Asst. Headmaster, Tom Royals, enlightens us with some Heights history and the meaning behind our beloved School Crest and motto.
In our times, symbols and logos of companies, products, and even schools are easily identifiable, but the significance of the symbols is not. Take for example the checkmark or “Swoosh” logo, which is instantly associated with Nike. Why the checkmark? That is the sign of a positive mark! How about the five interlocking colorful rings of blue, yellow, black, red and green on a field of white, which immediately brings the Olympic Games to mind. They represent the five continents of participants, with the Americas being treated as one, and the colors that are in the flags of the participants.
A nation’s or a state’s flag expresses its distinct identity, as does the heraldry of a school, all of which help to establish the name and define the character of the institution. Effective symbols become synonymous with the organizations they portray.
The school crest and blazoning, designed by former headmaster, Joseph W. McPherson, had its origins back to 1978, when The Heights first opened its doors on Maryland soil. The symbols are rich in the family history of George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, who secured the charter for a grant of land called Maryland, north of the Potomac River from King James I in 1632. Calvert’s noble vision of securing and maintaining his ‘terra mariae’ would suffer and struggle in succeeding decades, but he had ‘A great-hearted love for all that is good/For beauty, for truth, in noble manhood.’
A sonnet entitled “The Coat of Arms of The Heights”, written by Joe and included in this
post, provides a genuine insight into the way these very images and symbols of the School’s escutcheon evoke the responses of loyalty, truth, and vision of Heights men, and inform their identity as Christian gentlemen.
From the School’s coat of arms came the symbols and mottos for the four clans – the Red Cross – “service”, the Gold Cross – “love of God”, the Red Rose – “friendship”, and the White Lily – “pure love”. These symbols, are continual, visual reminders of the noble vision of manhood, and can be observed wherever one walks on campus, from the gym, to the main floor rotunda, to the chapel, or up the hill by the flags. Just as the red letter “H”, or the older “H” with two crossed swords underneath, on car windows evokes a schoolboy response of “Hey, that’s a Heights car!”, so do the images of the clans and the coat of arms – “Hey, that’s my clan – the best of the best!”
THE COAT OF ARMS OF THE HEIGHTS
A cross crusade on the dexter chief,
Gules and Gold counter-charged in style bottonee.
A Cavalier’s always ready to fight
To protect the weak, defend the right.
The sinister chief quartered gold and green
With Our Lady’s roses and lilies there.
A great-hearted love for all that is good
For beauty, for truth, in noble manhood.
A stone tower round on a field azur
The tower, of course, to The Heights, does refer;
A high place for seeing long distant views,
A stronghold for all those manly virtues.
And down below, the command “Crescite…”
The first word that God to mankind did say.
1.1 dexter chief, the right (left viewing the shield) of the top third of the shield
1.2 gules and gold, red and gold; heraldic colors have their own names; botonee, a cross whose four ends have three rounded lobes in honor of the Trinity.
1.3 Cavalier, a 17th century cavalryman who fought in the English Civial war. Related to French chevalier, Spanish caballero, chivalry, the knightly code of conduct.
1.5. sinister chief left, (right viewing) top;
1.9 field azur, blue background; the tower is an eponymous as well as symbolic device.
1.13 “Crescite et multiplicimini et subduimini.” Increase and multiply and have dominion over the earth.” or “Grow!”