Thursday, 3 May 2012

School Mottos

What I love about challenges like the Snap Happy Britmums Photo Challenge is that you are prompted to think or do something you wouldn't normally be thinking or doing. Today, for example, to fit with the topic 'School Days' I dug out my high school year book.

My school year book

It was sobering. Firstly, I finally have to face the fact that I do indeed look a little wrinklier now, although thankfully my cheeks are less chubby than they were when I was 18.

I was very fortunate to go the school I did. It was small and in beautiful grounds and to succeed academically was encouraged as much among the pupils ourselves as the staff. 

Because there weren't too many of us, we all featured in the school year book: our art or a piece of writing, or a photo of us playing sport or in a play.

As I flipped through smiling at the pictures and thinking about where we all are now (many of us are still very much in touch - thank you, Facebook) our school anthem started playing in my head. '...and our motto, Free To Build.'

I love mottos. Ours wasn't in Latin which the pretentious side of me thinks is a pity - I quite like the loftiness and gravitas of a good bit of Latin.

And I do think a strong motto is an important part of most organisations - schools, clubs, teams, countries. Some are well known: Carpe Diem (Seize the day) - remember Dead Poets' Society, and Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth) are both used frequently. Then there are the more original phrases like the RAF's motto Per ardua ad astra (Through adversity to the stars) and Everton Football club's Nil satis nisi optimum (Only the best is good enough) which is really quite inspiring.

And then there are those who have taken it a little too far. Austria, for example, has set its sights rather high with Austriae est imperare orbi universo which I believe means 'It is Austria's destiny to rule the world'. An unlikely superpower but you never know...

Anybody else remember their school motto?

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