pets that don’t have a home. The first grade has read to help children around the country. Participating in Scholastic Cares, the children read 100 books to earn free books for the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. For many years the second and third grades have received as much as they’ve given by participating in the Adopted Grandparents program at Orange County Nursing Home. The fourth grade endeavors to take care of a town garden plot that we have adopted to help beautify Orange. The fifth grade has run a successful shoe donation program with local podiatrists. A community service elective has been offered in the upper school and the efforts of individuals are recognized at graduation with the Eighth Grade Community Service Award.
Many of our community service projects are done by the entire school. Each Christmas the Student Leadership Committee organizes a Christmas Giving Tree. Each student picks an ornament off the tree and buys a gift for one of the families we sponsor at this time of the year. The students deliver these presents to families in our community. The school also regularly supports the Orange Food Pantry with canned goods drives and special dress-down days for payment of a can or two of food. For the last couple of years we have also had our students work with their partners to make Valentines to send to the troops in Iraq. Quite frequently you can find a jar in the front hall to collect coins for causes our students deem important.
In reaching out to our community even the youngest children get a sense that they can make a difference. We think it’s important for our students to have an awareness of life outside their own and to realize their responsibility to help others who are in need. From this experience we learn and grow as we strengthen in character, responsibility and empathy.
Dress Down Days
On the first Friday of every month, students are encouraged to dress comfortably. Jeans are permitted, and everyone seems to enjoy the opportunity for a little self-expression. Children bring a canned good to donate to the local food bank as "payment" for the temporary change in the dress code.
The Social Committee of the Student Leadership Council organizes dances for the seventh and eighth grade throughout the year. Children bring a canned good to donate to the local foodbank as “payment” for this special privilege. Students get an opportunity to raise funds, plan and enjoy a social event with classmates. Dances are usually on Friday nights, Valentine's Day and at the end of the school year.