I entered an all-girls’ boarding school my sophomore year of high school.
My initial requirements to agree to attend were that it be co-ed without uniforms and yet I fell in love at-first-sight with an all-girls boarding school that required uniforms.
It changed my life.
Aside from my second grade year, I had attended private school throughout elementary and middle-school.
And then I entered my freshman year in public school.
Easy to predict, girl from small school gets swallowed by the wrong crowd- my grades, self-worth and confidence bottomed out. I went from an honors student to failing ninth grade English- the subject that would later become my college major and career.
I followed the popular crowd and resorted to stealing as a method of proving my bravery, a habit that eventually caught up with me at a local 7-11 convenience store. I used my privilege to avoid harsh punishments until I found haven at St. Timothy’s School.
The first day, I entered the “school store”, where you purchased your school supplies on the honor system- simply writing in a notebook on the cashier’s counter what you had taken.
As a thief, the system was abhorrent to me- how could they be so naive? But as I observed all that I could take without payment, I also envisioned a life I could lead with honesty.
I walked out of the store and started up the stairs, accidentally holding the pen I had used to write down my supplies. I stopped and wondered: it was an innocent enough mistake. Anyone could take a pen by accident. But then I realized why I was truly there- to change my life.
So I turned around and handed the pen to the “store lady” named “Dee” who looked me directly in the eyes and responded without hesitation, as if it had always been intended to be said to me, “Thank you, that is so honest of you.”
I was never the same.
That compliment of honorability would become the path I chose from thereon.
Verite Sans Peur.
Our school’s motto.
Truth Without Fear.
A motto I continue to live by in all aspects of my life, even when it is inconvenient.
So simple, and yet, so powerful.
If only we could all live our truths without fear.
Verite Sans Peur.