Take it from RCDS students, school is much better when the learning community is guided by The Four Pillars. In a new video series that explores Kind, Honest, Responsible and Respectful, The Four Pillars and core values of the School, Gators get right to the point.
“The Four Pillars are important because they help me remember what to do when I’m in a certain situation,” said Westphal Finnegan ’29, who was interviewed for the series alongside his brother, Douglas ’29.
“There are a lot of situations that The Four Pillars can help you in,” agreed Melina Memtsoudis ’26, providing examples that underscore how RCDS students internalize the School’s core principles on a daily basis. “On the playground, it’s important to be kind, because you don’t want to exclude anyone,” she explained. “You just have to remember The Four Pillars and start doing them and they’ll help you become a better person.”
“I have worked in many other schools, I don’t think I’ve seen students embody The Four Pillars to the extent that RCDS students do,” said Natalie Diehl, Director of Student Services and Head of the Jayne S. Carmody School. “The Pillars are introduced to children in the Nursery program, and they are constantly emphasized and practiced all the way through eighth grade. It’s incredible to watch RCDS students interact with their teachers and interact with one another — even when no one is looking — they are always Kind, Honest, Responsible and Respectful to one another.”
“There is a clarity and understanding of The Four Pillars that make RCDS different from other schools,” explained Head of School Carson T. Smith. “This is what we believe in. This is what we stand for.” The Head of School also emphasized that the core values, “Really separate our students from others. They are not only good students, but they also know how to conduct themselves. They are good community members and leaders in and out of the classroom.”
Sophia Memtsoudis ’20, now a sophomore at Trinity Hall, said she still uses The Four Pillars to navigate high school. “They have definitely stuck with me, especially during COVID-19, which made school a very different year,” she stated. “Remembering to be kind to everyone was important because you don’t know what people are going through. If things don’t seem correct, just be honest in saying how you feel it can be changed in the most respectful way possible. The Four Pillars also prepared me to be responsible and ask my teachers at Trinity for extra help if I need it, and also to be respectful of their time.”
Eighth grader Susanna Tortolani ’22 was new to RCDS in 2019, and found her place quickly because of the climate and culture of the School. “The Four Pillars make RCDS a better place because it’s easier to make new friendships and just easier to learn. When you’re inside the classroom, kids are not loud. They’re respectful and it just makes it a quieter and easier space to learn in. As a general rule, The Four Pillars help you become a better person.”