School Mottoes

Updated February 01, 2017 |
School Mottoes
Private school mottoes speak to the high-minded purposes for which most schools were founded.
 
 
Private school mottoes speak to the noble purposes for which most schools were founded. School mottoes typically are Latin phrases attributed to some of the great writers of antiquity. You will also find mottoes which are taken from scripture.  What is special about a school motto is that it captures the essence of the school in a brief phrase of just a few words. Here are some school mottoes and a bit about the schools to which they belong.
 
Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg, Florida
Admiral Farragut Academy's motto is Scientia Omnia Vincit which means “Knowledge Conquers All”. The Academy was originally founded in Toms River, New Jersey in 1933. It moved its campus to Florida in 1945. The school is coeducational and offers grades PK-12.
 
 
Choate School, Wallingford, Connecticut
Fidelitas et Integritas or "fidelity and integrity" is the original motto of Choate School which was founded by Mary Atwater Choate in 1896 as a school for boys.
 
Fenn School, Concord, Massachusetts
Fenn School, which was established in 1929, is one of several private schools which uses its motto as a powerful tool to guide its students. "At the heart of the Fenn philosophy is our motto, Sua Sponte. When boys begin to understand what it means, not just as a motto, but as a way of life, they are well on the way to embodying the Fenn character." The school's motto translates as "On one's own responsibility."
 
Foxcroft School, Middleburg, Virginia
Foxcroft's motto mens sana in corpore sano comes from Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal. It literally translates as "A healthy mind in a healthy body." It refers to one of the tenets of most private schools, which posits that students must exercise physically in order to succeed academically. Athletic activities are a major component in most private schools' offerings. Typically, schools set aside Wednesday afternoons  and Saturday mornings for sports. Every student participates as sports are not optional.
 

The Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania
"Whatsoever things are true” comes from St. Paul's Letter to the Church at Philippi. A noble motto befitting a school which was founded in 1851 as The Family Boarding School for Boys and Young Men.
 
Horace Mann School, New York, New York
Horace Mann's motto is the Latin verse Magna est veritas et prævalet which comes from the Book of Ezra. It translates as "Great is the truth and it prevails." Columbia University Teachers College founded Horace Mann School as a laboratory school for its education students. The school was named in honor of Horace Mann (1796–1859) who was an education reformer and legislator from Massachusetts.
 
Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut
Maria Bissell Hotchkiss established the school which bears her name in 1891. The school's motto is taken from Virgil's Aeneid, itself a story about a very long journey. Moniti Meliora Sequamur. The school renders the English translation as “After instruction, let us move on to pursue higher things.” Indeed Hotchkiss has done just that as it has progressed from a boarding school for boys nestled in splendid isolation in the foothills of the Berkshires to being the exemplar of global connectivity and environmental sensitivity it has become in the 21st century.

Kent School, Kent, Connecticut
Kent's motto reflects the philosophy of the school's founder. Father Sill was an Episcopal monk who believed that young men could be educated with a view to serving others. Temperantia, Fiducia, Constantia, loosely translated as "Simplicity of Life, Directness of Purpose and Self-Reliance," reflects those beliefs which hold true at Kent to this day.
 
Lick-Wilmerding High School, San Francisco, California
Lick-Wilmerding High School has an English motto, "Head, Heart, Hands" which is a fine match with its mission, namely, "A private school with a public purpose, LWHS is founded upon a legacy of serving, and being enriched by, students from all walks of life. The school furthers this purpose by producing graduates with the capacity, confidence, compassion and commitment to change the world." The school was founded in 1895.
 
Maderia School, McLean, Virginia
One of the ancient Roman emperors, Augustus Caesar is the source of Madeira's motto: Festina lente or “Make haste slowly”. It was adopted in 1907 the same year the school held its first commencement.
 
Miss Porter's School, Farmington, Connecticut
Sarah Porter (1813-1900) was a leading education reformer of her day believing as she did in the education of women. Her school's motto Puellae venerunt. Abierunt mulieres attests to that altruistic purpose. "They have come as young girls. They will leave as young women."
 
Northfield Mount Herman School, Mount Hermon, Massachusetts
Northfield Mount Hermon's Latin motto Discere et Vivere  translates as "To Learn and To Live". The school was originally established as two distinct schools, Northfield School for Girls and Mount Hermon School for Boys. The two schools merged in 1972.
 
 
Phillips' Academy Andover, Andover, Massachusetts
Andover's seal and motto were originally engraved by Paul Revere. Non sibi and Finis andorigine pendet are the two Latin phrases which come ancient Latin writers Lucan and Marcus Manlius. Non sibi translates as "Not for self" while Finis origine pendet means "The end is the beginning".Solid foundations determine how your life turns out and the idea of service to the wider world are the themes in Andover's historic motto.

Phillips' Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire
Being the other school started by the Phillips Family Exeter shares Non sibi and Finis origine pendet with its sister school, Andover. There are several other mottos to be found at this famous old boarding school. The two, which for me encapsulate the way Exeter has moved with the times, are: Huc venite pueri ut viri sitis and Hic quaerite pueri puellaeque virtutem et scientam. These Latin phrases enscribed on the Academy Building show how Exeter started and how it evolved. The first phrase translates as "Come here boys, so that you can become men" and the second: "Boys and girls, find knowledge and goodness here." Exeter began as an all boys school in 1781. It went co-ed in 1970. These are noble thoughts beautifully expressed.
 
Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, New York
Poly Prep was founded in 1854 as The Polytechnic Institute. Originally a boys school Poly Prep became coeducational in 1977. The school's Latin motto Virtus victrix fortunae translates as "Virtue is the victor over fate."
 
 
"Let us learn those things on earth the knowledge of which continues in Heaven." These words of St. Jerome in St. Paul's School motto underscore the importance of education with a spiritual emphasis. The school was founded in 1856 and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church.
 
Washington School, Greenville, Mississippi
Washington School is the youngest school on this list. It was established in 1969 as a PK-12 school. Its Latin motto Exitus Acta Probat translates as "Action produces results."

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This section provides a comprehensive look at the history of boarding schools in the US. We’ll cover the evolution of private schools, as learn the importance of school mottoes and explore the history of 15 schools and their founders.