The Journey to Integrity

  • Head's Note
Tobin Bechtel

At the Head’s Reception for seniors and their parents yesterday, we had the chance to celebrate the shared journey through Sage Ridge. While graduation is an individual achievement, it does not happen without the commitment of parents, teachers, and peers who support achievement. In the United States, we have the tendency to champion the individual, and individuality is indeed important as long as we recognize that we rarely do something wholly on our own. It is truly difficult to be an island or work in a vacuum. Thus the celebration last night focused on thinking about all those who help along the way, literally those who have made you and will be part of you your entire life. Maybe it is not a coincidence that graduation occurs between Mother's and Father's days.

The teachers who made this possible were also present last night. They instilled the imperatives of our Pillars in students and work in partnership to help them become the most successful version of themselves. My hope is that every senior has integrated the Pillars into their core and that this core of character is at the center of what makes them whole. Our Pillars should serve as a natural inner voice guiding us to do what is right.

Our seniors definitely graduate from Sage Ridge with a deep sense of integrity. Warren Bennis described integrity as being fundamental to leadership in the development of self-knowledge, candor and maturity:

“Know thyself (flaws and assets); candor based in honesty of thought and action, steadfast devotion to principle with fundamental soundness and wholeness; maturity through incorporating learning through following — dedicated, observant, capable of working with (and learning from) others … [the] result is sharing this with others. Integrity is the basis of trust — a product rather than an ingredient and must be earned.” (On Becoming a Leader)

I would add that integrity makes us whole; our whole incorporates our individual and collective experiences which make up our identity. We are fortunate to be part of a community that serves as models, as support, and as instigators for integrity in its finest form. I hope all our students will take time in the next few weeks to give gratitude to those who have helped them develop their integrity.

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