At a ancestors acquisition recently, we had a bit of a beam about the altered aspirational ethics anchored in the accent of high-school mottos.
Illustration: Simon Letch
“Let Your Light Shine”, my year 7 son proclaimed with some pride. That’s a acceptable one, we agreed about his co-ed school’s motto. My daughter, a year 8 apprentice at an all-girls school, winced as she revealed, “That I May Serve”. It turns out that her earlier cousin, who went to a altered girls-only school, had the aforementioned motto. The boys accessory the “brother” academy of my daughter’s charge feel bulletproof by comparison, accustomed they had “Hand on the Torch of Life”.
As her aunt directed the girls to practise their service-centric adage and accomplish us all a cup of tea, we connected the ad-lib survey. My sisters and I had abounding a country Catholic boarding academy and could instantly arouse the Latin adaptation of “Virtue is the Way of Life”. My brother-in-law, meanwhile, was encouraged to “Fight the Acceptable Fight” at a boys’ academy in Wollongong. (I should accept gone to that school.)
My brothers, who abounding a boys-only boarding school, were told to “Strive for Better Things” (particularly in sport). My American-Jewish husband, who went to a Christian academy in Atlanta, Georgia, couldn’t bethink his academy motto. But he was assertive it wasn’t in Latin, like ours. A angled point came with a appropriate alarm from a adolescence friend: “Oh, f…ed if I can remember, but I’m abiding it had article to do with actuality a virgin,” she quipped.
I was intrigued, and more uncomfortable, by an arising pattern. If mottos are a anatomy of academy branding and about aggregate ethics for activity above education, it seemed to me that abounding girls were actuality attuned to ethics and aspirations of service, advantage and struggle. Boys, meanwhile, were actuality encouraged to action acceptable fights and beat – themselves and the world.
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