- The 4 Pillars
When students attend a school where kindness rules, being honest can present its own set of challenges. “I think honesty is the hardest pillar to follow,” said Melina Memtsoudis ’26, a fourth grader interviewed for a new video series that explores The Four Pillars of RCDS, Kind, Honest, Responsible and Respectful. “Sometimes you want to tell a friend the truth, but you think [the truth] might hurt their feelings. You do want to be honest, so you have to do it carefully.”
“Being honest is always hard. Especially if you have to tell someone the truth and you think it might make someone upset,” agreed Melina’s older brother, seventh grader Nikolas ’23. “You can build the courage to be honest because you know one way or another, it’ll always help the other person or you, yourself. It just helps with being a better person to others.”
And there are instances when owning up to your own mistakes or shortcomings is difficult. “As much as you may want to get out of a tight situation, you really have to be honest and take personal accountability,” said eighth grader Susanna Tortolini ’22.
Watch the video to see what else RCDS students have to say about honesty and The Four Pillars.
“I think honesty is just a general expectation at RCDS,” said Head of School Carson T. Smith. He explained why “frank and straightforward conversations,” are a big part of keeping the Gator community honest. “Understanding that we’re a community that is built on mutual trust is really part of everything we do. Without trust, I don’t think that a community can exist. Honesty is at the core of any social institution.”
Director of Student Services and Head of the Jayne S. Carmody School Natalie Diehl pointed out that while the Honest pillar upholds academic integrity and relationships between faculty and students, it is also internalized on a very personal level. “A big part of honesty at RCDS means being honest with yourself,” she explained. This can be especially critical during the middle school years. “In our Upper School (Grades 5-8), students have opportunities to be honest about the things they need to do. Is this the hardest I’ve worked? Could I do more? Did I really give my best effort in that situation?” Ms. Diehl stated. “When students are in a school like RCDS where they can be honest with themselves about who they are, it becomes a stepping stone to where they will go and who they will become.”